Highlights and Lowlights of LA's 2012-13 Schedule

Before we get into the actual meat of this story, my apologies for being a bit of a ghost in the off-season so far. Real life tends to do that sometimes. I hope you've all somehow survived with two of the best LA Kings writers on the internet.

Some might say it is a little early, here in mid-July, to be writing a breakdown of LA's 2012-13 schedule. To them I say: shut up, you. Those aforementioned awesome writers are doing a great job recapping our epic Stanley Cup-winning season, what with all the player breakdowns and the like, so I wanted to do something a little bit different. Re-signing almost literally the entire team from last year, something that even Boston couldn't say they did last season (they lost guys like Tomas Kaberle & Michael Ryder; not key cogs in their machine to be sure, but not exactly scrubs either), has me ridiculously excited for the upcoming season. Like I'm sure you've all done, I took a casual glance or several hundred at the schedule after it came out, but writing an article like this is a great way to dive in deeper.

So what we'll do is go month-by-month, we'll break down the schedule in terms of home & away and the like, and then I'll list some personal picks for highlights and (inspired by this awesome Canucks blog post) lowlights each month as well- games you should circle on your calendars and maybe a few that you should be okay with missing. Sound like fun? Then let's get started before the CBA negotiations take a bad turn and make all of this work completely irrelevant!

October 2012

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Fri 10/12 NY Rangers Kings 7:30
Mon 10/15 Kings Calgary 6:00
Tue 10/16 Kings Edmonton 6:30
Thu 10/18 Carolina Kings 7:30
Sun 10/21 Edmonton Kings 1:00
Tue 10/23 Nashville Kings 7:30
Sat 10/27 Phoenix Kings 7:30
Tue 10/30 Kings St. Louis 5:00

Breakdown: 5 home, 3 away, 1 vs. Pacific, 5 vs. Rest of West, 2 vs. East, 1 back-to-back

Longest Homestand: 10/18-10/27 (4 games)

Longest Road Trip: 10/15-10/16 (2 games)

Highlight: We start off with by far the easiest one to pick: it's clearly that epic matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes on 10/18. I mean just the raw emotion and hatred between these two franchises should be off-the-charts, don't miss it! Oh wait....I forgot, we're raising some banner or something aren't we? Finally won that Cup thing? Okay, let's go with that. Friday October 12th vs. NY Rangers

Lowlight: Sunday October 21st vs. Edmonton. It's an early-afternoon game in LA, which the Kings always seem to suck at. It's against a team that very well could still be terrible, and a team we just saw the Kings play 5 days earlier. Yeah, if you've got a Saturday night hangover or something you can probably sleep through this one.

November 2012

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Thu 11/1 Kings Minnesota 5:00
Sat 11/3 St. Louis Kings 1:00
Tue 11/6 NY Islanders Kings 7:30
Thu 11/8 Vancouver Kings 7:30
Sat 11/10 Kings Columbus 4:00
Tue 11/13 Kings Nashville 5:00
Thu 11/15 Columbus Kings 7:30
Sat 11/17 Tampa Bay Kings 7:30
Sun 11/18 Kings Anaheim 5:00
Wed 11/21 Chicago Kings 7:30
Fri 11/23 San Jose Kings 7:30
Sun 11/25 Kings Dallas 12:00
Tue 11/27 Kings Chicago 5:30
Thu 11/29 Kings Detroit 4:30
Fri 11/30 Kings Columbus 4:00

Breakdown: 7 home, 8 away, 3 vs. Pacific, 10 vs. Rest of West, 2 vs. East, 2 back-to-backs

Longest Homestand: 11/3-11/8 (3 games)

Longest Road Trip: 11/25-12/2 (5 games)

Highlight: We don't get to see a ton of our Pacific division rivals early on in the year (only 4 games of the first 23 will be played within our division, which feels like very few to me; if anyone wants to go back and compare this with the last year or two, you'll have my everlasting affections), but here's one I'm looking forward to: Friday November 23rd vs. San Jose. Sharks-Kings games seemed to eclipse Kings-Ducks games over the past few seasons both in quality and overall importance, and with these two teams once again having eyes on the Pacific division, it should be fun to watch again all year long. It will definitely be interesting to see what kind of Sharks team takes the ice at Staples as well- are they really on the decline now, as getting bounced in 5 games in the first round after a disappointing regular season would suggest? Or was that a blip on the radar screen for them? Plus, let's be honest, you're all kind of looking forward to rubbing that "last California team without a Cup" thing in their faces, right?
(Honorable Mentions: 11/8 vs. VAN, first meeting with the 'Nucks after knocking them out in the first round. 11/21 at CHI, last two Cup champions from the West)

