The Stanley Cup Final is over. The NHL Draft is in the books. Free agency still looms, but Chicago can officially start looking ahead to next season.
The Blackhawks, in conjunction with the rest of the league, released their 2019-20 schedule on Tuesday so it's time to get out the sharpie and mark your calendars.
Some quick notes:
— The Blackhawks' longest homestand of the season is seven games, from Oct. 10-24. They also have a five-game homestand from March 22-31.
— The longest road trip of the season is five games, from Feb. 9-16. They also have two four-game road trips from Oct. 29-Nov. 5 and Feb. 23-Feb. 29.
— The Blackhawks have 16 back-to-back games. They had 14 last season.
— Single-game tickets for the team's regular-season home games will go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 12 p.m. on blackhawks.com. The Blackhawks are currently accepting deposits for groups, 21-Game Mikita Plans and 9-Game Hull Plans. Any fans interested can visit blackhawks.com/tickets or call 312-455-7000.
— NBC Sports Chicago is now the exclusive carrier for all local game broadcasts. The complete broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.
Here are five dates to circle for the 2019-20 season, in order of how they appear on the schedule:
1. Friday, Oct. 4 at Philadelphia, 1 p.m. — Season opener in Prague
As part of the 2019 NHL Global Series, the Blackhawks play an exhibition game in Berlin on Sept. 29 before heading to Prague, where they will kick off the regular season against the Philadelphia Flyers. It's the first time the Blackhawks are beginning a season overseas since the 2009-10 campaign when they were in Helsinki, Finland. They went on to win the Stanley Cup that season.
2. Thursday, Oct. 10 vs. San Jose, 7:30 p.m. — Home opener
After a five-day break to get reacclimated to the North American time zone, the Blackhawks will take the ice at the United Center for the first time against the Erik Karlsson-led Sharks on Oct. 10. The Blackhawks are 5-2-1 in their last eight home openers.
3. Monday, Dec. 2 vs. St. Louis, 7:30 p.m. — First look at defending Stanley Cup champions
The Blackhawks-Blues rivalry has always felt a little one-sided, but that's not the case anymore. The Blues ended a 52-year championship drought by defeating the Boston Bruins and planted their mark in the Central Division as the team to beat. Expect there to be a little more juice to this rivalry as the Blues look to keep their flag planted in the ground and the Blackhawks aim to make their presence felt within the division again.
4. Tuesday, Jan. 21 vs. Florida, 7:30 p.m. — Joel Quenneville's return to Chicago
This is the game everyone is waiting for. It will be the first time Chicago will get a chance to welcome Quenneville back to Chicago after he helped bring the city three Stanley Cups, and became the second-winningest NHL coach of all-time in the process.
What could make this game even more interesting: If former Blackhawks winger Artemi Panarin joins Quenneville's team in South Florida this summer. The Blackhawks will make their visit to Florida on Saturday, Feb. 29 for a 5 p.m. puck drop.
5. Saturday, April 4 at N.Y. Rangers, 12 p.m. — Closing out at The Garden
For the first time in a while, the Blackhawks will be wrapping up the season on the east coast. And there could be some real playoff implications at stake here, for both teams. The iconic Madison Square Garden isn't a bad place to end things off.
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