The National Hockey League season is rapidly approaching, and the NHL just released its 2011-12 schedule. In a long, long regular season that covers parts of seven months, it is imperative to find a few highlight games. A quick look at the Bruins schedule reveals there are many games for fans to circle on the calendar. Here are the top 10:
October 6 vs. Philadelphia Flyers: An obvious choice as it is opening night and the Bruin will be raising a banner to commemorate the 2011 Stanley Cup championship. Add in the fact they are playing the new-look-but-still-hated Flyers, and it has all the makings of an entertaining start to the season.
October 15 at Chicago Blackhawks: A rare trip into Chicago will have the current Cup champs facing the 2010 Cup champs. The Bruins will have the majority of their SC-winning team back, while the Blackhawks are still rebuilding the team they had to break up after the 2010 season. Chicago started 2010-11 with a Stanley Cup hangover before putting things together down the stretch. Let’s hope the Bruins don’t suffer the same fate. It will give Boston fans the chance to see three of the sport’s best players in Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, and Jonathan Toews. Finally, it is also important to point out Chicago fans and players do not particularly care for the Vancouver Canucks and their fans.
Thursday, October 27 vs. Montreal and Saturday, October 29 at Montreal: A home-and-home series against the hated Canadiens in the first 10 games of the new season? Awesome. Expect some fireworks early and often in both arenas. Plus, it is a chance to see two of the best goalies in the world in Tim Thomas and Carey Price.
Friday, November 25 vs. Detroit Red Wings: The day after Thanksgiving game is always a highlight, but even more so this season with the talented Red Wings in town. If healthy, Detroit is a serious Cup contender, and fans will enjoy seeing Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zettergerb, and Pavel Datsyuk play. Datsyuk may be the best overall player in the world.
Saturday, November 26 vs. Winnipeg Jets: The very next day, the Bruins will play host to the Winnipeg Jets for the first time in 16 years. That in itself is a reason to watch this game. It will also mark the return of Blake Wheeler, and we all know how much Bruins fans loved Wheeler.
Tuesday, December 13 vs. Los Angeles Kings: The Kings are an up-and-coming team who rarely make in appearance in Boston, so this is a nice treat. LA is the home of former UMass goalie Jonathan Quick, and the Kings also added a guy most Bruins fans love to hate in Mike Richards.
December 31 at Dallas Stars: Not sure if the NHL has a sense of humor, but the placement of this game makes it appear so. These two teams do not like one another and every game is emotional and fight-filled (three in the opening seconds of last year’s game). Should be some fireworks to ring in 2012!
January 7 vs. Vancouver Canucks: What needs to be said about this? Alex Burrows, Roberto Luongo (what are the odds of him seeing the ice in this game?), the Sedin twins (sisters?) in a rematch of the Stanley Cup final.
January 21 vs. New York Rangers: On paper, the Rangers should be among the contenders chasing the Bruins. In addition to Henrik Lundqvist in goal, the Rangers added Brad Richards to its already potent lineup, which includes young stars Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky.
February 4 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby and the hated Penguins return to TD Garden. Cheap shot king Matt Cooke says he is changing his ways. By February, we will all know if that is true or not.
Tags: Alex Burrows Boston Bruins Carey Price Chicago Blackhawks Daniel Sedin Detroit Red Wings Duncan Keith Henrik Lundqvist Henrik Sein Henrik Zetterberg Jonathan Toews Matt Cooke Montreal Canadiens New York Rangers Nicklas Lidstrom Patrick Kane Pavle Datsyuk Philadelphia Flyers Pittsburgh Penguins Roberto Luongo Sidney Crosby Tim Thomas Vancouver Canucks Winnipeg Jets