Today, the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks announced the schedule for the upcoming 2010-2011 season.
After spending minutes and minutes looking at it (I really devoted a lot of time to this…) here are my highlights for next season.
1. Season/Home opener – 9 OCT vs LAK. It comes exactly 40 years to the day that the Canucks opened their first NHL campaign, also at home to Los Angeles. 40 years ago, LA won 3-1. Let’s hope the result is different this time around.
2. 17 OCT vs. CAR. Ha! I’m kidding. You can also take the second game of the season, 11 OCT vs FLA and shove it.
3. The New Enemy – 20 OCT @ CHI. The first game against the new hated rivals. It is largely speculated that the Canucks for one, if not more, current Blackhawks. I believe the likeliest of the bunch would be Andrew Ladd. Let’s see if he’s sporting the blue, green and white against his former club for the first time.
4. Five game road trip – 9 NOV – 17 NOV. The Canucks head east to play (in order) MTL, OTT, TOR, BUF and PIT, with the matchup against the Leafs on primetime HNIC. These are always great trips for the Canucks, as they seem to come away with timely wins. It’s great that it comes early in the season, so they can hopefully build momentum.
5. The Enemy returns – 20 NOV vs CHI. The Blackhawks make their first visit to GM Place since eliminated the Canucks in Game 6 this past year. If Byfuglien is still there, I want Andrew Ladd to smash his stupid face. Yeah I said it!
6. Leafs come to town – 18 DEC. There will be plenty of blue and white jerseys in the crowd. But the best part is that the game is scheduled for 7 PM PT, not 4 PM. Which means all those Leafs fans out east will have to watch their beloved team at 10 PM local time. SUCK IT.
7. 5 JAN vs CGY. Vancouver/Calgary games make me happy. It’s just awesome hockey against a long-standing hated rival. Physical, emotional hockey with some highlight-reel goals.
8. A month around GM Place – 4 FEB – 3 MAR. The Canucks will spend a lot of time at home in this stretch, where they will play 10 out of 13 games at the Garage.
9. Final home game – 7 APR vs MIN. I know it’s the Wild so it promises to be a boring game, but it’s the last home game so something exciting should happen.
10. Final game – 9 APR @ CGY. I love the schedule makers. They’ve made this a mainstay for a few years now. I love it. VAN vs. CGY to end the year. Bring it.
There you have it. My picks for the highlights of the year. October can’t come soon enough.