Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Full NHL Schedule Release: Ten Games Blackhawks Are Circling On Their Calendar In 2024-25

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Now that a hectic day one of free agency is finally in the books, teams are turning their attention to the upcoming season. On Tuesday morning, the NHL officially ushered in a new campaign by releasing the full schedule for every team for 2024-25. The Blackhawks announced a few highlights with a pretty clever release of their own:

While each of the upcoming 82 games will have its own storyline and be worth watching (especially with a brand-new roster donning Blackhawks sweaters), Chicago will be looking forward to a handful of games in particular. Here are ten games they’ll be circling on their calendar.

October 8 – at Utah Hockey Club

Could the Blackhawks’ opener get any better? Chicago is kicking off the regular season in style this fall as the first-ever opponent for Utah’s franchise and the visitor for the first game in Salt Lake City. It’s one of only three games that Tuesday night and is even against a new division rival. There may not be as much anticipation as Connor Bedard’s debut last year, but many fans will certainly be thrilled to get a chance to see Chicago’s new lineup in a game that matters.

October 11 – at Winnipeg Jets

In the second game of the Blackhawks’ four-game season-opening road trip, they’ll serve as the opponents for the Jets’ home opener. Winnipeg has had a quiet offseason so far, and the game will mean more to them than it will to Chicago, but it’ll still be a buzzing atmosphere and will create a must-watch event.

October 17 – vs. San Jose Sharks

The Blackhawks have to wait more than a week into the season for their home opener, but the matchup will be well worth the wait. When Chicago returns to the United Center for the first time, Bedard will lead them against Macklin Celebrini in a battle of the last two No. 1 overall picks. Granted, the game is between what were the two worst teams in the entire NHL last year, but it’s about as good of a storyline early in the season as one can ask for.

November 6 – vs. Detroit Red Wings

The United Center already welcomed the return of franchise icon Patrick Kane back in February for the first time since he left, but there’s no doubt all eyes will be on him when the Red Wings visit Chicago for the first time this season. Perhaps the Blackhawks can see a better result this time after Kane’s overtime winner last season.

November 21 – vs. Florida Panthers

The Blackhawks will get their first crack at the Stanley Cup champions on home ice in mid-November before traveling to Amerant Bank Arena in February. How will a team looking to ascend fare against the league’s best?

November 29 – at Minnesota Wild

The second of two games against the Wild in November features a matchup between the two top vote-getters for the Calder Trophy last season. Many Minnesota fans are still bitter after Bedard took home the hardware despite finishing among the league’s worst in plus-minus, so he may draw a few boo birds. The Black Friday matinee on the road should be a fun one.

December 31 – Winter Classic vs. St. Louis Blues

The Winter Classic. A huge rivalry. Wrigley Field. What could be better? The unquestioned highlight of the regular season will be played on New Year’s Eve this year and will feature the Blackhawks at one of the most iconic venues in sports. When Chicago saw St. Louis last season, Bedard treated us all to the play of the year in his spectacular Michigan goal. Could he reach into his seemingly endless bag of tricks again at his first career outdoor game?

March 5 – vs. Ottawa Senators

While the exact date of the NHL trade deadline has yet to be announced, there’s a strong chance it falls on Friday, March 7. That means fans packing into the United Center will be able to see many players on the Blackhawks’ roster delivering their closing arguments as to why they deserve to stay and develop into winners. Hopefully, this year we’ll see Chicago buying more players at the deadline than selling.

April 6 – vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Chicago will have to wait until April to see Bedard vs. Sidney Crosby again, but then the two will face off twice in the span of three days. With time undoubtedly dwindling for Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, there’s no telling how many more opportunities we’ll have to see the two in the United Center. Plus, assuming that No. 2 overall pick Artyom Levshunov goes back to Michigan State this fall, this game could fall around the time he would be signed and brought to the NHL level, if that’s indeed the plan. The blueliner has said he models his game after Malkin, so Bedard/Levshunov against Crosby/Malkin would be an intriguing matchup, to say the least.

April 15 – at Ottawa Senators

It seems strange to see a team like the Senators make this list twice, but this road game could have big implications for the Blackhawks. There’s no telling this new-look team’s potential. Could they be playoff contenders? Will this game be crucial for playoff seeding? Will they be looking to lose it for increased odds at the No. 1 pick? Either way, the final game of the year is always a big one, and this season is no different.

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