You wouldn’t get an argument from too many people if you were to say the Boston Bruins have the most talented roster in the Northeast Division. Ottawa fans will get their first look at the Bruins on Thursday when the Senators hit the pavement to start their 5 game road trip in Beantown.
With the likes of Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci Milan Lucic and young Dougie Hamilton, the Bruins are deeper and arguably more skilled than their 4 divisional rivals. So how come they have earned such a favorable left from the league’s schedule maker as well?
While the rest of the division has played 19 or 20 games so far, the Bruins have played only 15.
Obviously the Bruins schedule will get busier as the season goes on, but it is a decided advantage that they have had so many more days off early on. The have had the advantage to ease back into the grind after such a short training camp and have had more opportunity to have actual practices and rest time, avoiding the hectic pace that the divisional foes have had to undergo.
Look at the following factors:
- The Bruins have played back to back games only once so far this season and will only do so 5 more times for a total of 6.
- Six times already this season, the Bruins have had more than one day off between games. Three times they have had 2 days off, while another three times they have been off for 3 days between games.
Here is how the divisional rivals’ schedules have matched up in the same areas.
BUFFALO – Have played 3 sets of back to back games so far, and will play 5 more for a total of 8 times. They have had 2 breaks of more than 1 day between games, both times it was only 2 days.
MONTREAL – Have had back to backs 4 times already, and will have 4 more sets for a total of 8. They have had 5 – 2 day breaks and no 3 day holes in their schedule.
OTTAWA – Will also play back to back 8 times, and have done so 4 times so far. 2 day breaks are a rarity, having had the opportunity 3 times, plus one more that they are currently in before facing the Bruins on Thursday. They haven’t had a 3 day break yet.
TORONTO - Will play a division high 9 back to backs, of which they have already played 3. They have only had 2 breaks of more than 1 day, both of the 2 day variety, not having had a 3 day break.
Its not just the rest, it is the lack of wear and tear on bodies that didn’t get an extended training camp. The Bruins have been remarkably healthy, while the rest of the division has suffered a variety of injuries to key contributors.
The Bruins will most likely win the Northeast Division, and were my pick to win the Eastern Conference in the regular season. They probably would have done it on talent alone, but he schedule they have had in the early going has allowed them the flexibility to ease into the season, a luxury that the other teams in their division did not have.