Lowlight: More afternoon madness! Sunday November 25th at Dallas. Sometimes these games with the Stars can be entertaining, but it's at noon and it's a November game *in Dallas*, which means probably 3/4ths empty and all the atmosphere of a morgue. Again, I wouldn't worry too much if you accidentally slept through this one because you're hungover (although I would worry a little bit about your apparent drinking problem).
(Dishonorable Mentions: 11/10 at CBJ & 11/15 vs. CBJ. really NHL, two games in five days with friggin' Columbus?!)

December 2012

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Sun 12/2 Kings Colorado 5:00
Tue 12/4 Columbus Kings 7:30
Thu 12/6 Florida Kings 7:30
Sat 12/8 Minnesota Kings 7:30
Mon 12/10 Dallas Kings 7:30
Thu 12/13 Kings Montreal 4:30
Sat 12/15 Kings Ottawa 11:00 am (!!)
Mon 12/17 Kings Boston 4:00
Tue 12/18 Kings Detroit 4:30
Thu 12/20 Kings San Jose 7:30
Sat 12/22 San Jose Kings 7:30
Wed 12/26 Phoenix Kings 7:00
Thu 12/27 Kings Phoenix 6:00
Sat 12/29 Anaheim Kings 7:30

Breakdown: 7 home, 7 away, 6 vs. Pacific, 4 vs. Rest of West, 4 vs. East, 2 back-to-backs

Longest Homestand: 12/4-12/10 (4 games)

Longest Road Trip: 12/13-12/20 (5 games)

Highlight: Some good division action here, but I'm going with the sexy pick: Monday December 17th at Boston. It's the only meeting of the season between the last two Stanley Cup Champions, and thanks to LA's AHL affiliate being based in Manchester the Kings tend to have a pretty good fan representation there as well.
(Honorable Mentions: 12/26 vs. PHX & 12/27 at PHX, a back-to-back against our fellow Western Conference finalists. That second game especially has the potential to be brutally violent, if you're into that sort of thing.)

Lowlight: It's so easy to pick these wacky time games, so here's another one: Saturday December 15th at Ottawa. I'm sure most of you care about the Ottawa Senators about as much as I do, which is zero. They're even more irrelevant to us (and to fans of most teams in general, let's face it) than your average Eastern team. And oh yeah, this game will air at 11 am on the west coast, that certainly doesn't help matters.
(Dishonorable Mention: 12/18 at DET, second night of a back-to-back and last game on an Eastern swing before the Kings get back to California. That has the potential to be, uh, not good. And even as someone who hates the Red Wings, seeing them without Lidstrom will just seem....wrong, somehow.)

January 2013

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Wed 1/2 Kings Anaheim 7:00
Thu 1/3 Philadelphia Kings 7:30
Sat 1/5 St. Louis Kings 1:00
Tue 1/8 Anaheim Kings 7:30
Thu 1/10 Minnesota Kings 7:30
Sat 1/12 Detroit Kings 7:30
Mon 1/14 Phoenix Kings 7:30
Sat 1/19 Kings Phoenix 5:00
Mon 1/21 Kings Nashville 3:00
Tue 1/22 Kings Minnesota 5:00
Thu 1/31 Nashville Kings 7:30

Breakdown: 7 home, 4 away, 4 vs. Pacific, 6 vs. Rest of West, 1 vs. East, 2 back-to-backs

Longest Homestand: 1/3-1/14 (6 games)

Longest Road Trip: 1/19-1/22 (3 games)

Highlight: A lot of repeat matchups this month: 2 vs. Anaheim, 2 vs. Phoenix, 2 vs. Minnesota, and 2 vs. Nashville, which is 8 of the 11 games right there. That could either mean some hatred to get the juices flowing or, more likely in the cases of the Wild & Coyotes especially, some really boring hockey. So I'm gonna go off-the-board a little with this pick, and take Thursday January 3rd vs. Philadelphia. Yes, it's another East team, but it's one that we have a bit of a special connection to at this point. It will also be Jeff Carter's first match-up against the team that drafted him since coming to Los Angeles and reuniting with his BFF and the rest of the Philly West crew. Finally, Philly also tends to be really good so there's a high chance this is a rare meeting between two very good clubs.
(Honorable Mention: Woof, kinda slim pickings this month to be honest. Let's go with 1/8 vs. ANA, because they're probably going to be bad and it's always fun to beat the Ducks at home, right?)

