Today, the Wild, along with the rest of the NHL, announced their schedule for the 2012-13 regular season. The Wild are slated to open up their season at home against Colorado on Saturday, October 13th at 7 PM.
There are some ups and downs to this schedule. First, Nate from First Round Bust (Give his post on the Wild Schedule a read too!) pointed out to me that there are no 9:30 division road games this year. So when the Wild travel to Vancouver they will be starting no later than 9:00. Its not that big of a difference, but its an extra half hour so everyone wins.
Another positive to this year's schedule is that the Eastern Canadian teams (Maple Leafs, Canadiens, and Senators) all make appearances to Xcel Energy Center. The Leafs and Canadiens aren't exactly the gold standard of the NHL right now, but they have rarely visited St. Paul, so it is nice to see them come here.
But, the schedule does have some downfalls. The biggest being that Winnipeg (The Wild's new found rival) does not make a visit to St. Paul this year. The Wild do travel up to Manitoba on January 2nd, but the schedule was not so kind in sending the Jets back to Minnesota.
That is just about as big as a fail as you will ever see. I had the pleasure of being at the Wild-Jets game at the 'X' back in February. The building was packed, there were close to 3-4,000 Jets fans in the building, and the atmosphere was second to none for a regular season game that was almost meaningless. Hopefully, this issue will be fixed for future years (Or actually, the divisions realign like we all wanted and we play the Jets 6 times a year!!!).
You could make the same argument for East Coast teams like New York Rangers, Boston, and New Jersey not coming to St. Paul this year. It really does become kind of a drag to see the same useless West teams (Edmonton, Columbus) over and over again, and the better teams in the league we don't get to see.
Lastly, should the Wild be in contention late in the year, the schedule is definitely not in their favor. In April, the team plays their first 5 games in the month on the road against teams that are more than likely to contend (Chicago, San Jose, Colorado, Phoenix, Detroit) before playing the final two games at home. It will be rough, but lets hope the team is still in contention at that point (knock on wood!).
P.S. For those looking for a road trip opportunity this year (Much like I am), some good options would be Boston/New York Rangers November 8-10 or LA/Anaheim on December 8-9. Or one oculd simply just drive 7 hours north and see the Wild play the Jets!