5 Marquee Matchups for 2012-13

These dudes are intense.
And this marquee matchup promises to be no different this year.
(Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Image)

Today, the NHL and the Vancouver Canucks released the intended schedule for the 2012-13 season.

When the new schedule comes out every year, we (and every other Canucks hockey blog on the planet) like to highlight the most interesting and compelling Canucks games on the docket for the upcoming season – even if that season may not happen…

Read past the jump to find out which games we’re looking forward to!

In years passed, when the Canucks play the defending Stanley Cup champions, it’s guaranteed to be a must-watch game. This year, though, there really isn’t that much animosity between the Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings. Hell the Canucks don’t even play the Kings at home until the 17th of February. If it was an important "rivalry" (and Canucks fans have always used the term "rivalry" with reckless abandon) the schedule would reflect that, no?

Also there was a time long, long ago when Canucks games against their divisional rivals brought intensity and passion and fire. However, none of Vancouver’s Northwest Division "rivals" have kept up their side of the bargain, all of them have fallen further off the radar than an airplane piloted by Amelia Earhart. 

Games against the Flames and the Avalanche have almost become guaranteed wins, meanwhile Canucks fans just flat-out dread games against the Minnesota Mild. Where’s the excitement in that?

Here are 5 games should get you excited about the upcoming Canucks season.

December 15 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs

Every year, the games between the Canucks and Leafs are an event. This year’s first tilt will bring extra intrigue as it will mark Roberto Luongo’s triumphant return to Rogers Arena. What’s that? This trade hasn’t actually happened yet? 

Whatever, so the trade isn’t official. But we’ve got it on good authority that Luongo is already planning on bringing a special guest to enjoy the game in Lui’s Crease Club (henceforth known as Cory’s Crib), and we hope samjam99 has himself a nice time.

November 15 vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Let’s face it – the Canucks biggest rival is STILL the Chicago Blackhawks. Just when we thought that the Blackhawks-Canucks had lost its spice, Duncan Keith went and cheapshotted Daniel Sedin with the cheap shot of the year. That vicious elbow earned Keith a suspension to rest him for the playoffs, while Sedin went to the quiet room until Game 4 of Vancouver’s first round series against the Kings.

Needless to say, the Canucks will be out for blood, and the rivalry will be alive and well all season long.

December 29 vs. Boston Bruins

It’s impossible to argue that the Canucks/Bruins Stanley Cup Final in 2011 was anything other than the most intense final series in several years. It’s certainly wasn’t the best display of skill, and there was far too much extra-curricular activity to showcase the way hockey should be played – but it was riveting, compelling theater. This is known.

This season, the Canucks host the Bruins on Saturday night on HNIC, which amps up the intrigue even further. Admittedly, the game will lose a little lustre without Tim Thomas manning the net, his American flag cape waving smartly in the breeze created by Alex Burrows blowing by Zdeno Chara as he wraps the puck in the open net…. But still, Canucks fans and Bruins fans will still find a way to berate one another, bother each other, and make sure the game is the talk of the hockey world for a couple of weeks…

October 23 @ Pittsburgh Penguins

The Canucks face the reigning Art Ross, Hart and Ted Lindsay award winner, AND THAT PERSON IS NOT SIDNEY CROSBY.

Evgeni Malkin rightfully scooped up a bunch of NHL hardware yesterday, and he and Sid the Kid will be anxious to get their season off to a fast start. This game will be tough, though, as the Canucks travel from Detroit the night before to face a formidable Penguins roster.

While the TV schedule has not be announced yet, this is a Tuesday night game in Pittsburgh and NBC Sports Network would be very wise to broadcast this game nationally. After all it will feature 4 players who have won 6 of the last 7 Art Ross trophies, to go along with their combined 3 Hart trophy wins. It promises to be a supreme showcase of talent and skill.

October 13 vs Edmonton Oilers

Earlier, I said that Canucks games against the Northwest Division had lost their pinache. They certainly have, but this game should be a highlight on your calendar. It is the Canucks first home game of the season (they open on the road in Calgary two days prior), and it will very likely be the first ever NHL game for the Oilers 3rd consecutive first overall pick. Will it be Nail Yakupov? Will it be Ryan Murray? Will Steve Tambellini go off the board and draft Kevin Lowe? Find out at the draft!

Anyway, if we’re Assuming it’s the consensus #1, the Oilers roster could feature: Yakupov, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Jordan Eberle. That’s a boat load lot of offensive talent. The Oilers won’t win many games next season (probably), or ever until they add some quality defenders and a serious goaltender – but boy will they be fun to watch lose.