Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference
The Manchester Monarchs released the schedule for
the 2013-14 season on Thursday. Once
again, the Monarchs will face-off with their Eastern Conference opponents
throughout the regular season and wait to meet up with the west in the Calder Cup
Playoffs. Over the last couple of seasons,
many fans have questioned why the Monarchs do not cross over and play teams in
the Western Conference.
“There are certain teams that we play a certain amount of times,” Abbott said. “You can request a crossover. In other words, you can request to go play in the west, but what happens is you want to keep basically an even amount of games within your division. That’s a hockey related thing. You don’t want to be playing two games with, say we were playing two games against Bridgeport and eight against Providence, eight home and eight away, and two against Bridgeport and we were in the same division, that wouldn’t be fair as far as divisional playoff and those type of things.
“Once you cross out west, you’ve got the expense
part of it but you also have the hockey part where if you go on a western swing
and you’re playing those western teams and you don’t play enough games in your
division, that could be seen as not fair because you’re trying to make the
playoffs in the east and you’re crossing over playing all these games. There are two sides to that and it gets
complicated. Not many teams do it. Teams do it that are right on the line, like
Rochester, that sort of have to do it to even out their schedule but in New
England, I don’t think any of the New England teams are playing out west this
Who the Monarchs play each year also comes down to
practice time versus travel time. The
organization would rather develop players through practice than have them on
flights and the bus.
Abbott explained, “We would do it if the Kings
wanted to, maybe for team building or something to get away, to test that
travel. We have unbelievable
travel. We have 20 hotel nights this year
and seven or eight of them are in St. John’s.
Those aren’t as hard of hotel nights because when you’re in the same
spot, the same bed for four or five days in one city, it’s not as hard as
bus-to-bus. I think if you ask the
Kings, if you ask Hubie, if you ask Rob Blake now and Dean (Lombardi), they’re
all about practice. How many practices
that they get. It’s pretty much an
equation between hotel nights and practices that they line up. That’s what they count. When you think about it, we signed these kids
to three year contracts and how many practices do we get with them. Every touch that they get, they make them
better and they get to see who they really are so they want more practices.
McDonough agrees on the importance of practice time
which has been key to the Monarchs development of players who have gone on to
play for the Los Angeles Kings.
“Our geographic location certainly helps us,” said
McDonough when talking about the limited travel schedule. “We have 20 or 21 nights away; that’s not too
bad for a 192 day schedule. That’s
actually really good. Then you can still
give guys a day off and still not miss practice time which we do a lot. We have a lot of Mondays off after a
three-in-three and then you still have four days of practice until the next
game so Mark’s pretty good about finding the rest that they need and getting
the quality practice time in and it’s great from the development standpoint.”
The schedule and the Monarchs opponents are set. Fans are selecting their games and the players will arrive in Los Angeles for Training Camp in less than three weeks. Hockey season is right around the corner.