The schedule has been out for a little while now, but with the offseason going quiet (knock on wood), it is finally time to take a look at what lies ahead for our Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2022-23 season.
If you’re not already counting down the days until we see Blue Jackets hockey again, let me help you out. There are 76 days until the puck drops for the Blue Jackets’ first tilt against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh on October 12th. Yes, it seems like forever, but at the same time, it will be here before you know it.
Here’s how the Jacket’s schedule looks at a glance:
Season opener on October 12th at Carolina.
Home opener on October 14th against the Lightning.
Season wraps up at home against the Penguins on April 13th.
Season-long six game homestand from Nov. 15-25
Season-long five game road trip (Cali swing) from March 14-21
Fifteen back-to-backs — aka 36% of all games
Here are some of the highlights of the 2022-23 season.
2022 NHL Global Series
Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of the Blue Jackets season will be when they travel to Patrik Laine’s hometown of Tampere, Finland to take on the defending Stanley Cup champs, Colorado Avalanche. The Jackets play a pair of games back-to-back on November 4th and 5th at Nokia Arena. Nokia Arena holds just under 14,000 fans and with the strong Finnish connection of the Jackets (Laine, Korpisalo, and Kekalainen), and not to mention the hockey-crazed Finnish culture, should be a sold out, electric atmosphere for both games.
The Blue Jackets are offering a travel package for fans to make the trip overseas to see the Jackets in a once-in-a lifetime trip. Our own Pale Dragon will be making the trip to support our boys. I’d imagine the CBJ will be well represented in Finland. I may be getting ahead of myself here, but I do think this could be a precursor to the Jackets finally getting an outdoor game depending on how this event plays out.
Similar to last season, there are a few big names and former fan favorites making their triumphant returns to Nationwide Arena. Last year we saw warm welcomes of multiple players...and some not so kind receptions.
However, this year it should be all love when the Blue Jackets fans welcome back Seth Jones, Oliver BJORKSTRAND and former head coach, John Tortorella.
The Seth Jones trade from last summer was originally seen as another gut punch to the fans, forced to watch another player choose to leave Columbus. The pain of that trade quickly subsided once the return of that trade was announced. That trade pretty much launched the “reload” into high gear. Jackets fans were also able to enjoy feeling some schadenfreude watching the total implosion of the Blackhawks this year, while knowing the Jackets gained a few crucial core pieces of their future with Cole Sillinger, David Jiricek, among others.
Seth handled his departure with grace and did right by the organization, so fans in theory should be forgiving and welcome Seth back with a healthy ovation. Seth will be in Columbus on New Years’ Eve for his return.
It still pains me to think that the next time we see the Maestro on the ice at Nationwide, it will be in another teams’ sweater. Bjorkstrand and the Seattle Kraken come to town on Friday, March 3rd of next year. That is one that I already have circled on my calendar and will be in attendance for.
Blue Jackets fans won’t have to wait nearly as long to welcome back the most successful coach in Blue Jackets history. John Tortorella will make his return to Columbus on Thursday, November 10th when the Philadelphia Flyers roll into town for the first meeting of the year. Tortorella and Philly are a match made in heaven, and it may not be this year or the next, but I do believe he will right the ship and get that organization back to being a competitive team before long. He definitely has his work cut out for him.
The Blue Jackets head out west for their Western Canada/Pacific Northwest trip at the end of January just prior to the NHL All-Star Game. They take on Edmonton, Calgary (Johnny Gaudreau’s return), Vancouver, and Seattle all within five days before heading home for one final game before the break.
For the fans who like to travel to catch the Jackets, dates of the more popular road destinations include:
10/23 @ New York Rangers - It’s on my bucket list to see a game at MSG someday
11/26 @ Nashville Predators - Always a good time, and its on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
2/19 @ Arizona Coyotes - Normally this wouldn’t rank high on the list of popular destinations, but it would be undeniably cool to catch a Blue Jackets game in a college arena. It’s gimmicky, but will most likely be a really intimate setting.
Overall, it appears to be another gauntlet the Jackets will have to run through if they want to make the playoffs this year. Thanks to some offseason moves, it looks like they will be better prepared to face it.
Let’s go Jackets!