With the release of the 2013-14 National Hockey League schedule today, Blackhawks fans got their first look at their team’s road to defend their 2013 Stanley Cup title. Here are a few dates fans should circle in their calendars for the approaching regular season.
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Tue., Oct. 1 vs. Washington: Fans who are lucky enough to secure tickets to the home opener will want to be in their seats on time, because this will be a memorable event from start to finish. Prior to hosting the NHL’s reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, the Blackhawks will hoist four new banners to the rafters, including the 2013 Stanley Cup banner. Those that saw the 2010 banner raising know that it’s bound to be an unforgettable night.
Sat., Nov. 2 at Winnipeg: The Blackhawks’ first trip to Winnipeg since the Jets were reincarnated two seasons ago will also mark the first time captain Jonathan Toews plays a regular-season game in his hometown. It’s safe to say that there will be quite a few Manitobans excitedly donning red No. 19 sweaters that night.
Sun., Jan. 19 vs. Boston: In the first rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup finalists (the other coming on March 27 at TD Garden), the Blackhawks will face off against the Bruins. Despite taking four of six against the B’s in the Cup Final, Chicago has not beaten the Bruins in a regular-season contest since Jan. 7, 2010.
Wed., Jan. 22 at Detroit: Ah, the old familiar places. No longer divisional rivals, the Blackhawks face their longtime nemesis from Detroit in the first of just two 2013-14 matchups. With newly-signed reinforcements including Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on their roster, not to mention memories of the Blackhawks’ conference semifinals comeback on their minds, expect the Wings to be firing on all cylinders.
Sun., Feb. 9 – Sun., Feb. 23: No Blackhawks games to speak of, but that doesn’t mean hockey is taking a break. If healthy, expect to see at least Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa representing their countries during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Also likely in the mix for Olympic roster spots could be Canada's Duncan Keith, Corey Crawford and Brent Seabrook, Slovakia's Michal Handzus, Swedes Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson and Finnish netminder Antti Raanta.
Sat., March 1 vs. Pittsburgh: Their first home date in more than a month, Chicago will make history on March 1 when they host the first-ever professional hockey game at historic Soldier Field as part of the NHL’s Stadium Series. The game could also mark Sidney Crosby’s first appearance in Chicago since Jan. 13, 2006, his rookie season.
Wed., April 9 vs. Montreal: In the final home game of the 2013-14 regular season, the Blackhawks will host their Original Six rivals from Montreal. The game will mark the Habs’ first visit since Dec. 21, 2011.