Boston Bruins

May 8, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak (88) and defenseman Connor Clifton (75) celebrate a goal by center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

  • One thing that’s always amazed me about the National Hockey League? The fact that they only know how to do everything at once.

    The latest example, of course, being with the league dropping the 2022-23 schedule in between the madness that is pre-draft rumors and the 2022 NHL Draft itself. This year’s draft represents a true return to normalcy with in-person festivities held at Montreal’s Bell Centre, making it the first in-person draft since 2019. (Yes, you did lose that much of your life, so have fun sleeping tonight with that on your mind.)

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    So what the hell, why not throw a schedule drop in there while you’re at it?

    And here are five things that stuck out about the B’s 82-game slate

  • An early-season hell run

    Mar 24, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA;  Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) controls the puck while Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton (75) defends during the second period at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 24, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) controls the puck while Boston Bruins defenseman Connor Clifton (75) defends during the second period at TD Garden. (Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports)

    You know, it’s bad enough that the Bruins are likely looking at an opening two months of the 2022-23 season without both Brad Marchand (hips) and Charlie McAvoy (shoulder) available. But then the NHL went full-blown crazy and decided to up the ante against the Bruins with a straight-up grinder of a nine-game stretch from mid-November into early-December.

    It begins Nov. 21 on the road in Tampa, then shifts to Sunrise for a meeting with the Panthers two nights later, and then shifts to Boston for a Black Friday matinee against the Hurricanes on Nov. 25. The Bruins then continue that homestand with showdowns against the Lighting, Avalanche, and Golden Knights before embarking on a road swing with meetings against the Avalanche, Coyotes, and Golden Knights. Of that nine-game slate, the Coyotes stand out as the lone “gimme.”

    A simpler way to put it: That nine-game run will feature four total games against the two teams who competed in the 2022 Stanley Cup Final, a showdown with the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners, the team that eliminated you in the 2022 playoffs, and a team now coached by your ex-coach who is ready to embark on a revenge tour.

    If the Bruins have a crap start — or are having trouble keeping their heads above water without two of their most important players available, which isn’t a slight against them — that nine-game run could be a make-or-break kind of run. At least if we go off the ol’ ‘where you are on American Thanksgiving says a lot about your playoff chances’ philosophy.

  • The Bruce Cassidy revenge games

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 16: Bruce Cassidy speaks as he is introduced as the new head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights during a news conference at City National Arena on June 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – JUNE 16: Bruce Cassidy speaks as he is introduced as the new head coach of the Vegas Golden Knights during a news conference at City National Arena on June 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    As noted, ex-B’s coach Bruce Cassidy is coaching with a bit of a chip on his shoulder this season.

    “I do, I do,” Cassidy said when asked if he has something to prove with his new gig. “I got let go. So, this is not some sort of revenge tour or anything like that. It’s just that I want to prove to myself, more importantly, that I’m capable of doing the job and winning [and] winning in the postseason. So yeah, there’s a little bit of that.

    “It’s not going to consume me every day by any means. I think when you come close to winning the Cup, it’s always in the back of your mind that you want to finish the job, and I definitely have that mindset.”

    The first up-close look at Cassidy’s Golden Knights will come with a Dec. 5 head-to-head at TD Garden, and wrap less than a week later with a Dec. 11 meeting at T-Mobile Arena. Should be a fun little week. I do wonder if Cassidy gets a video tribute or acknowledgement of some sort. It seems like things ended a bit sour, so it’s worth wondering if the sides pass on that.

  • North Station to Kenmore

    BOSTON - JANUARY 01:  The Philadelphia Flyers face off against the Boston Bruins during the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    BOSTON – JANUARY 01: The Philadelphia Flyers face off against the Boston Bruins during the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic at Fenway Park on January 1, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Elsa/Getty Images)

    The Bruins are once again going outside, as the team will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2023 Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Once a New Year’s Day event, this year’s game will be held on Monday, Jan. 2 at 2 p.m.

    This will the Black and Gold’s fourth involvement in the Winter Classic, having won the game in 2010 at Fenway and 2019 at Notre Dame Stadium and losing in 2016 at Gillette Stadium.

    My advice to anybody looking to attend this game: Sit as high as you can. Otherwise you’re going to be staring at hips-and-up for the entire game, and you will have a downright terrible viewing experience and for a lot of money.

  • Some road games of note

    Feb 24, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) blocks a goal shot attempt by Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports

    Feb 24, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) blocks a goal shot attempt by Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) during the second period at Climate Pledge Arena. (Steven Bisig/USA TODAY Sports)

    Some good road dates of note?

    Oct. 12 at Washington: In addition to this being the season opener, I find D.C. to be a solid trip. The museums are free, the trek down there is easy enough, and Capital One Arena is extremely convenient.

    Dec. 9 at Arizona: The Coyotes, a team with nine lives (sorry, Atlanta Thrashers), are playing in a 5,000-seat arena at Arizona State University. This should be a borderline surreal atmosphere and I honestly think you’d be crazy not to check this one out. Also: You could make a nice long weekend out of it, as the Patriots are visiting the Cardinals just three days later in a Monday Night Football clash.

    Jan. 24 at Montreal: Firmly believe every hockey diehard must see one game in Montreal. An experience. 

    Feb. 16 at Nashville: A Thursday night game in Nashville. Oh, and Bridgestone Arena is right on Broadway so you’re smack dab in the thick of it and there’s live music everywhere you go. Make a weekend out of it. You will love it and make it a yearly tradition. 

    Feb. 23 at Seattle: In case you missed it last year, the B’s will be back in Seattle in 2023. 

  • Another sprint to the finish line

    May 2, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) watches game action against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in game one of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

    May 2, 2022; Raleigh, North Carolina, USA; Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy (73) watches game action against the Carolina Hurricanes during the third period in Game 1 of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs. (James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports)

    It will be yet another mad dash to the finish line for the Boston Bruins, as they will play 22 games in the final 43 days of the regular season. That, of course, comes with a heavy March slate (as always), with the Bruins set to play 15 games in 30 days beginning Mar. 2, and with three back-to-back sets that month.