It’s finally here, the moment we’ve all been waiting for! OnTuesday the Chicago Blackhawks released their 2019-20 regular season schedule along with the rest of the league. It’s always fun to go through it for the first time and imagine how the season will unfold. When do the Hawks play the Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues? Does the team have a lot of back-to-backs? When does Joel Quenneville come back to the United Center? You get the idea.
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Never fear, because I’ve gone the schedule with a fine-toothed comb and I’ve got lots of juicy details and fun facts for you, as well as some must-see games. Let’s get to it!
Monthly Schedule Breakdown
October: 11 games, 8 home, 3 away, 1 back-to-back
November: 15 games, 7 home, 8 away, 4 back-to-backs
December: 15 games, 6 home, 9 away, 3 back-to-backs
January: 10 games, 6 home, 4 away, 2 back-to-backs
February: 14 games, 3 home, 11 away, 3 back-to-backs
March: 15 games, 11 home, 4 away, 3 back-to-backs
April: 2 away games
November will be the toughest month for the Blackhawks. They have 15 games on the docket and eight of them are away. Not to mention, they have four back-to-back matchups. The Hawks don’t host a single Saturday contest, yet they’ll suit up for all five Saturdays in the month.
While November might be the hardest from a physical standpoint, February could be the trickiest mentally. It would behoove the Hawks to keep their noses to the grindstone this month as they suit up for 14 games, 11 of which are on the road. They also have three back-to-backs in this time. February could be brutal or it could be a defining part of a successful season.
December doesn’t look pretty either.
The Hawks should take advantage of the schedule in October and March. After their first game of the season in Prague, the Hawks have a seven-game home stand. As a matter of fact, 8 of their 11 matchups in October will be at the United Center. It goes without saying, the Blackhawks could get off to a really nice start with some early home wins. They also have 11 home games in March. Will they be in a position to take advantage of this for a playoff berth?
Blackhawks’ Homestands and Road Trips
The Hawks host five of six games in a row at the end of November, and have a four-game homestand in mid-January. Their second longest stretch is five sequential games at the end of March.
However, they do have a substantial amount of extended road trips. Their first is when the Hawks are out of town for four games at the end of October and the beginning of November. Then they head to Canada for a five-game trek in mid-February, and another four-game road trip at the end of the month – did I mention February is going to be rough?
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While every game is important, how the Hawks handle these home and away stands will be of consequence.
Central Division Matchups
Hawks & Colorado Avalanche (4X): Nov. 29, Nov. 30, Dec. 18, Dec. 21
Hawks & Dallas Stars (4X): Nov. 23, Nov. 26, Feb. 23, Mar. 27
Hawks & Minnesota Wild (4X): Dec. 15, Feb. 4, Mar. 17, Mar. 19
Hawks & St. Louis Blues (4X): Dec. 2, Dec. 14, Feb. 25, Mar. 8
Hawks & Nashville Predators (5X), Oct.29, Nov. 16, Jan. 9, Feb. 21, Mar. 22
Hawks & Winnipeg Jets (5X): Oct. 12, Dec. 19, Jan. 19, Feb. 9, Feb. 16
Division games are always significant as these are the teams the Hawks are directly competing with to get into the playoffs. A win could mean a four-point swing in the right direction and a loss means the same swing the other way.
It looks like the Hawks need to learn how to play a physical game in order to compete for 10 wins against the Preds and the Jets, both very strong, heavy teams. These two hard-hitting clubs aren’t the best squads to draw five games apiece against.
Also important, is the Hawks meet the Stars for consecutive games at the end of November, and then the Avlanche for back-to-back games right after. It’s kind of reminiscent of the end of last season when the Hawks blew their playoff chances and fell behind these same two teams. Can they change their fate this time?
Finally, the Hawks play the all their division rivals in late December with games against the Blues, the Wild, the Avs, the Jets, and the Avs again. Nice pre-Christmas TV viewing, eh?
Other Important Games for the Blackhawks
Besides all the divisional matchups, here are a few other contests to note on the Blackhawks’ schedule.
- The Hawks play their first game of the season on Oct. 4 as part of the 2019 NHL Global Series, which takes place in Prague against the Philadelphia Flyers.
- For the Hawks’ home opener on Oct. 10, the San Jose Sharks come to town.
- The Arizona Coyotes are another team the Blackhawks fought tooth and nail with in the Western Conference playoff race last season. The two teams will meet on Dec. 8, Dec. 12, and Feb. 1. Ex-Blackhawk Nick Schmaltz is always motivated for these games. It’s also a chance for Blackhawks fan to see their old favorite defenseman, Niklas Hjalmarsson. Blackhawks Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini will likely be excited to face their former club.
- Circle this one twice! Former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville comes to town with his new club, the Florida Panthers, on Jan. 21. This also happens to be the last game before the Hawks’ winter break. Hopefully, that will provide some motivation for the Blackhawks, who are notorious for starting their vacations early with losses before the breaks.
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- The Hawks subsequently play Coach Q on his turf Feb. 29, at the end of a four-game road trip. That will be a tough one.
More Scheduling Tidbits
- Here is the Blackhawks’ preseason schedule. In seven preseason games, they will take on the Washington Capitals, the Flyers, the Boston Bruins, and a professional hockey team that plays for the German League.
- The team will wrap up their exhibition schedule on Sept. 29 when they take on Eisbaren Berlin, a professional hockey team that plays in the German League, in the German capital.
- The last week of January marks Hawks’ bye week.
- The Blackhawks will compete in 16 back-to-back matchups this season, compared to 14 last season.
- It’s a bit anticlimactic that the end of the Blackhawks’ season is against Eastern Conference foes, the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers. But it is what it is. Hopefully the Blackhawks will have a playoff spot secured by then.
Now that the schedule is out, the season seems close. It will be here before you know it. What do you think Blackhawks fans; do you like the schedule for the upcoming season?
Is it October yet?!
Gail Kauchak has covered the Chicago Blackhawks as a content writer since 2014. She previously wrote for Fansided’s Blackhawk Up, and has been part of The Hockey Writer’s team since 2017. It’s not always easy to balance life’s responsibility’s with one’s passion, but Gail’s doing her best to make it happen. Let’s put it this way; she’s probably reading and writing about hockey instead of cooking and cleaning. Shh, don’t tell her husband!
Follow Gail for her unique commentary about this storied franchise. And be sure to catch her and the rest of the Blackhawks’ crew on their weekly Blackhawks Banter show, as well as follow her on Twitter.