The 2012-13 NHL schedule has been released for just about a month, and right away, I picked out a handful of games that really appealed to me. The season-opening road trip that starts in Chicago and ends in Toronto will be exciting, as will the home opener on Oct. 19 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Looking deeper into the schedule, the Blue Jackets will make their first-ever (regular season) trip to Winnipeg and the MTS Centre for a Dec. 17 game against the Jets. Just two weeks after that, the Blue Jackets return home for their traditional New Year's Eve game - and this year, they will play host to Jonathan Toews and the Chicago Blackhawks.
When you're looking at an 82-game schedule and comparing notes with others, different opinions will come forth. Some think the beginning of the season sets up favorably, others think the second half of the year looks better on paper.
As part of our coverage leading up to Blue Jackets training camp in September, BlueJackets.com called upon members of the #CBJ community to weigh in on specific games that have them excited for the upcoming season. We are very excited to be able to share their thoughts and opinions on the schedule, and think you'll get some really good insight from them, as well.
If you missed their Schedule Showcase last week, which focused on the Oct. 26 home game vs. the new-look Minnesota Wild, you can recap using the links below before reading this week's showcase.
The Cannon's Showcase (from Matt Wagner)
The Union Blue's Showcase (from the tUB team)
Hashtag CBJ's Showcase (from Mark Erickson)
This week, our #CBJ community has chosen to highlight the season's first matchup with the division rival Nashville Predators. The game takes place Nov. 23 - a Friday night showdown at Nationwide Arena which begins a home-and-home, back-to-back set between the two clubs.
TICKET INFO: As a reminder, if you want to guarantee your tickets to this Schedule Showcase game (as well as five other exciting games in 2012-13, you can lock in a Six-Game Flex Pack for as low as $99. Not only do you save off single-game ticket prices, but you receive a $10 Marathon Petroleum gift card with each flex pack purchase!
As usual, we can expect this series to be intense and combative - and thanks to the James Wisniewski overtime winner at Bridgestone Arena last Novemeber - the temperature has been turned up even further.
From the team at "The Union Blue"...
Our thanks go out to The Union Blue, Jeff Little at Ten Minute Misconduct, and Mark from HashtagCBJ.com as they took time to give us the goods on what figures to be a great early-season contest at Nationwide.
From Jeff Little at "Ten Minute Misconduct"...
"Of course, the Predators & Blue Jackets are no strangers to each other. They have been Central Division adversaries since Columbus entered the NHL in 2000, just two years after Nashville made its debut in the league. As they say, however, familiarity breeds contempt, and this series is no exception to that credo. Former Coach Ken Hitchcock did not lay the “Darth Vader” tag on Nashville out of love — it was purely borne out of frustration."
Read the rest of Jeff's showcase by clicking here!
"With a new attitude in the dressing room, Columbus will embark on a journey beginning in training camp to develop a legitimate identity as a team. Without flashy All-Star forwards or a franchise goaltender with a massive contract, they will embrace the values and ethic of teamwork, which is something I believe Barry Trotz of the Predators always brings out in his players. The defensive additions of Columbus and the subtraction of Suter give Columbus the competitive edge, despite not yet having a de facto number one goaltender to match up with perennial Vezina candidate Pekka Rinne. Expect pride of the logo on the front to play a big part in elevating this year's record to anything better than the 1-4-1 result of 2011-2012."
Read the rest of The Union Blue's showcase by clicking here!
From Mark Erickson at "HashtagCBJ.com"...
"Columbus' first home matchup with the Predators will feature two teams that are built around defense and keeping the puck out of the net. Neither team has a clear "top line" of superstar forwards and both appear set to use the "score by committee" approach to offense. While Nashville has historically dominated the series, the loss of Ryan Suter to Minnesota combined with several key acquisitions by the Blue Jackets could see this series take a more competitive turn."
Read the rest of HashtagCBJ.com's showcase by clicking here!