It took months of negotiation, but the NHL has finally reached a deal with the IIHF for players to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi next February, with the formal break from February 9-26. You know what this means: the regular season schedules have also been released, and the Chicago Blackhawks have some great games ahead of them.
The home opener is always a red-carpet affair, and this year will be no exception. The addition of a certain silver cup and extra bling for the players will only add to the excitement. The formal Stanley Cup banner raising will take place on October 1, when the Blackhawks take on the Washington Capitals.
The Blackhawks will face the Boston Bruins twice this season in a regular season rematch after their epic Stanley Cup Final battle. The first meeting will take place in Boston on January 19, with the second in Chicago on March 27. There will be some faces missing, like Dave Bolland and Nathan Horton, but there’s no doubt that those Cup Final feelings will surface again.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will come to town on March 1 for one of six league-wide outdoor games, with this one taking place at Soldier Field. Hopefully the weather will be just right, unlike the extremes of the Winter Classic games the two teams each played previously.
The last home game of the season will be on April 9 against the Montreal Canadiens. The season ends on April 12, and as always, the Blackhawks will be on the road, this time against the Nashville Predators. Will they make the postseason and become masters of the new/old Central Division? We’ll just have to watch and see.
After a shortened season, it’s nice to have a normal schedule again. Now, let’s all sit back and eagerly wait for preseason to begin.