The schedule is out which gets the juices flowing in anticipation for the 2013-14 NHL season. Whenever the schedule is released it means it's time to circle the calendar for specific games, home-stands and road trips.
Here are ones that I have circled and look forward to.
* Two of the first four games are against the John Tortorella coached Vancouver Canucks, the team the Sharks swept in the first round in the 2013 playoffs. You can add some intrigue in the Sharks 3rd game when the NY Rangers come to town, coached by ex-Canuck coach Alain Vignault.
* Oct 21 the Sharks play in Detroit for the only time this year now that the Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference. From there the Sharks head to Boston, Montreal (on Saturday = Hockey Night in Canada), Ottawa before finishing up the first lengthy road trip in LA who knocked out the Sharks in a classic seven game series this past spring. If you can swing it, the Boston, Montreal and Ottawa games would make for one memorable hockey road trip.
* Nov 10 to 15 is a classic western road trip as the Sharks play Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton before finishing the five game road trip in the windy city, home of the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions.
* Nov 21 Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis and company play in San Jose followed by the return of ex-Shark fan favorite Ryane Clowe on Nov 23 as the Devils play their only game at SAP Center.
* Speaking of ex-Sharks, on December 10 the legendary Evgeni Nabokov and the NY Islanders will be playing at SAP Center.
* On Dec 21, 23 and 28 the Stars, Avs and Ducks visit San Jose - I smell some great Christmas presents for the family.
* January 9 and 11 bring two Original six teams to San Jose as the Red Wings and Stanley Cup Finalist Boston Bruins make their only visit to the SAP Center.
* Only six games in February because of the Olympic break and two of those games are against the Philadelphia Flyers. They play in San Jose on Feb 3 and the Sharks first game after the break is in Philly on Feb. 27. Also of note, the Cup Champs are in San Jose on Saturday Feb 1.
* March is a busy month as the Sharks play 15 games. A lot of great home games that month including:
March 6 - Crosby, Malkin and company invade the SAP Center
March 8 - Montreal Canadians
March 11 - Toronto Maple Leafs
March 22 - Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals are in town
* In April the Sharks play four of six games at home and five of 6=six against their division rivals as teams make a final push to make the playoffs or improve their playoff seed. The Sharks finish the season with back to back games: Colorado at home on April 11 and in Phoenix on April 12.
The schedule looks awesome, every team plays in every rink. Can't wait for opening night on Oct. 3.