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Monday, June 23, 2014

2014-15 Bruins Regular Season Schedule Released

Does the NHL ever think before they do stupid things like unveil the schedule on a Sunday afternoon (the day after summer started), mere hours before the U.S. men's soccer team faced Portugal in a pivotal World Cup match? Both the NFL and to a lesser extent NBA have made this occasion special by devoting a specific night to this event and then hyping it up. I don't expect the NHL to have the marketing ability or brain power of those leagues but come on. End of rant.

It might seem like hockey season just wrapped up and in fact, it basically did since the Kings beat the Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals less than two weeks ago. Sure the Bruins have been done for over a month (ugh) but things perk up this week with the NHL Awards on Tuesday (where the B's are expected to clean up) and the NHL Draft taking place on Friday and Saturday in Philadelphia. That all serves as a prelude to July 1 which is the start of free agency; if last year is any indication, that is probably the most exciting non-game day of the NHL calendar year.

The preseason is exactly three months away while Boston's regular season starts on October 8 at TD Garden vs. Philadelphia: that is one of four games around the NHL on Opening Night. The B's first road game is the next night in Detroit-the team that they eliminated in five games in the first round of the playoffs this past spring. Following Montreal's seven-game victory in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Bruins-Canadiens round one is on October 16 at the Bell Centre. The problem for Bruins fans is that the Patriots play the Jets that night as well on Thursday Night Football. I guess we'll worry about that viewing conflict as it gets closer.

November starts with four games in a row at the Garden (tied for their longest homestand of the season): Ottawa, Florida, Edmonton and New Jersey, blah! The Bruins make another trip to Montreal on November 13 before the Habs finally come to town on November 22. Pittsburgh follows that with a trip to the Garden on November 24. A slight change to the normal pattern: instead of playing on Black Friday afternoon, the B's host the Jets that night. I wonder if that means the Celtics will take the earlier timeslot or they are simply away?

December begins with a brutal four-game road trip: at Anaheim, LA, San Jose and finally Phoenix. The first Bruins-Blackhawks matchup (which are always must-see) is December 11 at TD Garden, sure to be one of the toughest/most expensive tickets to get this season. Boston meets Toronto on New Year's Eve night at the Garden.

There are a few interesting games in January as the Rangers come here on January 15. Boston goes to Dallas on January 20 to see Tyler Seguin and hopefully a healthy Rich Peverley. The Kings close out the month at the Garden on January 31.

For all the Seguinistas, your guy will be back in his old stomping grounds on February 10. Boston follows that with a trip to Vancouver on February 13, the Canucks' new GM is Jim Benning (who came over from the B's). That kicks off their longest road trip of the season: five games. Boston is in Chicago on February 22 for a Sunday afternoon game sure to be picked up by NBC.

As it always seems, March is a beast with 15 games in the month including four of the 16 back-to-backs from the campaign. It was smart having the Sabres meet the Bruins on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) at the Garden since only people that are blacked out would want to be at that game. The Ducks are in Boston on March 26 with the Rangers taking on their Original Six rivals two days later.

Four of Boston's five regular season games in April are on the road plus they end with three in a row away from home: at Washington, at Florida and at Tampa Bay (April 11).

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