As everyone in the hockey world likely knows at this point, the NHL finally released its schedule for the
2012-2013 season, just hours before training camps are set to open across the league. Or at least most of them.
The schedule analyzing has already begun, and we're already aware of the fact that we could be in for a doozy of a first game with the Chicago Blackhawks heading to Hollywood to watch the Los Angeles Kings raise their Stanley Cup banner.
Game no. 2 on the season for the Hawks could prove to be the bigger deal over the weekend, given their opponent. That Sunday brings a rematch of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, when the Hawks head to the desert to visit the Phoenix Coyotes.
In a variety of ways, that series was an extremely awful one for the Hawks. And it goes beyond them being eliminated by the Yotes in six games. It was the way in which they lost that left the real sting for the team and their fans.
The Hawks lost three of their four in overtime. Two of those losses came from Charmin soft goals allowed by Corey Crawford, both scored by Mikkel Boedker. They were generally outplayed and several of their defensemen (Nick Leddy, Johnny Oduya) had a tough time handling that brutal Phoenix forecheck.
Looking back on the series, it can be remembered for two big hits. The first is the one that Andrew Shaw laid on goaltender Mike Smith, which landed him a suspension and a couple of games in the press box. That left a bit of a physical hole in the Hawks' lineup and soured relations between the two squads.
Then came the hit heard 'round the league, as Raffi Torres took his shoulder to the head of Marian Hossa. Hossa had to be carried off on a stretcher, while Torres was suspended indefinitely. He won't be on the ice for this one, but don't expect this game to be any less physical because of that fact.
The Hawks are hoping to get off to a fast start this year. That game against the Coyotes so early in the season is really going to test their meddle. It's the home opener for Phoenix and the two teams now have an intense history, based off of what we saw last spring. The Hawks' opener should be a great one in LA, but look for a physical, chippy affair as the Hawks look to (sort of) avenge their playoff loss from last season.
Should be a fun one.