The Chicago Blackhawks’ full 2014-15 regular-season schedule was unveiled on Sunday afternoon, featuring a little bit of this and that. The team has their annual circus trip again, as well as their late January/early February road haul. The Blackhawks also have a season-long, eight-game homestand in February.
But let’s get more into specifics, shall we? Here are some of the Blackhawks games to highlight on your calendar — or iPhone app or whatever the kids are using these days:
1. Chicago at Washington, New Year’s Day. Yes, it feels like the Blackhawks are to outdoor games as brutal cold is to February in these here parts: you just expect it every year now. A rivalry, this isn’t. Still, it’s outdoor hockey, it’s pageantry and it’s entertaining. So sit back and enjoy it. After all, your other choice is watching diluted college bowl games.
2. Chicago at Los Angeles Kings, Nov. 29. The first time the Kings won the Stanley Cup, they hosted the Blackhawks out of the lockout. This year’s Western Conference Final rematch comes two days after Thanksgiving, as the Blackhawks’ Circus Trip finale in Los Angeles. They’re the two best teams in the West, so it’s always good watching when they square off.
3. St. Louis at Chicago, Oct. 25. The angst between the Blackhawks and Blues increased exponentially with their first-round postseason series last spring. So, naturally, their first game in 2014-15 will likely have the appropriate amount of venom. We’ll be tuning in to find out.
4. Chicago at Montreal, Nov. 4. Why am I highlighting this game? Because the last two contests between these the Blackhawks and Canadiens in Montreal have been fantastic. That, and the Jonathan-Toews-returns-to-Winnipeg storyline has officially been written enough.
5. Detroit at Chicago, Feb. 18. Don’t care that they’re in separate conferences: the hockey is always great and the rivalry will never completely fade away. It’s Red Wings-Blackhawks: of course you’re going to watch.
6. Boston at Chicago, Feb. 22. This isn’t about highlighting every Original Six matchup the Blackhawks will play in 2014-15. It’s about highlighting the good ones. The Bruins and Blackhawks had a tremendous 2013 Stanley Cup Final, and the mutual respect, peppered with just a dash of dislike, always makes this matchup a great one.
7. Chicago at Colorado, April 11. The Avalanche was the surprise success story out of the Western Conference, and they had the Blackhawks’ number through the 2013-14 regular season. Don’t be surprised if there are playoff implications in this, the regular-season finale for the Blackhawks.