We still have a few days before an NHL schedule is expected to be released, but details are beginning to trickle out as to who could be featured in the match-ups for Opening Night, which is slated to take place on January 19th.
For the Chicago Blackhawks, word is that they could be a part of history when the first pucks drop on that Saturday. Assuming that the rumors are correct, they will open the season against the Los Angeles Kings, who will be raising their first Stanley Cup banner in the history of their franchise.
The Kings absolutely rolled to their first title, and such a match-up would feature two of the last three Stanley Cup champions. The Hawks have actually enjoyed some recent success against the Hollywood club, but that was prior to Darryl Sutter taking over behind the bench.
If the two are to meet, the Blackhawks would be expected to ice a completely healthy roster. The Kings, however, would be without one of their top players. Anze Kopitar injured his knee playing in Europe and is expected to miss at least three or four weeks with the injury, which was sustained on the day that the players and league agreed to a new CBA.
We’re still waiting for the official word on when the new schedule will be released. The owners are expected to ratify the new CBA within the next couple of days, with the players following suite over the weekend, which would allow camps to open up on Sunday, as projected.
I’d expect we’ll see a new schedule at about the same time that training camps are opening up. And if the word is correct, and the Hawks will be in Los Angeles to begin the season, we could be in for a real doozy of an opener.