With the NHL releasing the 2013-14 regular season schedule, here are five dates you should circle on your calendar.
Hint: if you work the late shift, you might want to see what you can do to get off early on Tuesdays.
Tuesday, October 8 – New Jersey Devils @ Canucks
The fourth game of the season will have a playoff like buzz to it. Martin Brodeur visits Vancouver for the final time – just kidding. Cory Schneider will be in net (barring injury) versus his former team, and the Canucks haters will be watching, waiting like a 16 year old boy about to lose his virginity. If Schneider steals the show, prepare yourself for non-stop tweets and columns about how the Canucks made the wrong choice.
Saturday, November 23 – Chicago Blackhawks @ Canucks
The defending Cup champs meet the Canucks for the first time, and it is always a marquee matchup not just for teams of both fans, but hockey fans everywhere. The rivalry took off with three straight playoff meetings from 2009 to 2011, and is still going strong today. If you think time has passed, know that Hawks captain Jonathon Toews gave this beauty of a quote during this years final when asked about the Bruins winning it all in 2011, “mostly, I was just glad Vancouver didn’t win” – ouch. This rivalry will continue as long as the usual suspects are representing these two teams, and it usually translates into some great hockey whenever they meet.
Tuesday, January 7 – Pittsburgh Penguins @ Canucks
Whenever the best player in the world comes to a hockey crazed town like Vancouver, it is a BIG deal. Sidney Crosby will lead the Pens to town in what should be an entertaining tilt. Playing in Vancouver for the second time since becoming a national icon, expect Crosby to get a hero’s welcome. Not to be forgotten, Evgeni Malkin will be coming along for the ride. Here’s to hoping both teams deliver what they are both capable of, and that is a game where goals are plenty, and the goalies will be left to out to dry on many occassions.
Tuesday, February 4 – Canucks @ Boston Bruins
No offence to the suits who make up much of the lower bowl of Rogers Arena during the Canucks home games, but the Boston crowd knows how to treat a team they consider a bitter rival. YES, it will be almost three years since these teams played in the Stanley Cup final, but you can expect the atmosphere to be awesome. When the Canucks beat the Bruins 4-3 during the regular season in January of 2012, the building was electric. Oh yeah, one more minor tidbit to look forward to for this game; Roberto Luongo will play his first game in Boston since game 6 of the 2011 final.
Tuesday, April 1 – New York Rangers @ Canucks
The return of Alain Vigenault to Vancouver will come at a time when both teams should be getting ready for the playoffs. The two teams basically traded coaches in the off season, and at this point of the season we should know who won it. Will the Canucks come out guns blazing to stick it to their former coach on their home ice? Or will they come out like they did many times for big games under his watch, utterly lifeless. Either way, this game will have a lot of hype around it, hopefully it can live up to it.
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