The Carolina Hurricanes announced their upcoming schedule for the 2017-2018 season along with the rest of the league on Thursday afternoon. The Hurricanes’ usual away-game-heavy October won’t be quite as bad this year, with five games at home and five on the road to kick off the season.
Hope you don’t mind spending long stretches at PNC Arena this season. The Hurricanes have an eight (!)-game homestand in early February, beginning January 30. During that stretch, they’ll host half of the Pacific Division, play two sets of back-to-back home games, and - oh yeah - overlap with the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Guess Gary Bettman wasn’t bluffing after all. Is the condensed February schedule a disincentive to players who may have considered skipping across to South Korea for the Olympics? It appears that the NHL, or the Hurricanes at the very least, have a more jam-packed schedule in February, coinciding with the PyeongChang Olympics from February 9-25. With 13 Hurricanes games in the month, a player missing time for the Olympics would loom large.
(A quick check shows the Washington Capitals playing 14 games in the month of February. No reason we mention this.)
The eight-game run of home games is the second-longest in franchise history, behind only a nine-game homestand early in the 2002-2003 season. The Canes have never played more than seven straight at home, so this is uncharted territory. Interestingly, this homestand will be played during the week when the circus would have been at PNC in years past, so the Canes are clearly taking advantage of the newly-available dates.
Also sticking out like a sore thumb? A seven-game road swing in December that visits Vancouver, all four California teams, and Vegas over the span of a week and a half. That’s part of the Canes’ toughest stretch of the schedule, a span from November 28 to December 21 that will see the team at home just twice, a pair of Saturday home games on December 2 and 16.
In fact, between November 24 (a Friday game against Toronto the day after Thanksgiving) and December 27 (a Wednesday game against Montreal two days after Christmas), every one of the Canes’ four home games is on a weekend: one on Sunday, and three on Saturdays.
And yes, you read that right: four home games in a little over a month. The Canes won’t have to start the season on the road, but they’d better build up a cushion before they start that stretch, which might be the make-or-break part of the schedule.
The Hurricanes have a total of 18 back-to-back dates, 16 of which require travel in between. It is always important to know how many of these opponents will be coming off back-to-backs as well, so stay tuned for further analysis.
The bye weeks are back this year, but to avoid the issues of competitive imbalance that came up last season, every team will take its bye week during one of two weeks in January: either January 8 through 12, or January 15 through 19. The Canes have the latter of the two weeks.
With the Golden Knights joining the league, the schedule becomes much easier for teams in the East: four games against divisional teams, three against the other division, and two against the West. The Lightning, Panthers, Canadiens and Senators earn the Atlantic’s golden tickets to play twice in Raleigh this season.
Looking for good weekend road trips? Sorry, but this schedule doesn’t do you any favors. Of the Saturday or Sunday road games that are within easy driving distance, every single one is part of a back-to-back. So, if you don’t mind (for example) going to the game against the Flyers on Saturday, March 17, then hoofing it up to Brooklyn for a game at the Islanders the next day, that might be your best bet - unless you consider a Saturday trip to Boston on January 6 doable.
And if you were looking to catch the Canes in Vegas...well, you got pretty much the worst slot imaginable. The Canes visit T-Mobile Arena on a Tuesday night (Dec. 12) on the back end of a back-to-back which begins in Anaheim the night before. Blegh.
The 7:30 Friday starts are back, and two of the Saturday games in December actually start at 8:00. Could the Canes be trying out different times to see if attendance is affected depending on the start time? On the other side, the typical late-afternoon Sunday starts are all over the schedule, with only one Sunday game starting after 5:00 and two 1:00 starts also on the schedule.
Speaking of start times: a road game at 2:00 on Tuesday, December 19 against Toronto? Huh?
As far as days of the week go, the weekends see the bulk of the action, as usual: 19 games (nine at home) on Saturdays, 13 (nine at home) on Fridays and nine (eight at home) on Sundays. On the flip side, make sure your couch is ready for Thursdays, where the Canes play 13 away games to only two at PNC.
Here’s the full schedule. What are you looking most forward to?
Carolina Hurricanes 2017-18 Schedule
|Tue.||10/24/2017||Tampa Bay||Carolina||7:00 PM|
|Fri.||10/27/2017||St. Louis||Carolina||7:30 PM|
|Thu.||11/16/2017||Carolina||N.Y. Islanders||7:00 PM|
|Sun.||11/19/2017||N.Y. Islanders||Carolina||5:00 PM|
|Wed.||11/22/2017||N.Y. Rangers||Carolina||7:00 PM|
|Fri.||12/1/2017||Carolina||N.Y. Rangers||7:00 PM|
|Thu.||12/7/2017||Carolina||San Jose||10:30 PM|
|Sat.||12/9/2017||Carolina||Los Angeles||10:30 PM|
|Tue.||12/12/2017||Carolina||Las Vegas||10:00 PM|
|Sat.||12/30/2017||Carolina||St. Louis||8:00 PM|
|Tue.||1/9/2018||Carolina||Tampa Bay||7:30 PM|
|Sun.||1/21/2018||Las Vegas||Carolina||5:00 PM|
|Sun.||2/4/2018||San Jose||Carolina||1:00 PM|
|Tue.||2/13/2018||Los Angeles||Carolina||7:00 PM|
|Thu.||2/15/2018||Carolina||New Jersey||7:00 PM|
|Fri.||2/16/2018||N.Y. Islanders||Carolina||7:30 PM|
|Sun.||2/18/2018||New Jersey||Carolina||5:00 PM|
|Fri.||3/2/2018||New Jersey||Carolina||7:30 PM|
|Mon.||3/12/2018||Carolina||N.Y. Rangers||7:00 PM|
|Sun.||3/18/2018||Carolina||N.Y. Islanders||5:00 PM|
|Tue.||3/27/2018||Carolina||New Jersey||7:00 PM|
|Sat.||3/31/2018||N.Y. Rangers||Carolina||7:00 PM|
|Sat.||4/7/2018||Tampa Bay||Carolina||7:00 PM|