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Syracuse Crunch 2014-15 AHL Schedule Released

Some quick thoughts and notes on the AHL schedule release and what it means for Tampa Bay's top affiliate.

It took a little longer than normal thanks to the NBA schedule, which the AHL always has to wait on, but the schedule for the 2014-15 season has been released:

There's a team-by-team PDF schedule you can view on the text link above.

The Syracuse Crunch open their season October 11 versus new division rival the Springfield Falcons (affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets) and play the overwhelming majority of their games against opponents nearby and in their own division (a major factor in Tampa Bay switching their affiliation to Syracuse to begin with).

The Frozen Dome Classic is on November 11 against the Utica Comets, as we knew already. Syracuse is attempting to set an indoor hockey attendance record with that tilt in the Carrier Dome (49,250 capacity).

The thing that most stands out is the staggering amount of back-to-back and back-to-back-to-back contests the Crunch will face playing in a bus league with so many teams in their immediate vicinity. By a quick count, Syracuse will play 20 sets of back-to-back games, and an additional 8 sets that will see them play three games in three days. That puts tremendous strain on the whole team, especially those players coming out of the junior ranks or the NCAA who aren't used to that type of grind.

It will be interesting to see how fresh faces like Cody Kunyk, Jeff Costello, Jake Dotchin, Slater Koekkoek, Henri Ikonen, and a few others adjust to such an intense pro schedule.

It also means Syracuse will need to lean heavily on its goaltending tandem -- presumably Andrei Vasilevskiy and Kristers Gudlevskis. Neither guy will be able to be a workhorse with so many back-to-back situations, at least not if you want them to stay healthy and develop properly while also giving Syracuse a chance to be competitive. Signing Allen York as insurance was most definitely a good idea.