|Get used to seeing the Penguins and Bears on the ice together, they play 12 times in 2011-12.|
Of course the schedule is stacked against teams in the East Division. The Penguins most frequent opponent in 2011-12 will be none other than the Hershey Bears, who will match up against the Penguins 12 times (6 home/ 6 road). As for the rest of the division, the Pens will play the Binghamton Senators and Norfolk Admirals a total of 10 times each (5 home/ 5 road) and the Syracuse Crunch eight times (4 home/4 road). That makes 40 of the 76 regular season games (roughly 53%) against teams in the WBS Penguins division.
The rest of the schedule, 36 games, is spread across the newly formed Northeast Division (18 games), the Atlantic Division (16 games) and two games against the Western Conference's Rochester Americans (1 home/ 1 away).
New to the schedule from last year are games against St/ John's (2 home/ 2 road), Manchester (2 home / 2 road) and Portland (2 home/ 2 road). Teams the Penguins played last season that they won't play in 2011-12 are Abbotsford, Charlotte and Toronto.
The biggest surprise has to be that the Penguins only play the Adirondack Phantoms twice next season (1 home/ 1 road). I guess that had to do with the Phantoms being removed from the Penguins' East Division, but it's still unfortunate to see that rivalry get thrown under the rug. Hopefully they will play against one another more in 2012-13.
Overall, the schedule isn't too bad. Sure, 12 times against Hershey seems like a lot, but the league recognizes the rivalry. Losing the rivalry with the Phantoms is a bummer, but maybe the Penguins can re-kindle the fire with a team like Syracuse (8 games) or Bridgeport (4 games).