If labour peace is achieved in our time, this is what we have to look forward to from the Montreal Canadiens in 2012-13. The Canadiens' full season schedule was released today by the NHL, starting with a rare season opener at home (first time since 1999-2000). The Ottawa Senators will be the guests at the Bell Centre on Thursday, October 11. Northwest rivals continue to dominate the first week of the schedule, as the now traditional first Saturday night game at Toronto will be held on October 13, followed by a home and home with the Boston Bruins October 16th and 18th. The Washington Capitals are the first Saturday night home date at the Bell Centre this year on October 20th.
Other highlites of the schedule include the western Canadian road trip from October 30th in Calgary through November 3rd in Vancouver. The large fan base of the Canadiens in the wealthy part of Canada should be out en masse to cheer against the local clubs in what is always a great atmosphere, even if it's been pretty tough on the Habs to get wins in those rinks. The annual 'Get out of Montreal for the holidays' trip is six games long this year for the Canadiens, with three road games before Christmas and three after, with the games after Christmas all being in the Southeast Division: Tampa, Florida, and Carolina. It's the longest road trip of the year for the Canadiens, but is split up by the Christmas break. Montreal's lone game against the Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings is Dec 13th at the Bell Centre.
There are twelve back-to-back situations for the Canadiens in the 2012-13 schedule, which is higher than usual. There are none until mid-November and then they start coming in waves: Nov 19/20, Dec 1/2, Dec 12/13, Dec 19/20, Dec 27/28, Jan 12/13, Jan 18/19, Feb 2/3 (annual Superbowl weekend matinee homestand), Feb 8/9, Feb 19/20, Mar 15/16, Apr 12/13. It'll be key for the Canadiens to get off to a quick start as making up points later in the year will be difficult.
March is a weird month for the Canadiens: from Mar 4-19 they play 7 of 8 games on the road. Then starting Mar 30 and ending April 9, the Canadiens have their longest home stand of the year at 5 games.
We'll be covering every game here on Eyes on the Prize, and we'll let you know when tickets are available as well.
Now all we need to figure out is who will be on the team, and if these games will be occuring as scheduled. You know, the details.