SAN JOSE — The Sharks and the NHL unveiled their 2013-14 schedules Friday — San Jose opens at home Oct. 3 against Vancouver, closes on the road April 12 in Phoenix — and there's a lot to like from the San Jose perspective.
No road trips longer than five games, a minimal amount of geographic criss-crossing compared to past years.
San Jose also makes one of its Western Canadian swings in November and another in late March — not exactly balmy times up there, but not the middle of bone-chilling winter.
But you need to be a math major to figure out how the NHL managed to get each team to 82 games after its new realignment into four divisions, two of seven teams and two of eight.
Here's how it played out for the Sharks, per the team's press release:
The Sharks play a total of 28 games within the Pacific division, facing Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, and Los Angeles five times each, and Phoenix and Vancouver four times each.
In addition, the Sharks will play a total of 22 games against the Central Division, facing Colorado four times and Chicago, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg three times each.
The other 32 games are home-and-home series between the 16 teams in the Eastern conference, whose divisions are now the Atlantic and Metropolitan, the latter something new as it's pretty obvious no regional name could cover teams from both Canada and Florida.
Also worth noting: The perennial two-week trip in February wasn't going to happen anyway — the arena dates opened up with the demise of the SAP Open tennis tournament — but the NHL is shutting down from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25 for the Olympics. The Sharks don't return to action until Feb. 27, in Philadelphia.Other items worth noting:
*There are no Southern California trips that include games against both Los Angeles and Anaheim. In fact, Los Angeles twice becomes the final stop on longer trips.
*On the home schedule, there is only one Sunday game. But the Sharks will be home on 13 Saturdays, the most of any day of the week. There are 11 Thursday games. Only two on Wednesday
*Only one matinee at home, too — the day after Thanksgiving, 1 p.m. Nov. 29 vs. St. Louis. Everything else is either 7 p.m. (five games) or 7:30 p.m. (the rest).
*The league says training camps will start Sept. 11 — with exhibition games starting two days later.