2017 NHL Schedule Highlights
Even though it’s only been a few weeks since the Penguins lifted their second consecutive Stanley Cup, it’s hard not to start looking towards October. Last week, the NHL released the schedule for 2017-18 and gave fans a first look at some of the biggest dates on the calendar.
Flags Fly Forever
The Penguins will, once again, raise a Stanley Cup banner at their first home game of the season, which takes place on October 4. This year, it will be the St. Louis Blues who will have to sit through a long ceremony before taking on the Penguins on the NHL’s Opening Night.
The Detroit Red Wings will play their first game at the new Little Caesar’s Arena on October 5 against the Minnesota Wild. Detroit’s last season at Joe Louis Arena, where they played from 1979 – 2017, didn’t go as planned as they missed the playoffs for the first time since 1989-90.
Viva Las Vegas!
The NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, will start the season on the road against the Dallas Stars on October 6. They will christen the ice at T-Mobile Arena on October 10 when they take on the Arizona Coyotes.
How Swede It Is
On November 10 and 11, Ottawa and Colorado will make their way over to Sweden for the NHL’s first regular season games in Europe since 2011. The two teams each have a Swedish star (Erik Karlsson for Ottawa and Gabriel Landeskog for Colorado) so the matchup should generate quite a bit of buzz. The games will take place at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm.
After helping Pittsburgh to their third Stanley Cup since 2009, Marc-Andre Fleury was selected by Vegas in the NHL Expansion Draft. Fleury, who lost his role as the starting goaltender to Matt Murray in each of the past two playoff runs, was selected first overall by the Penguins in 2003 and has since become a fan favorite in Steel City.
Even though the Winter Classic has lost some of its luster over the years, it still is worth mentioning when going over the NHL schedule. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the Classic and one of its original participants — the Buffalo Sabres — will take on the New York Rangers at Citi Field in Queens, New York. The odd thing is that the Sabres will be the home team in the encounter.
No Love Lost
The rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens doesn’t need much of an introduction. The two Original Six teams don’t face each other until January this season, but when they do finally get to play one another, they will make up for lost time. The B’s and Habs will play each other three times in eight days, January 13 in Montreal, January 17 in Beantown and then back to Centre Bell for a game on January 20.
The NHL’s All-Star weekend will head to Tampa Bay on January 27-28. It will be an interesting weekend, given that the NHL, which usually skips the All-Star Game during Olympic years, has not stood firm in its stance that it will not release its players for the Olympics.
New York, New York
The New York Islanders and New York Rangers will meet each other for the final time of the season on April 5. Both New York teams figure to be in the conversation for a playoff spot this year and this game could be gigantic in determining who gets in and who hits the golf course early.