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Quick Thoughts on Capitals’ 2013-2014 Schedule

The National Hockey League released the 2013-2014 schedule moments ago.  You can take a look at the Capitals’ schedule here.   Some quick thoughts on the upcoming road:

Two Banner Games?
The Washington Capitals will open the season playing in Chicago watching the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 5th Stanley Cup Champion banner on October 1.  Two nights later, they could raise the last Southeast Division Champion banner ever as they host the Calgary Flames.  The Capitals’ first three opponents are “Western” teams.

Rangers Return
The New York Rangers, who ousted the Capitals in 7 games this past spring, will make their return to the Verizon Center on Wednesday, October 16.  Aside from it being the first time the Rangers will be in DC since Game 7, it will also mark the first time the Capitals will play the Rangers as a division foe since April 14, 1998.  The Capitals won that game 3-1 behind goals from Peter Bondra, Joe Juneau, and Andrei Nikolishin.  

Super Bowl Game
One of my favorite annual traditions over the past few years has been watching the Washington Capitals play the Pittsburgh Penguins the day of the Super Bowl.  This year, that tradition will have to end as the Capitals will host the Detroit Red Wings on Super Bowl Sunday. 

Varly Returns
The first major reunion of the season comes early when the Colorado Avalanche come to Verizon on October 12.  This could mark the first appearance of Semyon Varlamov in Verizon Center since he came on in relief of Michal Neuvirth against the Bruins on October 19, 2011.  The Caps will visit him in Colorado in November.

Gabby Returns
Monday, December 23 will be a rough day for a lot of Caps fans.  For the first time since he was fired, Bruce Boudreau will make his return to Verizon Center as the head coach of the Anaheim Ducks.  While many Caps fans have moved on and accepted Adam Oates as a great coach for this organization, Gabby still holds a place near and dear to our hears.  The Capitals will see him again in March on a West-cost swing.

Hendricks Returns
Speaking of near and dear to our hearts, the Capitals will host the Nashville Predator on December 3.  This will signal the return of Matt Hendricks to Verizon Center.  Arguably the favorite player of Caps fans over the past few years, Hendricks signed a 4-year deal with Nashville this summer.  I firmly expect a roaring applause from the home crowd when he takes the ice.  Oh, and there’s that Filip Forsberg kid.  He kind of has some ties here.  The Capitals will see them both again on March 30 in Nashville.

Ribeiro Returns
Since we’re on the subject on returns, I’d be remiss not to mention Mike Ribeiro.  The Caps will see him November 9 in Phoenix and he will make his return to the Verizon Center March 8.  Given the way things transpired, I wouldn’t expect a warm return for Ribeiro.  It won’t be Alex Semin-bad, but the boo birds will still be present.

Road Trips
Twice this season the Capitals will set off on a 5-game road trip.  The worst of the two comes at the end of October with games in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Vancouver, and Philadelphia.   Over the past few seasons, these Western road trips have been rough on the Capitals, so it is nice to get that out of the way early.  The latter of the trips comes in January with games in New Jersey, Montreal, Buffalo, Columbus, and Detroit.  That road trip starts with back-to-backs in New Jersey and Montreal.

Home Stands
5 games also counts the longest homestand for the Caps.  This comes early in the season as they host Carolina, Colorado, Edmonton, New York Rangers, and Columbus in October.  After the Olympic break, the Capitals will only play 10 of their 24 remaining games at home.

Of the 82 games on the season schedule, 34 of them will be played as part of a back-to-back (17 sets of back-to-backs).  November, January, and March all come with 4 sets of back-to-backs.  What is a little rough is that the Capitals do not have back-to-back games at home, meaning they will have to travel between the two games.

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About F Street Faithful

Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate.  This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals.  The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.

In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at  York College of Pennsylvania.  I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland. 

You can follow me on twitter @FStreetTate but I must warn that I do tweet about more than hockey. You can also e-mail me at any time at overtheboard@gmail.com.