Every summer, when the hockey schedule comes out, I can't help but get excited. It means that the start of the season keeps getting closer and closer. Offiicially, the season starts Friday, October 8th in Stockholm. With just a few short months to prepare, the buzz around hockey is picking up. Call me Captain Optimism, but this year is going to be exciting.
Following up with Matt's post, I introduce to you my "must see" games of 2010/11. Enjoy.
Friday, October 8"@" San Jose
I say "@" because technically we're starting our season as the away team...way far away. I imagine the crowd will be split either way due to the Swedish nationals on both sides including Niclas Wallin, Douglas Murray, and Henrik Karlsson for the Sharks, and Juice, Sammy, and Stralman for the CBJ. This game will give us a chance to see our final roster in game action for the first time under new head coach Scott Arniel and his staff. Lots of new faces to get used to.
As we all know, our history on the road has been crap. A strong start as the road team will go a long way towards getting back into the playoff race, and finally putting all the bad luck the franchise has had, behind us.
Friday, October 15 v. Chicago
This game marks the first true home game of the season. After the vacation in Sweden, the Jackets return home to welcome the soon-to-be-defending champion Blackhawks. With Chicago being close, plan on seeing plenty of Hawks jerseys invade the arena. They're loud, and damn are they annoying (am I the only one who thinks its rude to yell and cheer during the National Anthem?). It will be a tough game early on to see what we're made of.
Friday, November 26 v. Detroit
This night marks the first meeting of the year with the evil, despicable Wings. Every home game against them feels like an away game due to the large group of fans that makes the trip down to Columbus. (side note: this needs to start changing. We need to make the Arena a place that no one wants to travel to!) The crowds for these games (CBJ and Detroit fans combined) are always loud, and it makes the game more exciting.
This divisional game will be pivotal to the success of the season. Any chance we get to put space between us and Detroit in the standings will go a long way in the end.
Saturday, April 9 v. Buffalo
Ah season's end. This Saturday match up will signify the end of the Blue Jackets regular season, and hopefully *crosses fingers* the start of a playoff run. Matt mentioned the other day that its great we aren't ending the year with Detroit again. Two seasons ago all we needed was one point in either of those games against St. Louis and Minnesota and we could've avoided Detroit in the playoffs. Its just further proof that every game matters, and the season finale is no different.