The 2011-12 season is a little more real today with the Red Wings releasing their 2011-12 schedule.
One of the best things for our fans is 24 of 41 regular season home games on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. If that wasn’t good enough, six Thursday games have been dubbed “Bobblehead Thursdays” starting with Pavel Datsyuk on October 13th against Vancouver, and concluding with Nick Lidstrom on April 5th against New Jersey.
Other schedule highlights include:
October 7th vs Ottawa
Opening night at JLA is always special, but the 2011 edition will feature Paul MacLean’s return to Hockeytown as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators. Will Ottawa’s game plan focus around Johan Franzen? Mule scored five goals the last time these two clubs met.
October 13th vs Vancouver
The Wings get their first look at Livonia’s own Ryan Kesler and the Western Conference champion Canucks. Detroit and Vancouver also face-off at the Joe on February 23rd.
November 25th at Boston
Got leftovers? The Red Wings face the defending Stanley Cup champions in a Black Friday afternoon matinee. Detroit swept Boston in a pair of meetings last season.
November 30th vs Tampa Bay
Steve Yzerman returns to the Joe as an opponent for the first time. Just one game away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season, Tampa Bay probably won’t be able to sneak up on teams in 2011-12. That Steven Stamkos guy is worth the price of admission, not to mention your cover athlete on NHL 2012.
December 10th vs Winnipeg
The Wings don’t travel to Manitoba this season, but they’ll host the soon to be renamed Atlanta Thrashers on December 10th.
December 13th at Pittsburgh
Let’s hope that Sidney Crosby is back for this one. The Wings and Penguins met twice in 2010-11, but #87 didn’t suit up for either game.
January 7th at Toronto and January 25th at Montreal
There’s always something special about the Original Six clubs going toe-to-toe and this is no exception. The Maple Leafs showed glimpses of a bright future with a late season playoff run, while Montreal nearly knocked off the Stanley Cup champion Bruins in the first round.
January 16th vs Buffalo
Will we see Ryan Miller vs. Drew Miller? We don’t know if Drew will be back, but if it happens, you can bet that there will be a lot of Spartans making the trip from East Lansing.
February 19th vs San Jose
This game is scheduled to start at 12:30 on the East Coast, 9:30 a.m. on the West Coast. Just thought that was worth noting as these two clubs renew a budding rivalry.
March 19th vs Washington
Pavel Datsyuk vs. Alex Ovechkin. Get your popcorn ready.
You can view the entire schedule here.
What game are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments!