Detroit Red Wings Release Schedule: Home Matchups That Fans Will Love
When last year's schedule came out, I was extremely disappointed. It was the first year since 2008 that Detroit and Pittsburgh didn't play twice (in the regular season), and absolutely zero of the Eastern Conference Original Six teams at home. Just Chicago three times, like always.
This morning, I saw that the schedule was posted and hoped that at least two of the aforementioned teams would be playing in Detroit, and was ecstatic to find out that the schedule turned out to be exactly how I wanted it matchup-wise, plus a little bit more.
Let's take a look at why fans will be so happy with this year's calendar.
Unfortunately, these two only play each other once this year (again), but this terrific Original Six rivalry will come to Hockeytown on December 10.
Last year, the Wings and Bruins faced off in the Thanksgiving Classic in Beantown, providing one of the most memorable regular-season games of the year, ending in a Detroit shootout win.
In 2011, they met for a weekend home-and-home series, and I had the privilege of attending the Sunday matinee in Detroit. It was one of the best regular-season atmospheres I have experienced and I am sure this year's game will be just as exciting.
Due to being in the same division, Detroit and Chicago will, as always, face off three times in each city. Detroit vs. Chicago is one of the greatest city vs. city rivalries in every sport, and it may be at its best in hockey right now.
Fans in Detroit will get to enjoy this rivalry on February 13, March 3 and March 31.
This past season, the lowly Canadiens caught Detroit off-guard and pummeled them in front of the Montreal crowd. This year, Detroit will try to return the favor at home on January 30.
This is a classic Original Six rivalry, and fans become extremely involved. I remember the last time these two faced off in Detroit two years ago, and how it was very difficult to grasp the fact that it was just a regular-season game.
New Jersey Devils
The Red Wings will play the defending Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Devils, a team who also upset the Red Wings in the 1995 Stanley Cup Final.
New Jersey comes to Detroit on November 15.
New York Rangers
This Original Six rivalry features two of the NHL's elite teams.
The Rangers just came off of a season in which they finished first in the Eastern Conference, and also appeared in the Eastern Conference Final.
The Rangers were in Detroit in 2011, wearing their "heritage jersey" while Detroit wore their road whites at home. I was at this game, and the fact that it was an Original Six rivalry provided a much higher intensity than other regular-season games.
This rivalry will be rekindled in 2013 on March 20.
This rivalry has died down a bit since the back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, but it may take off again this year as the teams play each other once in each arena.
The big question is whether or not Sidney Crosby will play in either of these games this year. He has missed the last three meetings between Pittsburgh and Detroit and has not played in one since the Jimmy Howard facewash.
Last season was the first since 2008 in which the teams met each other only once in the regular season. Two games against each other may be what this rivalry needs to get going again.
Pittsburgh visits the city where it won the 2009 Stanley Cup on November 19.
Toronto Maple Leafs
This is easily the most anticipated matchup of the season not only for these two teams, but maybe the entire NHL.
This historic Original Six rivalry will take center stage on New Year's Day in the biggest stadium in North America, Michigan Stadium, for the 2013 NHL Winter Classic.
Detroit and Toronto fans don't exactly get along too well, and every game between the two has the atmosphere to match a Stanley Cup Final. Each fanbase is loud and passionate, and the fact that this year's game will be played outdoors and surrounded by about 110,000 fans will write an entirely new chapter in this remarkable rivalry.
Detroit will play the newly relocated franchise twice this season, and maybe many more times in years to come if a realignment puts them in the same division.
The Red Wings thrashed the Jets last year (no pun intended) in their only meeting of the season, which took place in Detroit.
This year, the Jets visit Detroit on April 5, while the Red Wings take their first trip to Winnipeg since 1996 on October 27.