The NHL is (hopefully) back to a full 82 games for the 2021-22 season, with the schedule released for on Thursday night during an episode of ESPN’s Sportscenter.
The games will start on Tuesday, Oct. 12 with a doubleheader that opens with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning against the Pittsburgh Penguins and then a matchup between the NHL’s two newest teams: the Seattle Kraken and the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Blackhawks first game follows on Wednesday, Oct. 13, with a road game against the Colorado Avalanche. That’s the first of three straight road games for the Blackhawks in the ‘21-22 season, with Chicago then heading to New Jersey on Friday, Oct. 15 and then to Pittsburgh on the next night.
The first game at the United Center will be on Tuesday, Oct. 19 against the New York Islanders.
Here’s what the full schedule looks like:
If a calendar format is more your style, here’s what that looks like:
Here's the Blackhawks' full schedule in calendar form: pic.twitter.com/jb5jdUah7u— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 22, 2021
A few observations:
- The end of 2021 is going to see the Hawks on the road a lot. There’s a four-game road trip from Nov. 17 to Nov. 23, a three-game road trip from Dec. 2 to Dec. 5 and then back-to-back away games on Dec. 9 and 11. In all, Chicago will play 9 of 12 games in this span on the road.
- The back half of December features a regression to the mean, with Chicago following that stretch with six of seven games at home.
- Chicago gets its first look at the Kraken on Wednesday, Nov. 17 in Seattle
- There’s a 23-day gap between games in February. That remains on the calendar as the NHL and International Olympic Committe work on an agreement that would allow NHL players to compete in the 2022 Winter Olympics. ESPN reporter Emily Kaplan provided an update on those negotiations on Twitter:
As I said on @sportcenter, positive developments on NHL players & Olympics participation.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) July 22, 2021
They've found a provider for COVID insurance for players. Still need to work through some details; dialogue between NHL, NHLPA & IOC ongoing
But as of today, things are looking optimistic.