Lowlight: Tuesday January 22nd at Minnesota. Second night of a road back-to-back against a Wild team that tends to play, well, boring hockey (and let's not pretend adding Parise & Suter suddenly makes them the mid-80s Oilers or anything). I half-expect our boys to sleepwalk through this game, but maybe still win, which would be hilarious. I also still don't expect the Wild to be very good next year, but maybe I'm in the minority on that.
(Dishonorable Mentions: Plenty to choose from here! 1/5 vs. STL is yet another early afternoon game. 1/10 vs. MIN just because they're the Minnesota Wild. Finally, 1/19 at PHX gets a special little "ugh" because, really, we go 5 days with no Kings games only to see the Coyotes for seemingly the ten thousandth time already? This is not a real exciting month.)

February 2013

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Sun 2/3 Kings Washington 9:30 am (...)
Tue 2/5 Kings Buffalo 4:00
Thu 2/7 Kings NY Rangers 4:00
Sat 2/9 Kings New Jersey 10:00 am (ugh)
Sun 2/10 Kings Pittsburgh 4:30
Fri 2/15 Washington Kings 7:30
Sun 2/17 Kings Vancouver 6:00
Tue 2/19 Kings Edmonton 6:30
Wed 2/20 Kings Calgary 7:00
Sat 2/23 Winnipeg Kings 12:30
Mon 2/25 Detroit Kings 7:30
Thu 2/28 Kings Vancouver 7:00

Breakdown: 3 home, 9 away, 0 vs. Pacific, 5 vs. Rest of West, 7 vs. East, 2 back-to-backs

Longest Homestand: 2/23-2/25 (2 games)

Longest Road Trip: 2/3-2/10 (5 games)

Highlight: This month of the LA Kings' schedule is brought to you by the Grammys. Or the People's Choice Awards. Or some equally irrelevant awards show, whatever. If you like road games against Eastern Conference opponents, this is the month for you! As far as my highlight goes, I'm gonna break my own rule and pick an early game: Saturday February 9th at New Jersey. Yes, it's on at 10 am on the west coast, that sucks for those of you out there. But it's the only Stanley Cup Final re-match of the year, barring a repeat of what happened in 2009 (hopefully with a different ending this time), so this one seems worth getting up for. And going by my excellent research method I call "my own hazy memory", the Kings seem to suck a lot more in early games that are actually *in Los Angeles* than they do on the road. Finally, I'll surely be in attendance, so if you'd like to come out and do some live-trolling of Devils fans with your humble blogger, you've got nearly seven months to prepare!
(Honorable Mentions: 2/20 at CGY, because if you love Darryl Sutter as much as I do you'll enjoy watching the Kings probably kick the crap out of the team that fired him. 2/28 at VAN, because this seems to be a real rivalry now and yes I'm arbitrarily picking one of those two road games against the Canucks. Okay, fine, justification: this one starts an hour later than the other one. There you go.)

Lowlight: I've picked on early starts enough for one blog post I think, so let's go with Sunday February 10th at Pittsburgh. It's the second night of a back-to-back, against a really good team, and it's the last game of a long road trip to boot. Again, definitely potential for ugliness here if you're cheering for the dudes in white. Or maybe Marc-Andre Fleury starts and lets in like seven goals in the first five minutes, who knows really.
(Dishonorable Mentions: 2/3 at WSH because it's at 9:30 in the morning in LA, yuck. 2/23 vs. WPG because it's yet another early afternoon LA start, only game back home shoehorned between two road trips, and is against an Eastern opponent that nearly rivals Ottawa for irrelevance. I mean, okay, they're really loud in Winnipeg which is cool and all, but that doesn't really mean anything for their road games.)

