Starting tomorrow, the Chicago Blackhawks will embark on a historic road trip — nine games in 20 days — which, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, is just the 17th time in NHL history that a team will have a trip of nine games or longer.
The Hawks have broken up each three-game segment into three different trips. After each one they’ll come home for a change of clothes and a practice before heading back out. It’s sure to test their mettle as well as their 29-15-6 record.
This will be the third time in team history they’ve played nine consecutive games away from home.
The last time they did it was in 1994. They went 4-5 after starting the trip 3-1. Prior to that the only other nine-game trip came in the 1955-1956 season. They also went 4-5.
Let’s take a look at Chicago’s three mini-trips.
Trip 1: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary
The roadie starts with a bang against rival Vancouver. This matchup promises to be angrier than usual — it’s the first time Dave Bolland will face Daniel and Henrik Sedin since calling them “the sisters” on Chicago radio, which drew the ire of Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault and defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
As for the rest of the trip, it’ll be interesting to see former Canuck and Flame Brendan Morrison face off against his former mates. Morrison was acquired by Chicago over the All-Star break.
Trip 2: Colorado, San Jose, Phoenix
The ‘Hawks play back-to-back against the Sharks and Coyotes — the game in Phoenix will be Chicago’s fifth in eight nights (and all on the road, obviously.) There’s a definite energy/weardown concern for that one, especially since Phoenix beat Chicago in their first two matchups of the season by a combined 8-4 score.
Trip 3: Nashville, New York Rangers, Columbus
Nashville is one of the NHL’s hottest teams right now — the Preds have won nine of their last 10 and are three points back of Detroit for top spot in the league. They’ve also beaten Chicago in back-to-back matchups and are 16-7-3 at Bridgestone Arena this year…so yeah, that’s a tough one for the ‘Hawks.
The Rangers game will be cool as it’s an Original Six matchup and the Columbus contest, while very winnable, is the definition of a trap game.