Earlier this morning, the Sharks released their schedule for a 2012-13 season that, pending CBA negotiations, may only be played in part or not at all. At any rate, the Sharks will begin their 7th-place-in-the-Western-Conference defense on Friday, October 12th at the Honda Center which, by then, will hopefully no longer be where Bobby Ryan plies his trade. The team's home opener will be three nights later when San Jose hosts the New York Rangers for the first time since the 2010-11 season. The Sharks will end the season on Saturday, April 13th in Phoenix with Fan Appreciation Night taking place nearly a week earlier against the Dallas Stars.
The Sharks won't have quite as comically packed a month of March as they did last season when they played 17 games that month while hobbling into the playoffs. Of course they'll still play 15 in what remains the busiest month of their schedule. Also cut by two games will be the team's annual SAP Open-incited exodus, with that shortened to just a 7-game road trip in February. Other important dates include November 1st when the Sharks host the St. Louis Blues for the first time since April's playoff series, November 23rd when the Sharks travel to Los Angeles to face the defending champs and April 1st, a late season game against the Canucks because fuck those guys. Also, the three Eastern Conference clubs San Jose is scheduled to play a home-and-away with are New Jersey, Philadelphia and Buffalo. At a glance, the most challenging stretch of the schedule is a six-game road trip beginning on November 27th that features stops in Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Buffalo and Philadelphia. Call it the NBC Road Trip--apart from the Sabres, those are some excellent (and exclusively televised nationally) teams.
Noteworthy events in the league-wide schedule include October 12th, when the Los Angeles Kings will raise their Stanley Cup banner to the rafters of Staples Center before hosting the New York Rangers in the matchup NBC executives still cry themselves to sleep over not getting for the Final, the Rangers will face the Bruins in the league's second-annual Thanksgiving game because it's not like we see either of those teams enough and, to everyone's surprise, the Coyotes will apparently be playing half their schedule in Phoenix rather than Seattle, Quebec City or Wichita, Kansas.