Friday, July 19, 2013

8 Significant Match-ups in Detroit’s 2013-14 Season

The NHL has just released its 2013-14 Schedule. This season marks a new chapter in league history as the divisions have been re-aligned, and perhaps most significantly sends Detroit to the Eastern Conference where they will be in the new Atlantic Division (sadly not the “Flortheast” Division) with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Buffalo Sabres, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s take a look at 8 significant match-ups in Detroit’s 2013-14 season.

8) Wednesday Oct 2, 2013 - Buffalo @ Detroit
Lots have changed, Detroit is finally in a more sensible division (time zone wise) and this game is our first against a new divisional opponent. Sure there will be some pre-season games to see how the new additions of Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss fit into our lineup, but this is the real thing! Also it’s always fun to see Drew Miller (who might not [but probably will] be a Red Wing come October) play against brother Ryan (who might not be a Sabre come October...)

7) Tuesday Oct 15, 2013 - Columbus @ Detroit
This is our first game against a former Central Division opponent. Sure it’s Columbus, but 'Lumbus has shown all the right signs of turning things around and even battled hard for a playoff spot during the final weeks of last season.

6) Sunday December 1, 2013 - Detroit @ Ottawa
How will Sens fans receive their former Captain?
This game is significant because it will mark former Senators Captain Daniel Alfredsson's return to the Nation's Capital. Alfredsson played 17 seasons in Ottawa and captained the team since 1999. He also leads the franchise in Games Played, Goals, Assists, and Points. His departure from the Senators was shocking; especially since how important he was to the community. It will be interesting to see how Sens fans react to their former Captain coming back.

5) Wednesday January 22, 2014 - Chicago @ Detroit
I blame Boston for this monstrosity...
For many Wings fans, the Blackhawks were Detroit's number 1 rival. With the new re-alignment many hockey fans cited the only downside being that Detroit and Chicago would no longer inhabit the same division. This will be Detroit's first game against their former nemesis. It will also serve as a redemption game as Chicago eliminated Detroit in game 7 of last season's Conference Semi-Finals en route to a Stanley Cup victory. This will be a great test to see how well the Red Wings have improved since last season.

4) Wednesday January 1, 2014 - Toronto @ Detroit
Plus we get to see Pavel in these stylish threads!
The Winter Classic.

What more needs to be said about this match-up? Unfortunately the drama with last season's lockout cancelled this momentous occasion, but luckily the NHL has rescheduled what will be the largest hockey game of all time (with attendance over 100,000 people). The HBO 24/7 series leading up to the event will only hype which what should already be a great game.

3) Saturday February 8, 2014 - Detroit @ Tampa Bay
Plus we get to see Pavel in these stylish threads!
This game is significant only because it is the last Wings game before the NHL goes on vacation to make way for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Detroit should have numerous players representing various countries, but seeing Pavel Datsyuk suit up for the host nation should inspire him to make plenty of those highlight reel plays he is known for. Additionally, despite my anticipation for the Olympics it will be nice to see former Red Wing, Valtteri Filppula on his new squad.

2) Saturday March 22, 2014 & Sunday March 23, 2014 - Detroit @ Minnesota and Minnesota @ Detroit
This is Detroit's only true "Double-Header" match-up. Detroit will have 15 back-to-back games but none are against the same team. The Wings also only have one other match-up where they play the same team twice in a row when they play Florida, but the games are 2 days apart. Personally, I wish hockey had more of these Double-Header match-ups as these games can really turn up the intensity and allow events from one game to spill over into the second. Plus Minnesota is one of the league's up-and-coming teams and I still hold a slight grudge against Ryan Suter for not signing with the Wings two years ago. So seeing Detroit beat up on the Wild two nights in a row could be extremely satisfying.

1) Sunday April 13, 2014 - Detroit @ St. Louis
When the buzzer sounds at the end of this game it will mark another season in the books for the Wings. With any luck Detroit's mighty playoff streak will survive and as the Wings step off the ice in St. Louis they will be gearing up for the "real season".

Let’s Go Red Wings!

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