NHL Releases 2016-17 Schedule; Devils Must See Games
There are three things I love in this world. Money, chicks and the NHL Schedule release each summer. For Devil fans, its nice to have some positive late spring/summer hockey news especially since a playoff appearance has been lacking in the Garden State since 2012.
Marty's brick wall days have been gone for some time now and the Devs will be in the 2nd year of the Shero rebuild. Following a successful season in many fan's minds, the Devils and Shero will be looking to build upon an 84 point season and squeeze into the playoffs in the East.
The schedule for the 3 time Cup champs is very different compared to the past few years. For the past 3 seasons, the Devils have been top 5 in the NHL in amount of back to backs played. Once again, Jersey will be among near the top of the NHL with back to backs played. The Devils will play an astonishing 11 sets of back to back games (22 games). However, new this year, each NHL team will have a "bye week" of 5 days off somewhere between Jan 1 and Feb 28. The Devils bye week is the first full week of February 7-11. Fans better head down to AC get make some quick cash on the Roulette table when the Devs return from their road trips in January. The Devils will only have 2, yes, TWO, road games the entire month of February with 9 home games during the month. Save up.
Here are some must see games from a Devil fan prospective.
Oct 18 v Anaheim- New season, new players, new everything. Devs open up against a tough Ducks squad that will be making their East roady very early in the season. Will Rick Nash be in a Ducks uni? Will Elias be Czech mates with Zacha for his final season? Time will tell.
Oct 22 v Minnesota- My personal favorite. Zach's return. For only the third time in 5 seasons, Parise will return to the arena where he Captained Jersey's Team to the Cup Final in 2012. Que the boo birds.
Oct 28 v Chicago- Always fun when the Hawks and Kaner's flow come to Jersey. Devils took both matchups with the Hawks last season and have not lost to the Hawks in nearly two season. First of two matchups with the second matchup in Chi-Town on December 1. Nothing like a deep dish and some puck.
Nov 26 @ Pittsburgh- First time the dudes from Newark take on the Cup champs. @Andy Greene. Don't hit #87 in black and gold. Can't hit girls. Sorry.
Dec 11 @ Rangers- Arguably the best rivalry in hockey. Hate everything about that dump. Fans, the team, the arena. Devs will make two trips to Midtown in a week with another game against the Blueshirts on Dec 18.
Feb 25 v Rangers- The Queen and his ringless fingers make their first trip across the GW and down 95 to Jersey. Oh, also a few days before the trade deadline. Buyers or Sellers?
April 9 @ Detroit- Perhaps could be the Wings last game at the Joe if they don't keep their playoff streak alive. Should be an emotional day in Detroit. Regular season finale.
Look for the Devils to be competitive again this year. Metro is still the best division in hockey. Still on the whole "defense wins championships" boat. Defense is solid, lock Kyle up to a 5/6 year contract and get some center help. Cory and his fire crotch will look to build upon a very successful season in which he was top 5 in the NHL in GAA.
Shero will bring in some minor pieces to help the goal-scoring woes but Hynes is fresh off his first NHL season and helping USA in the World Championships. Dude knows how to coach.