Thursday, July 17, 2008

Home openers/HOME-AND-HOME

So, the new NHL schedule has each team playing:
Divisional rivals: 6 times (24 total)
Non-division conference rivals: 4 times (40 total)
Western teams: Once each + 3 home-and-homes. (18 total)
It's still 82 games, but each team has to play each other at least once, which is awesome.

The full schedule is due at noon today. For those keeping track at home, that's less than 12 hours since I started this post, and less than 5 from when I'm actually posting it. Many (all?) teams have announced their home openers, as well as which teams they're playing the 3 extra extra-conference games.

Luckily for me, Wild and Bruins fan that I am, the Bruins and Wild are playing each other TWICE this season. In fact, the Bruins will be the Wild's home opener team. Last year, the Bruins were the home opener opponent for the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins lost, 2-1. Two years ago, the Bruins hosted the Minnesota Wild. I totally went to that game, even though it was right before spring break. Regardless, I enjoyed the Wild's 2-1 win then. I'm not sure I'll be so happy about such an outcome this time.*

So, the extra divisional games for the Wild are Boston, Tampa Bay, and the Islanders.
The ones for Boston are Minnesota (duh), St. Louis Blues, and...The Chicago Blackhawks!

I'm pretty excited about the Blackhawks/Bruins matchup, because Chicago has raised itself up out of a what, 10? 20? 30? year slumber and are now quite the exciting team. Heck, they're hosting the winter classic this year at Wrigley Field.

Also, the Bruins' home opener is on October 20th (2 weeks into the season) against the Pittsburgh Penguins. I'll see you there.

*Actually, screw it. I still like the Wild a lot. They were the team, with the rotating captaincy, that really got me into hockey in the first place. Both teams have lost Brian Rolston to a non-conference team (he went NJ-Boston-MN-NJ). That guy is good at teh hockies. That said, I hope Manny Fernandez backstops the Bruins to a spoiler. I like minnesota a lot, but they don't have the long history that the Bruins do. Luckily, both GMs seem to have a "long-term-plan" (aka the "lack of" plan) about their respective teams. They DO NOTHING AT THE TRADE DEADLINE. They both lost in the first round to teams that had crushed their hopes and dreams earlier that season. My first hockey Jersey was a Wild jersey, (My name, #1) but my second was a Bruins jersey (Chara, at the 50% off merch booth behind the bad guy balcony seats).