Let’s Make Some Playdates!
With the release of the 2012/2013 schedule, Vancouver Canucks fans can start getting excited about the return of hockey during a much longer off-season than last.
Barring the world ending on December 21st, the Canucks will be back as Stanley Cup contenders once again and seeking an unprecedented third term as President’s Trophy champions.
There’s still quite some time until puck drop on October 11 in Calgary, but we can still peek under the tree in anticipation of great match-ups.
Let’s take a look at five key match-ups and then retreat to play the waiting game, or alternatively Hungry Hungry Hippos.
October 13 vs. Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are this close to evolving into their next pokemon stage and whoever they add at tomorrow’s draft (Yakupov if they’re not self-destructive) could be that final step.
Say what you will about the Oilers but they’re poised to be the Canucks greatest threat to the Northwest Division crown in the coming years, and the home opener will be interesting to see just how far away they are.
November 8 @ Kings
The first of four match-ups with the defending Stanley Cup champions carries, as most of these July anticipated games do, an air of revenge.
The Canucks can’t reverse the outcome of the playoffs in this game just as they couldn’t last year against Boston, but solving Jonathon Quick and the Los Angeles Kings in this early-season match-up would bring a feeling of satisfaction and set the mood for the next three meetings.
While the Boston rivalry wanes due to lack of games, this one against the Kings should only grow throughout the year as personal grudges mix with a battle for Western Conference supremacy.
You best believe there’s unfinished business here.
(Most of us at NWSB are still happy for Willie Mitchell though.
November 15 vs. Blackhawks
In which Duncan Keith must answer for his crimes.
The concept of retaliation is a complex one in Vancouver post-Steve Moore but hockey being what is, Keith would be best served to keep his head up and elbows down in the kick-off to the 2012/2013 Blackhawks hate-fest.
At the least, expect him to to be booed every time he touches the puck.
Meanwhile, if past contests are any indication, we’ll probably be treated to some really great hockey.
December 15 vs. Maple Leafs
Leafs games in Vancouver always carry an aura of East/West superiority complexes, and surely we’ll be treated to another round of whining over the 4 pm start, but this game could also be Roberto Luongo‘s return to Vancouver if the rumours are true.
December 29 vs. Bruins
We’re a year removed from the Stanley Cup Finals now, but this will be the first time the Bruins return to Vancouver since raising the cup in Rogers Arena, and it takes place on my birthday to boot.
Of particular note is Milan Lucic’s complex relationship with his hometown, what with the fistfights and graffiti.
What will his hometown greet him with and more importantly how far apart will Brittany Carnegie and Corey Snyder’s broad be seated?