They are hell bent on making this work, so two weeks before the season begins, a schedule was announced for said season.
The Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins will play 32 games in the abbreviated attempt of a season. Normally what I do in seasons past is a question and answer session, so in keeping with the silly tradition, I offer the following:
Penguins release here. League release here.
1) What does the opponent matrix look like?
Well, you know that the division is changed this season because of the pandemic. Charlotte and Springfield aren’t playing, Hartford, Bridgeport and Providence are playing in a separate three team division which leaves the Penguins, Lehigh Valley, Hershey, Binghamton, Utica, Syracuse and Rochester in a division all to their own called the North Division. Binghamton is playing their home games out of Newark, NJ. There was talk that no team would travel more than 250 miles one way to avoid having to stay in a hotel so that rules out Rochester and Utica. That leaves 10 games with Hershey and Lehigh Valley and six games with Syracuse and Binghamton.
2) Longest road trip? Longest home stand? Three in threes? And will fans be allowed at all?
Well, again, the Penguins aren’t staying in any hotels this season, no team in the division is, really, but since you asked it’s no more than two in a row at home and three straight on the road March 28, 31 and April 3. Zero three in threes. Five back to back games.
No fans to start. The Penguins did mention they would like to allow fans, “at a later date” but if you want my advice, do so at your own risk.
3) Any workday games?
No. The games that the Pens will be playing on the weekdays will be played at home but for April 30 (a Friday) at 7 against Binghamton. All the other weekday games start at 5 but for an April 28 game against Lehigh Valley which starts at 7 and a May 12 game against Syracuse which starts at 7.
I would actually prefer this if there aren’t going to be fans, it frees up my evenings for other things.
4) Is there an All-Star Classic?
Not this year. Laval was supposed to get it under normal circumstances, they just moved it out one year.
5) I didn’t get my free AHL TV code yet.
Neither did I. Don’t fret, just periodically check the e-mail the Penguins have on you. If push comes to shove, call or e-mail your ticket rep.
Don’t know yet. Players want them, team front offices haven’t thought that far out. I don’t see it happening, personally.
7) Any wiggle room for inevitable COVID related delays?
With the concept of playing behind closed doors and teams playing teams only a bus ride away, you would think that there is room for that, but with players wanting playoffs, I honestly don’t think if a weekend set of games for one team gets canned, it’s highly unlikely that those games get added to the tail end or wedged into the schedule.
8) So how are they going to rank teams in the division? Don’t say by points percentage!
Okay, so that question may have been asked by the section in my mind which is bad at math. It looks like yes, they will be ranking teams by points percentage this season because of the amount of games that all the teams are going to be playing and how each differs across the geographic spectrum which is today’s American Hockey League. It’s (sadly) the only fair way to do it.
9) I think this is stupid.
So do I, friend, so do I.
Penguins also announced their training camp roster. Link to that here.
Preseason game next Friday.