Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Men's Schedule: pieces slowly come together

The 2009/10 Badger Men’s schedule is starting to come together as other schools release their schedules and other information comes in. Luckily for Badger fans, over on USCHO Icebadger once again is on top of things. His working Google spreadsheet can be found here. Right now there are only six weekends left to figure out. Below I’ve taken a stab at filling in the rest of the schedule based on nothing other than blind guesses, many scenarios are possible. You’ll find those games in bold. Looking back, at this point last season UW had already released the schedule.

Oct 2/3 – Bye
Oct 9/10 - @ Mankato
Oct 16/17 – vs CC
Oct 23/24 – Bye (rumored Mankato?)
Oct 30/31 – vs New Hampshire
Nov 6/7 – vs minnesota
Nov 13/14 – Bye
Nov 20/21 – @ St. Cloud
Nov 27/28 - @ College Hockey Showcase (Michigan and Michigan State)
Dec 4/5 – vs Tech
Dec 11/12 - @ North Dakota
Dec 18/19 – Bye
Christmas weekend – Bye
Jan 1/2 – Badger Hockey Showdown (Yale, Ferris St, Merrimack)
Jan 8/9 – vs Denver
Jan 15/16 - @ CC
Jan 22/23 – vs Mankato
Jan 29/30 - @ Duluth
Feb 6 – Camp Randall Hockey Classic (Michigan)
Feb 12/13 - @ Tech
Feb 19/20 – vs St. Cloud
Feb 26/27 – vs UAA
March 5/6 - @ minnesota
March 12/13 – WCHA 1st Round
March 19/20 – WCHA Final Five
March 26-28 – NCAA Regionals (Worchester, MA; Albany, NY; Ft Wayne, IN; St Paul, MN)
April 9/11 – Frozen Four @ Ford Field

The other season opening option would likely be @ Tech. I don’t see the Badgers scheduling four consecutive home series to start the season (DU or UAA are options to open). Icebadger includes Mankato as a rumor for the weekend of Oct 23/24 in his opponents' matrix, likely as a road series, though not on his main spreadsheet. Either way, if its Mankato or Tech, w/ CC at home the weekend after, this would be a very advantageous start compared to last season. Mankato and CC are teams w/ totally unproven goalies taking over, among other deficiencies.

In the second half, my guesses leave the Badgers w/ out a bye from the Showdown til the playoffs. I could definitely be wrong about this part of things, especially if the rumored date Oct 23/24 w/ Mankato is true for a road series, opening a weekend in the 2nd half at a critical time. The lack of a break might not be the worst thing either. I think we’d all agree it would have been to the Badgers advantage to play the weekend after sweeping the rodents on the road in February instead of having the weekend off. Bye weeks help w/ injuries, but hurt w/ momentum.

If the Badgers were to play DU when I’ve guessed (based on a guess from LetsgoDU), I believe that would be the second weekend of the World Juniors. It is likely that Jake Gardiner and Derek Stepan will be part of Team USA, but DU could have some kids on Team USA or Team Canada as well, so maybe it will be a wash. Hopefully when the two teams who I think will be fighting for the MacNaughton Cup battle at the Kohl Center they are both at full strength.

The official schedule should be out soon, see how good my guesses were then. I'm banking on being completely wrong.