With the preseason upon us, let's take a second to examine the upcoming regular season schedule and see what gems and/or turds we can discover and/or get our panties bunched-up about in giddy anticipation.
The new look Avs are starting the season of redemption off in a big way on October 8th by taking on the geriatric Red Wings in the season/home opener in which they will (rumored?) also honor Wade Belak, Karlis Skrastins, and Ruslan Salei. If that wasn't enough, they will also retire Peter Forsberg's number - only the 4th Avs sweater to be retired and merely the 8th in franchise history (if you don't know who the other 3 Avs are, well, then: Welcome! This is a hockey blog. What is "hockey" you ask? Click here). The stage is set for opening night to be a HUGE event. The Avs new marketing campaign is no longer "all about the A", it seems to be: blow your wad right away and hope you can ride that high to the end and nobody notices.
- Thursday, October 13th, Craig Anderson gets shown up by Varlamov and rookie Gabriel Landeskog scores his first NHL goal against the team that he may have gone to had Anderson not been traded.
- Monday, October 17th, Avs visit to Toronto to see John-Michael Liles' first career hat trick.
- Saturday, December 17, Varlamov proves Caps fans wrong.
- Thursday, December 27th, Welcome back Winnipeg! We've missed you.
- Hooray for home cooking! The Avs enjoy an eight-game homestand from Nov. 18 to Dec. 4. This is the longest continuous homestand in Avalanche history. So regardless of the on-ice performance, the Avs will be making history this season!
- Sunday, February 19th, Avs play first game in Winnipeg since 1996, I think.....
- The Avs DO NOT play on Valentines Day. Thank God.
- Just like last season, the Avs play one game at home and then launch an an extended 5 game road trip. These long road trips to start the year have been the case the past couple of seasons for the Avs, and they seem to be beneficial as the teams have enjoyed great starts the past two years. Maybe it's the team bonding, or the bowel-comforting distance from Casa Bonita, but starting on the road agrees with the Avalanche. Luckily, this is the longest road trip the Avs will face all season. Weird note: The Avalanche face the defending champions game #2 this season. Last season started with the Avs season opener against the then-defending champion Blackhawks.That's some spooky Twilight Zone action right there.
- The Avs will play every team once. They'll play 3 Eastern Conference teams twice: Pittsburgh, New Jersey, and Winnipeg. And the standard 6 games per team in division (3 home, 3 away) and everybody else in the west 4 times (2 home, 2 away).
- After being abused with 15 back-to-backs last season, and a sadistic record 16 two season ago, the Avs will only endure 10 back-to-backs this season. If this were Anderson/Budaj, I'd wager another 70 starts for Andy, but seeing as we're entering the Varly/Giggy era, I think we'll see a more judicious splitting of goal-tending duties despite the kinder schedule. Gotta keep our groins fresh.
- Every game on Altitude except for: 9 games on VS this season, and 1 game with no TV coverage. Seriously? WTF Columbus?!?
FAN QUESTION: What game/face up are you most looking forward to this upcoming season?