The NHL (and by extension the Jackets) have released the 2012-2013 regular season schedule this morning.
While we still wait to see what will happen with Rick Nash and the draft this weekend, there are a few dates that stand out at first glance.
Road Warriors - The Jackets will get an early test / "bonding opportunity" by starting the season on the road Saturday, October 13th in Chicago, then heading to Minnesota and Toronto before they return to host Vancouver on Friday, October 19th...and that will be the second night of a back to back series. Ouch. The Jackets will see 16 back to back series this season (11 of them before the All Star Break), mostly on the road, but a few home and away sets. Finally, the club will close the regular season out on the road in Minnesota - that means the April 11th game against the Sharks will serve as the home finale...but hopefully not the last home game in 2013.
Home Stretch - Speaking of the all star break, the team will get a much nicer post-ASG schedule, starting the second half of the season at home and hosting their longest homestand of the season from February 8th through the 18th. The club also has a nice 5 game homestand in mid-March, and all but two dates in April will be in Columbus. If they're pushing hard for a playoff spot, there's a decent chance that the club could use that to their advantage.
- Holiday Parties - In addition to the usual New Year's Eve game (this time against the Blackhawks), the Jackets will also host the Predators on Black Friday, the Flyers on Valentine's day, and go on the road to Calgary for Good Friday. Now if we can just have the team in the playoffs for, say, Memorial Day or Flag Day...
- Jack Johnson Appreciation Night - The Jackets will be hosting the Kings on November 10th and 30th. Just saying.
- Rick Nash Appreciation Night? - Depending on if / where Nash is traded...the Jackets host the Rangers on April 5th, the Sharks on Februrary 12th, the aforementioned Valentine's Day game with the Flyers, and the Senators on March 22nd. I think that's all the current suitors...
- A Little Good News - Looking at the Super Schedule at On The Forecheck, the Jackets' overall travel did decrease this year, so hopefully that will be slightly less wear and tear on players. (Not as much as if we'd gotten realignment, but there's always next year...)
Any games stand out to you that I've missed? Let us know!