When we receive our schedule every year, I am always curious as to how the challenging parts are handled and whether they end up being a positive or a negative. This year is no different as we have been road heavy to say the least. As we move toward the end of the month of January with only 10 road games left on the schedule and find ourselves in first place (as of today) and fighting for the best record in the Western Conference, I’d say this year’s challenges have been met and we are setting ourselves up to hopefully have a big finish to the regular season.
It is a credit to our hockey staff for being able to prepare our players for such a difficult task as we have met. After Tuesday night’s game in Austin, we will have played 30 road games already and been on numerous commercial airplanes and bus rides that certainly can take a lot out of anyone. For those who travel for business frequently, you know what it’s like to constantly be on the go. Add to that the physical strain of playing high level professional hockey and it is a real accomplishment to be where we are today. From our coaches, Lane Lambert and Ian Herbers, to our Head Athletic Trainer, Doug Agnew and our Strength and Conditioning Coach, Jason Nordby, as well as Equipment Manager Dave Randolph and Assistant Equipment Manager, Kevin Goryl, it is a job well done to have these players ready to play each and every night. They do a great job and rarely get the credit that they deserve.
The nice thing about where we stand today is that we will essentially be at home for all of February and the first half of March. We will play 13 home games and just four road games in this stretch. The other important thing to remember is that in February all but one game (2/10 at Lake Erie) will be against teams in the Western Division that we are working to stay ahead of right now. We get to be in front of our fans in our building and that has always been a plus.
FM106/Miller Lite Country Music Night is coming up on Friday with Blake Shelton playing after our game with Houston. He’s a fantastic performer and I know he’ll do a great show.