The Chicago Blackhawks released their 2017-18 regular-season schedule Thursday, giving fans a look at what the road to winning the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup will look like. Here are 10 highlights from next season’s schedule:
1. Thursday, Oct. 5: Chicago vs. Pittsburgh - Opening Night
The Hawks open the season at home against the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Chicago started this decade 5-0 in home openers, but have dropped the last two to the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues, respectively. The Hawks were 2-0 against Pittsburgh last season.
2. Saturday, Oct. 14: Chicago vs. Nashville - Keep The Yellow out?
Chicago faces Nashville, who swept the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs last spring, for the first of four games this season. A Nashville fan hurled a catfish on the ice during the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh, here’s hoping those shenanigans don’t happen at the United Center.
3. Tuesday, Oct. 24: Chicago at Vegas - Viva Las Vegas
The Hawks will play their first game against the expansion Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Vegas. The Golden Knights selected defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk from Chicago in the expansion draft, but less than 24 hours later traded him to Carolina so as of right now there won’t be any player reunions. Will Vegas have any arena traditions by than? I vote for throwing fuzzy dice on the ice similar to Nashville’s catfish toss. Also, I should get credit if they do this. Speaking of Nashville, the Golden Knights selected the Predators captain in the expansion draft. Vegas doesn’t have a captain, yet, but Neal seems like a good choice because players could Neal before their leader before games.
4. Sunday, Nov. 12: Chicago vs. New Jersey - No. 1 Pick
The NHL normally releases schedules after the NHL draft, but this year they decided to cram everything into one week and have schedules out before Friday’s draft in Chicago. The New Jersey Devils have the top overall pick and are expected to pick between Swiss forward Nico Hischier of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads or Canadian forward Nolan Patrick of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings. Neither of them are touted as generational talent like the last two No. 1 picks in Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews, but it’s always neat to see a top overall pick for the first time.
5. Tuesday, Nov. 28: Chicago at Nashville - The Return
Chicago makes its return to Nashville for the first time since Game 4 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. If you thought Nashville fans were bad before just wait until this game. Let’s hope for a shutout in this one.
6. Thursday, Dec. 21 to Wednesday, Jan. 3 - Away For The Holidays
Chicago’s longest road trip is six games from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3 (Dec. 21 at Dallas, Dec. 23 at New Jersey, Dec. 28 at Vancouver, Dec. 29 at Edmonton, Dec. 31 at Calgary, Jan. 3 at N.Y. Rangers). The Hawks will have to travel from Dallas to New Jersey, return home for Christmas then play the Pacific Division’s Canadian trio before flying to New York. While this isn’t the Hawks’ longest continuous road trip (Feb. 24-March 4 at four games), it’s a stretch of two weeks when the Hawks won’t be at the United Center. On the flip side, the Hawks’ longest homestand is six games from Jan. 10-24, so it sort of makes up for it.
7. Thursday, Jan. 25: Chicago at Detroit - “Pizza! Pizza!”
Last season, Chicago visited the Edmonton Oilers’ new arena Rogers Place for the first time, and next season they’ll make their first visit to the Detroit Red Wings’ Little Caesars Arena. Unlike Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings will share the building with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons. The game will also be the Hawks’ final game before its bye week.
8. Thursday, March 8: Chicago vs. Carolina - Darling Returns
Just like last season when Carolina visits Chicago they’ll have a former Hawk with them. Last season it was Teuvo Teravainen and this time it’ll be goaltender Scott Darling, who was traded April 28 in exchange for a third-round pick, and possibly van Riemsdyk. Darling signed a four-year contract worth $16.6 million with Carolina days after being acquired. Van Riemsdyk is currently with Carolina, but there have been rumors swirling he could be on the move again.
9. Friday, April 6: Chicago vs. St. Louis - Home Finale
The Hawks play division rival St. Louis in their home finale. Playoff seeding will likely be on the line.
10. Saturday, April 7: Chicago at Winnipeg - Regular-Season Finale
Chicago wraps up its regular-season slate with a trip to Winnipeg on a back-to-back. The Winnipeg Jets finished last season seven points back of Nashville in ninth place in the Western Conference. A healthy Patrik Laine and more consistent goaltending could see them right back in contention for a playoff spot next season.
If there are any games on the schedule that weren't on this list that are a must-see, let us know in the comments.
Here's the #Blackhawks 2017-18 regular-season schedule pic.twitter.com/gNpKcN1O57— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) June 22, 2017