NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman not making it easy on the Leafs in January
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

The NHL showing bias against the Leafs, setting them up to fail in January

Published January 2, 2024 at 9:47

The NHL's 2023-24 season is quickly nearing its half-way point, with that mark coming later this month for the Maple Leafs. A slew of teams have already played 37 or 38 games, but with the Leafs' schedule being as light as it was in October and November, they have played just 34 games, having 1 game in hand on the Bruins, 2 games in hand on the Panthers and 4 games in hand on the Lightning in the Atlantic Division race. The Leafs currently sit 3rd in the division, but that could certainly change in January, if the NHL's schedule-makers have anything to say about it.

The League has almost assuredly set the Leafs up for failure in the month of January, scheduling 13 games for the Buds with 9 of those games taking place on the road - with 3 sets of back-to-back games and two of those sets including travel.

The madness begins tonight when the Maple Leafs take on the LA Kings in Los Angeles at 10:30pm ET, before traveling to Anaheim to take on the Ducks tomorrow night with an earlier start at 9:00pm ET.

The next back-to-back scenario comes on January 13th and 14th, with that set occurring in Toronto. Then, the Leafs will head back out on the road for a 4-game Western road trip, with the third set of back-to-back games taking place on January 20th and 21st against Vancouver and Seattle, respectively.

In all, the Leafs play just four home games throughout the entire month of January. For the most part, months are typically split pretty evenly with home and away games, though there can be some variance at times. However, with the Leafs playing more than double the road games compared to home games in January, they're certainly not being set up for success by the league.

The silver-lining here is that the Leafs have a relatively easy run in January as far as the standings are concerned, as they only play 5 teams who are above them in the standings in January. Only the Islanders, Kings, Jets, Avalanche and Canucks currently sit above them in the league standings, with the Leafs having games in hand over all of them, save the Kings, who have played 1 less at 33 games this season.
January 2   |   649 answers
The NHL showing bias against the Leafs, setting them up to fail in January

How many of their 13 games will the Leafs win in January?

10+13120.2 %
7-937557.8 %
4-69714.9 %
Less than 4467.1 %
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