The NHL is back and the regular season, arguably, is more important than ever before. As you know, because of the NHL lockout, the season has been redesigned to have about a 50 game regular season, opposed to a normal 82 game season. Games will be played more frequently as the whole regular season schedule will have a playoff feel to it.
Blackhawk’s center Jonathan Toews agrees saying, "It will be like playoff hockey and for two months, you're playing every other night pretty much.” This coming from an interview with The Chicago Tribune’s Jack McCarthy.
For fans, this will keep them on the edge of their seats during each and every game. Home games will be key. There won’t be much room for error and home wins will be essential for the Blackhawks to make the playoffs.
Last season, from the end of January through mid-February, Chicago went on a nine game losing streak. Though at the end of the season the Blackhawks were able to get into the playoffs, a stretch like that in 2013 will result in missing the playoffs.
The always tough Central Division will be a grind of its own, even more now with the shortened season. Reigning division champ St. Louis Blues should be back, and there's never counting out the Detroit Red Wings. Division runner-up Nashville could start to regress with the loss of Ryan Suter, though. Younger teams like Chicago will be able to handle this kind of season the best. Recovery time between each game will be shortened, and look for that to effect some teams as the season goes on.
All in all, this will be one of the more exciting NHL seasons to be played. Yes, it’s a shame that we won’t see a full slate of games, but each game this season will mean everything. The Blackhawks’ sprint to the finish will start on January 19th versus the LA Kings.