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The Desert Dog Blog: Is It Hockey Season Yet?

Tuesday, 07.24.2012 / 3:30 PM / The Desert Dog Blog - by Dave Vest
By Dave Vest

GLENDALE -- Eleven weeks and four days. That’s how much time remains until the puck drops on the 2012-13 regular season for the Coyotes.

Although it may seem like an eternity from now, the season opener vs. Dallas at Jobing.com Arena on Oct. 13 likely will be here before we know it.

With that in mind, I spent a good chunk of the weekend looking over the team’s schedule for 2012-13, and what follows is what stands out the most, in no particular order:

Photo by Getty Images.

• The Coyotes will play four of their first five games at home, and three of those four opponents – Dallas, Calgary and Anaheim - did not make the playoffs last season. The fourth team is Nashville, which Phoenix has posted a 6-2-1 record against at home under Head Coach Dave Tippett, including three playoff wins last season. It all bodes well for a strong start to the season.

• The Coyotes have two six-game road trips in 2012-13. The second one – which begins March 10 – is crammed into nine days and features stops in San Jose, Minnesota, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Nashville. According to my calculator - and the first distance-between-cities web site I could figure out - the Coyotes will travel 6,122 miles in the air on that hectic trip from wheels up to wheels down at Sky Harbor Airport. That seems like a lot at such a crucial part of the season…

• Five of the NHL's Original Six Teams will play at Jobing.com Arena this season; only the Montreal Canadiens won’t make an appearance. As Western Conference teams, Detroit and Chicago, of course, come to town twice every season. But also having Toronto, Boston and the New York Rangers in the house - all within a span of about two months - will certainly add intrigue to the season.

Photo by Getty Images.

• I’m guessing if you asked 100 Coyotes fans, about 90 would say the opponent they are most looking forward to watching in Glendale next season would be the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes and Kings, of course, played a highly dramatic and physical playoff series in the Western Conference Finals last season that, without question, has intensified the rivalry between the division foes exponentially. The Kings will visit Jobing.com Arena three times, including on Dec. 27, one night after the teams will square off at the Staples Center.

• The Coyotes will play three of their final four games on the road. That’s the bad news. The good news is those three games are at Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, and Phoenix has posted a 10-1-1 record in those three cities the past two seasons.

• I'm looking forward to watching many of the NHL's marquee players take the ice in Glendale this season including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (Jan. 12), Washington's Alex Ovechkin (Feb. 16), Philadelphia's Claude Giroux (Dec. 31) and New York's Henrik Lundqvist (Jan. 5).

Sullivan

I will end this blog by reporting that new Coyotes forward Steve Sullivan will wear sweater No. 26 and that defenseman Michael Stone, who wore No. 26 last season as a rookie, will switch to No. 29. Meanwhile, new Coyotes forward David Moss will wear No. 18 with Phoenix. Moss wore No. 25 during his stint with Calgary, but No. 25 is not available because the Coyotes retired it to honor Thomas Steen.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contact Dave Vest at thedesertdogblog@phoenixcoyotes.com and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.

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