With the return of an 82 game schedule, all 30 NHL teams will have the opportunity to play in all 30 arenas at least once per season. From a Bruins perspective, they'll continue to regularly match up against their
Atlantic Flortheast rivals from Ontario and Quebec, but they'll also get the chance to face off against some Canadian clubs that they haven't seen in quite some time.
Now that the Jets have moved out West (or Central / Mountain at least), the Bruins will make only one trip to Manitoba this season; on top of that, they will play a couple games in Alberta, and head back to British Columbia for the first time since, well, you know.
Here's the complete breakdown of the Bruins Canadian schedule for the upcoming season.
- Toronto: It seems like only yesterday that Bruins fans were ripping their hair out in lament over an impending playoff loss to the Maple Leafs, only to witness one of the greatest single game comebacks in NHL history. This "budding" rivalry was just dying for something to fuel it (apart from that whole Phil Kessel thing), so mission accomplished there. The Leafs will no doubt be looking for some measure of vengeful success against the team that went on to represent the East in the Cup Final, and they'll get that chance on home ice when Bruins head to the Air Canada Centre on December 8th & April 3rd.
- Montreal: In case you forgot, the Habs remain the Bruins true Canadian rivals, and just so happen to be the team that managed to somehow steal the final Northeast Division title in NHL history. Trips up to Centre Bell usually provide no shortage of entertainment, and it's always a treat to watch these two teams go at it on a wintry Saturday night. So of course, in their infinite wisdom, the NHL decided to schedule two midweek visits: December 5th (Wednesday) and March 12th (Thursday). Nice work, everyone.
- Ottawa: Let's be honest, a Bruins / Senators rivalry runs about as deep as a birdbath, and the amount of memorable games between these two teams at
The Palladium Corel Centre Scotiabank PlaceCanadian Tire Centre equals the number of Stanley Cups won in the modern era of professional hockey in Ottawa. But a healthy Senators team might actually be pretty good this year, and with the new conference format, something resembling a rivalry could very well bubble up here. The Bruins will play in Kanata's newest home for hockey, automotive parts and sporting goods on November 15th & December 28th (a Hockey Night in Canada telecast), where it's always nice to remind the home crowd of the Z that got away.
- Winnipeg: The Bruins head to the home of Jonathan Toews just once this season, where they will no longer have to worry about any potential alarm clock snafus and can concentrate on keeping a former teammate in check. In case you hadn't noticed, Blake Wheeler has been all kinds of all right for the Jets over the past couple years, scoring 7 points in 8 games vs Boston in 7 GP since the trade. Winnipeg fans can expect a visit from the Bruins on April 10th.
- Calgary: Weeeeee, it's the Jarome Iginla homecoming. You know, the guy that the Bruins THOUGHT they had acquired before the trade deadline, only to find out later that he was being sent to Pittsburgh instead. And also the guy who decided to sign with the Bruins this summer after they swept the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final. Oh, AND the Flames former captain and franchise leader in just about everything. Yeeeeeah, that Jarome Iginla. So hey, the Bruins visit to Calgary on December 10th should be no big deal.
- Edmonton: Instead of a head to head to help settle that old Tyler / Taylor debate, this game will mark a reunion between the Bruins and Andrew Ference. While it should be a huggy and emotional affair before and after, the actual game (to be played on December 12th) should provide an up and coming team like the Oilers with a measuring stick in terms of how far away they are from being a successful franchise again.
- Vancouver: The Bruins roll into Vancouver for the first time since June 15th, 2011, where lots of stuff happened, both inside and outside of the arena. While "the rematch" in Boston during the following season was another spirited affair, it's safe to say that these two teams have taken different paths over the past couple years, and it remains to be seen if there still any bad blood here. But let's be honest, with Brad Marchand and Roberto Luongo both still in the mix, anything can happen. So break out your 2011 Stanley Cup gear and enjoy the Bruins visit to Rogers Arena on December 14th, which will be the late game on Hockey Night.
So there you go. The Bruins will play in Canada no fewer than 10 times this year, with no shortage of storylines to follow.
And because there's just a slap shot away from the border, let's toss in the games in Detroit and Buffalo, shall we?
- Detroit: Expect everyone to buy into the
overblowntimeless "Original 6" narrative here, with the exiled Red Wings finally coming East to shift the balance of power in the NHL. Whatever. Despite what Daniel Alfredsson might think (and even after almost knocking off the Hawks in the playoffs), Detroit will be hard pressed to just walk in and start dominating the Flortheast, let alone compete the for Cup from this side of the standings. The Bruins will head to Joe Louis on November 27th & April 2nd to give Alfie a first hand look at the team he should have signed with if he was really interested in competing for the Cup.
- Buffalo: Oh Buffalo, what is there to be said? After trying to get all big and bad post-Lucic on Miller, the Sabres might very well find themselves putting the (l)ast in Flortheast this season. The Bruins have the great privilege of traveling to Buffalo on the different occasions, and will be at the First Niagara Center on October 23rd, December 19th & February 26th. This trio of games will provide Bruins fans in Southern Ontario with the opportunity to see the team up close, and (more than likely) pick up 6 points in the process.
One final note: the Bruins will also be hosting 2 Hockey Night in Canada games - November 9th vs Toronto, and a February 8th matinee against the Senators.
Start saving your loonies now, people!