Friday, July 18, 2008

Take that Detroit!..Miller signs with Buffalo

That sound you might have heard early this afternoon was the collective groan of fans of Red Wings Nation, which might have been expecting a native son to return home.

But Ryan Miller has re-signed with the Buffalo Sabres...five years, $6.25 million per.

Unless Jimmy Howard is really something, the Wings might be having goaltender issues in the not too distant future.

As for the Sabres, they finally get to hold on to a potential free agent. It doesn't make up for the losses of Daniel Briere, or Chris Drury, or Brian Campbell...or maybe even Dainius Zubrus. But it's something for Sabres fans to breathe easier about.

Notes on the Schedule

Here's a look at some things of note in the 2008-2009 schedule for the Capitals...

The Caps play the Thrashers in the season opener on October 10th, then play non-divisional opponents in their next ten games. They return to divisional play on November 6th, hosting Carolina.

Meanwhile, at the end of the season, the Caps finish the season with four divisional games (the last three on the road), and ten of their last 13 against teams in the Southeast. If there is a divisional dog-fight for the top spot or a top-eight Conference spot, those last 13 games will loom large.

The Caps have 13 back-to-back contests that break down as follows:

Home/Home: 1
Home/Away: 5
Away/Home: 2
Away/Away: 5

October: 1
November: 3
December: 2
January: 3
Jan/Feb: 1
February: 1
Feb/Mar: 1
March: 1
April: 0

Home-and-home games:

New Jersey (Nov. 14 (H)/Nov. 15 (A))
Atlanta (Apr. 5 (H)/Apr. 7 (A))

Three games in four nights:

October 10-13 (at ATL, CHI, VAN)
November 12-15 (at CAR, at NJD, NJD)
November 19-22 (at ANA, at LAK, at SJS)
November 26-29 (ATL, MTL, at CBJ)
December 4-7 (NYI, at TOR, at CAR)
January 17-20 (BOS, at NYI, at OTT)
January 31-February 3 (DET, OTT, at NJD)
February 28-March 3 (at BOS, FLA, CAR)
March 14-17 (CAR, at ATL, at FLA)

Home Games by Day of Week…

Monday: 2
Tuesday: 6
Wednesday: 4
Thursday: 7
Friday: 8
Saturday: 8
Sunday: 6

Total games by month:

October: 9 (4H/5A)
November: 15 (6H/9A)
December: 14 (7H/7A)
January: 12 (7H/5A)
February: 13 (8H/5A)
March: 13 (6H/7A)
April: 6 (3H/3A)

Longest stretch away from Verizon Center (days): 14 (Jan.17-31)

Longest home stand: 5 games, Feb. 18-26 (MTL, COL, PIT, PHL, ATL)

Longest road trip: 5 games, twice – Nov. 15-24 (NJD, ANA, LAK, SJS, MIN) and Mar. 16-24 (ATL, FLA, TBL, CAR, TOR)

Longest stretch of consecutive divisional games: 5 – Mar. 14-21 (CAR, at ATL, at FLA, at TBL, at CAR)

Month with fewest divisional games: October (1), January (1)

Month with most divisional games: March (8)

Other home highlights:

October…Cristobal Huet and the Blackhawks in the home opener on October 11th.

November…Olaf Kolzig makes his first appearance in an opponent’s sweater on November 10th

December…Ottawa visits on December 12th. The Caps won all four meetings last year against the Senators.

January…The Flyers will make their first appearance at Verizon Center since defeating the Caps in overtime of game 7 in the first round of the 2008 playoffs on January 6th…Stanley Cup champion Detroit visits on January 31st.

February…The Penguins make their first of two Verizon Center appearances on February 22nd, a Sunday afternoon affair.

March…The Penguins’ second visit to Washington is on March 8th, also in a Sunday matinee.

April…Buffalo will try to make Verizon Center HSBC-South once more, on April 3rd.

Last year, it was getting to that playoff threshold of 92 points (you remember that thermometer we had...). This year...

100 points, or bust!