The NHL finally got around to releasing its schedule for the 2013-14 season. There's a lot to digest and a lot to look forward to, so let's take a quick look at some of the highlights for what should be a fun season of NHL hockey.
(The complete schedule can be found here)
The season starts off with a bang; the Coyotes will host the New York Rangers in the first game of the year on October 3rd. Unfortunately they won't be able to settle in, as immediately afterwards they embark on a five game road trip that takes them from San Jose to Carolina, with stops in Long Island, Detroit, and Philadelphia along the way. This also marks the most consecutive games the Coyotes will play on the road at any point this year.
For those who can't stand the Red Wings, the good news is you will get them out of your system early; the Coyotes sole home game against Detroit is October 19th, a little more than a week after the Coyotes visit the Joe Louis Arena (or whatever its name becomes when Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings end, I suppose).
The Coyotes will play host to Los Angeles for the first time on October 29th, after which they will not see them again until January 28th, 2014.
The Coyotes will visit the MTS Centre up in cold, depressing Winnipeg on two occasions this year, and they will play once at Jobing.com Arena on April 1st. Phoenix should absolutely honor April Fool's Day by wearing old-school Jets or Nordiques jerseys for that game.
Other Quirks and Tidbits
Per our own Ben Shroyer:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>17 weekend games and 3 Friday night games! <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Coyotes&src=hash">#Coyotes</a></p>— Ben Shroyer (@BenShroyer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BenShroyer/statuses/358276663852797953">July 19, 2013</a></blockquote>
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The Coyotes will play about half of their home games on the weekend, which is generally a good thing as far as attendance goes. And since many of these weekend dates include games against teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Washington Capitals, and the Boston Bruins, it's not a stretch to suggest Jobing.com Arena will be packed for most of these games.
NBC continues its tradition of pretending the West Coast doesn't exist by scheduling the Desert Dogs for only two games, one against St. Louis on November 12th, and the other against Los Angeles on April 2nd. Neither of these two games will be at home. The road game against Detroit on the NHL Network rounds out the national coverage for Phoenix.
The Desert Dogs will play 12 back-to-backs this season, which also includes the final two games of the year. For comparison, the Bruins will have 16.