CHICAGO — It’s one of the breaks that schedule makers give a team that heads overseas to begin their National Hockey League season.
Since the Chicago Blackhawks went to Berlin last week for an exhibition game, and then Prague for the season opener, the league gave the team six days off between games. Along with that, the team has a long stretch of home contests to start the season.
It’s an unusual beginning to the 2019-2020 campaign for Jeremy Colliton’s squad, and the first quirk of the schedule might not have been the best for the Blackhawks.
On Friday, the team dropped their season opener at O2 Arena in Prague to the Flyers 4-3, giving the team quite a bit of time to think about that defeat. They’ll open the season at home on Thursday night against the Sharks, finally getting a shot to get the bad feeling of the opener out of their system.
“It’s always frustrating when you have, like, a week off in between games,” said Patrick Kane, who had the third and final goal for the Blackhawks in the season opener against Philadelphia. “It is what it is. We can use it the right way. We can look at last game, look at the things we did well and try to implement that in the rest of the season.”
In the meantime, they’ll have the chance to improve during a rare long stretch of games at home. Starting with Thursday’s game against San Jose, the Blackhawks are at home for the next seven games.
Five of their seven opponents were playoff teams from last season, including three to start the long homestand:
Thursday, Oct. 10 – vs Sharks
Saturday, Oct. 12 – vs Jets
Monday, Oct. 14 – vs Oilers
Friday, Oct. 18 – vs Blue Jackets
Sunday, Oct. 20 – vs Capitals
Tuesday, Oct. 22 – vs Golden Knights
Thursday, Oct. 24 – vs Flyers
Colliton won’t take his team on the road until Oct. 26 when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes. Last year, the Blackhawks never had a stretch of more than four-straight home games.
It’s certainly was a rare event for the Blackhawks to open a season overseas, but their return home has brought something new as well.