When the next NHL season begins, the Colorado Avalanche won't have to wait long to get a shot at the team that ended their last campaign. Actually, once the season is underway, Colorado won't have to wait at all, as they will open the season with a two game home and home series against the Minnesota Wild. The rest of the regular season schedule is expected to be announced very soon.
Meanwhile, the entire preseason schedule has already been announced, and starting on September 22, the Avalanche will play back to back games against four different opponents for a total of eight games. Those opponents in order are the Anaheim Ducks, Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames and Los Angeles Kings. It has recently become typical for the Ducks and Kings to be preseason opponents for the Avalanche, and teams of their caliber make for good practice before the games start to count.
As for the regular season, the fact that the Avalanche and Wild will begin by playing each other twice has to be a direct result of the rivalry between the two teams reaching an all time high during the opening round of the recently concluded playoffs. Ending with a bang is one thing, but the intent here is clearly to start with one. Excluding preseason games and considering only meaningful contests, this will mean that the Avalanche and Wild will have played against each other for nine games in a row, including the 2014 playoffs and the start of next season. Prepare to hear the expression "bad blood" a lot in the build up and aftermath of the first two games this October.
It is sometimes said that schedule makers like to arrange the schedules in a way that helps to cultivate rivalries; it seems fairly obvious that there is some of that going on with the way next season will begin.
UPDATE: The entire 2014-2015 regular season schedule has now been announced. Colorado will play each Central Division opponent five times, each Pacific Division opponent three times except for the San Jose Sharks whom the Avalanche will play twice, and the annual 32 cross-conference games.Tags: Colorado, Colorado Avalanche, Hockey, NHL