Measuring the preseason workload
This is a bit of an extension of Wednesday's post on the nutty preseason schedule, something that drew a pretty good response. And one of the things quite a few people pointed out is just how many players are involved in exhibition hockey.
It's actually incredible, if you measure it, how big an operation these early games are.
Let's put it this way: In the regular season, there are a total of 1,230 games played by 30 teams, and last year, 852 skaters and 89 goaltenders saw the ice. That's an average of 31.4 players per team.
In the preseason? Going based on 2007, when there were 105 games played, there were 1,067 skaters and 106 goaltenders who got into the action. Or 39.1 players per team.
In 17 days.
A whole whack of those guys don't play all that much, but a few play a lot. In the 2007 exhibition schedule, two skaters played eight games — Peter Mueller and Eric Godard — and another 27 played seven games.
In all, 358 skaters played five or more exhibition games, including a lot of veterans. Of the 1,067 skaters to play in preseason, only 341 were considered rookies, and they averaged 2.7 games played apiece.
The "veterans" played just under four each.
That's probably not a crippling workload, but you throw all that travel in, and the shortened training camp format that started recently, and an average of 7.5 games a team seems a bit much. Especially if you stack it on top of the 100+ games the teams which go to the finals this year will play by June, 2009.
After all, what's the point of preseason having nearly 10 per cent as many games as the regular season? Other than getting a few more bodies in NHL duds.