Aaahhh, Lake Erie — Where Monsters live in a big house that is both frozen and hot at different times during the week. The Q is a great venue, albeit large for hockey, but one that packs a punch. Thousands of fans enter its doors for Cavs games, but lately the Monsters have been a big draw too. And so the Oklahoma City Barons will head the way of Cleveland for their 2012-13 season opener.
The schedule is kind to the youthful Barons. October 12th & 13th in Erie, then home for seven straight games including Erie twice, Houston thrice, and Texas once. That rounds out the first 3 weeks of the season. And that’s big news for ticket sales and promotions one would think. To have seven straight at home in the second week of the AHL season should be absolute gold.
Opening the season with an out of division opponent is rare, but done so with the Barons (and a few others for that matter). And I’m perfectly fine with that. Mainly because the Texas teams (San Antonio, Houston, Texas) all see 6 games a piece against the Barons. Better to have them somewhat spread across the calendar as opposed to the out-of-the-gate approach that the league has done in the past. Ironically, the new entry to the “South Div”, the Charlotte Checkers, only face the Barons 4 times. In an ideal world, you face everyone in your division with equal time. And not playing Charlotte a full 6 is kinda silly. Nonetheless, we soldier on.
Overall the schedule favors a balance of play. 7 three in threes isn’t all that bad, until you reach the end of the season where the final three games go three in three days, but they all land at home. Twice the team plays in consecutive three games in three days, but are spread by at least a business week. That’s doable.
The stretch of 7 games over the US Thanksgiving holidays was a likelihood mainly to offset the 7 straight that the Barons get at home a month earlier.
It’s hard to find fault with any schedule mainly because, as far as competition goes, is nearly meaningless. Travel isn’t bad. Mid-week home games are few. And league-wide the balance is better than it has been in years (at least in the West).
See you (online via live stream) on October 12th when the Barons face the Lake Erie Monsters.