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Morning Skate: Neutral

Some interesting preseason sites.

NHL: JAN 13 Flyers at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Friday, folks - here’s to smooth sailing into a good weekend.

Unless the Bruins hit us with a Friday news dump, it’ll go down in the books as a quiet first week of August.

On Wednesday, the NHL released its full preseason schedule, which isn’t exactly a must-read news item.

We already knew when the Bruins would be playing thanks to that schedule being released a while back, and few of us really need to know when the Leafs and Senators are going to play a split-squad game.

However, in reading through the list, the league is holding preseason games in a number of unique “neutral” sites this preseason; “neutral” in this case meaning not in a team’s traditional home city.

Such sites include:

  • Gander, Newfoundland (Canadiens vs. Senators)
  • Bouctouche, New Brunswick (Canadiens vs. Senators)
  • Abbotsford, BC (Canucks vs. Oilers)
  • Belleville, Ontario (Senators vs. Leafs)
  • Boise, Idaho (Coyotes vs. Golden Knights)
  • Independence, Missouri (Blues vs. Stars)
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Blackhawks vs. Wild)
  • Ontario, California (Kings vs. Sharks)
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (Kings vs. Golden Knights)
  • Tucson, Arizona (Coyotes vs. Ducks)
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma (Coyotes vs. Stars)
  • Wichita, Kansas (Coyotes vs. Blues)

Some of those are kind of obvious “home” games (Blues in Independence, Coyotes in Tucson, etc); however, some of the others are pretty unique (Bruce Cassidy in Boise! Jordan Binnington throwing water bottles at cornstalks in Kansas!).

I’ll say this: the NHL sure is willing to play a game anywhere (especially if the Coyotes are involved).

Any of these locations make it easier for you to attend an NHL game, even if it’s just preseason?

Today’s discussion topic

The Bruins have lost in the first or second round of the playoffs seven times since winning the Cup in 2011: 2011-2012 (Caps), 2013-2014 (Habs), 2016-2017 (Sens), 2017-2018 (Bolts), 2019-2020 (Bolts bubble), 2020-2021 (Isles), 2021-2022 (Canes).

If you put those teams in a fantasyland tournament, which team emerges victorious?

I know that 2020 team was a unit pre-COVID, so that’d be a popular choice - but that 2013-2014 team that lost to Montreal should have done so much better than it did.