By Will Martin
Timing is everything when it comes to sports. Note how the NFL conveniently gets you all riled up for the pigskin with a schedule release in early April and the subsequent draft two weeks later in prime time. Hook, line, and sinker. Happens every year and every time.
Maybe it’s different for hockey. I mean here in North Texas the mercury reads triple digits in July so it’s somehow appropriate that we get a release of the NHL schedule-a full schedule I might add-for the upcoming season 2013-2014.
Without question the tandem of Gagliardi, Ruff, and Nill have stayed active in the offseason with a new look, a new team, and some really new faces. Reasons to be excited if you are a fan of hockey or the Dallas Stars in this case.
Let’s begin with the announcement that the Stars will start their training camp in Ft. Worth beginning September 11-14th. Fans of the Stars can go watch practices for free. A three week period of getting ready before the season starts for real on October 3rd here in Dallas.
2013 will also mark a new form of scheduling due to realignment as voted on by the owners last year. With that said, I have always been proponent of spreading out matchups with a common rival or a team you face numerous times in your division/conference.
The Stars schedule breaks down in the following format:
vs. Division Opponents (29 Games)
Five games vs. five teams (3 home/2 away vs. three teams; 2 home/3 away vs. two teams).
Four games vs. one team (2 home/2 away) with teams rotated on a yearly basis.
The Stars will play their other non-division Western Conference opponents 21 times (Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver), facing off against each club three times (2 home/1 away vs. three teams; 1 home/2 away vs. four teams).
Also new for 2013-14, the Stars will now faceoff against Eastern Conference teams two times each season (1 home/1 away), ensuring that every team will play in every building at least once this season.
Home Games by Day: Mon. – 4, Tues. – 7, Wed. – 0, Thurs. – 11, Fri. – 6, Sat. – 10, Sun – 3
Road Games by Day: Mon. – 5, Tues. – 10, Wed. – 2, Thurs. – 7, Fri. – 2, Sat. – 9, Sun – 6
Home Games by Month: Oct. – 5, Nov. – 5, Dec. – 8, Jan. – 10, Feb. – 2, Mar. – 9, Apr. – 2
Road Games by Month: Oct. – 7, Nov. – 7, Dec. – 7, Jan. – 5, Feb. – 3, Mar. – 7, Apr. – 5
vs. Western Conference Opponents (non-division, 21 Games)
In total, Dallas plays 50 games against their Western Conference foes.
vs. Eastern Conference Opponents (32 Games)
In total, Dallas plays 32 games against their Eastern Conference opponents.
The home portion of the schedule features 19 weekend contests (6 Friday, 10 Saturday, 3 Sunday).
The Stars longest homestand of the season is five games, which happens on two separate occasions. The first is from from Dec. 27 to Jan. 4 against Nashville (27th), St. Louis (29th), Los Angeles (31st), Montreal (2nd) and Detroit (4th); the second five-game homestand is from Jan. 21-30 against Minnesota (21st), Toronto (23rd), Pittsburgh (25th), Colorado (27th) and New Jersey (30th).
Dallas’ longest road trip of the season spans five games, from March 29 to April 6 versus St. Louis (29th), Washington (1st), Carolina (3rd), Tampa Bay (5th) and Florida (6th).
Dallas concludes the home portion of their schedule on Friday, April 11 against St. Louis. The club ends the regular season on Sunday, April 13 against the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona.
Fans of the Blackhawks will not like the notion of three visits within a six week period before Christmas. January will bring visits from the Bruins and Penguins.
New Year’s Eve at home has been a tradition since long before I came to Texas. This year will be no different when the Los Angeles Kings come to close out 2013 at the American Airlines Center. That’s always a fun time win or lose as we look back on the year that was and welcoming a new year.
For an actual read of the complete schedule here you go! October 3rd will be here soon enough. Man, I can’t wait!
If you want to get your hockey fix with some exhibition hockey you’ll get to do that on September 15th 6pm with the St. Louis Blues, again on September 18th at 7:30 pm with the Florida Panthers, and September 26th with the Colorado Avalanche 7:30pm.