March 2013

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Sat 3/2 Kings San Jose
Mon 3/4 Toronto Kings 7:30
Wed 3/6 Kings Anaheim 7:30
Thu 3/7 Dallas Kings 7:30
Sat 3/9 Calgary Kings 7:00
Mon 3/11 Colorado Kings 7:30
Thu 3/14 Kings San Jose 7:30
Sat 3/16 San Jose Kings 7:30
Mon 3/18 Calgary Kings 7:30
Thu 3/21 Chicago Kings 7:30
Sat 3/23 Vancouver Kings 1:00
Mon 3/25 Kings Dallas 5:00
Tue 3/26 Kings Chicago 5:30
Thu 3/28 Kings St. Louis 5:00
Sat 3/30 Kings Florida 5:30

Breakdown: 8 home, 7 away, 6 vs. Pacific, 7 vs. Rest of West, 2 vs. East, 2 back-to-backs

Longest Homestand: 3/16-3/23 (4 games)

Longest Road Trip: 3/25-4/2 (5 games)

Highlight: Here's where all the Pacific Division games have been hiding. This month is like the Bizzaro January in that it looks fairly awesome: lots of teams we hate amidst potentially marquee Western matchups. Picking a highlight was actually fairly difficult, but I'm gong with Thursday February 21st vs. Chicago. I really enjoyed the LA-Chicago games over the past few years- two young, entertaining hockey clubs- and as mentioned earlier, they take on an added dynamic now that everyone on the Kings roster has a Cup ring (which is something they have in common with, like, half of Chicago's current roster I think). If everything goes according to plan, and doesn't it always, it should be a late-season battle between two teams high in the standings.
(Honorable Mentions: 3/11 vs. COL, only our second time this year playing the young and fast Avs {and first time since December}, so you might enjoy it before quickly getting sick of them once we have to play them two more times in April. 3/14 vs. SJ & 3/16 at SJ, a home-and-home with those damned Sharkies that could have Pacific division implications.)

Lowlight: My apologies to a female Kings blogger who loves them for some reason, but boy does Saturday March 30th at Florida stick out like a sore thumb. At the end of this whirlwind of Western Conference hatred, here's.....a game with the Florida Panthers in late March! For some reason! Feel the excitement!
(Dishonorable Mentions: If I'm singling out Eastern games for sucking or whatever, I guess I should pick on 3/4 vs. TOR too. Plus Leaf fans inexplicably still travel well to see their awful hockey team, so that's probably annoying to deal with. Mitigating factor: as mentioned, the Leafs are highly likely to be terrible, so it might be fun watching them lose. Also 3/26 at CHI, because we just saw them play five days ago and it's the second night of a pretty brutal road back-to-back.)

April 2013

Date Visitor Home Time (PST)
Tue 4/2 Kings Phoenix 7:00
Thu 4/4 Dallas Kings 7:30
Sat 4/6 Edmonton Kings 1:00
Sun 4/7 Kings Colorado 5:00
Tue 4/9 Kings Dallas 5:00
Thu 4/11 Colorado Kings 7:30
Sun 4/13 Anaheim Kings 7:30

Breakdown: 4 home, 3 away, 4 vs. Pacific, 3 vs. Rest of West, 0 vs. East, 1 back-to-back

Longest Homestand: tie, 4/4-4/6 & 4/11-4/13 (2 games)

Longest Road Trip: 3/25-4/2 (5 games)

Highlight: And here we are folks. The end of the 2012-13 season. Right now that seems like eons away, but let's talk about it anyway. With only 7 games in April before the real hockey likely begins, it's kind of slim pickings on both sides of it. So for my highlight I'm going with Sunday April 13th vs. Anaheim. There's a lot of ways this game could go, but in my wildest fantasies I see the Kings with something like 106-110 points, having already long clinched a playoff spot and probably even their first Pacific Division crown, taking on the sorry-sack losers from Orange County who have long since been eliminated from contention. Then, of course, the Kings win 5-0 in one final laugher before the playoffs. See? That would be a highlight! Of course, there's always the possibility the Kings need these last two points to win the division, clinch the 4th seed and home ice, or god forbid, make the playoffs. In which case this game would be kind of important. Either way, highlight.
(Honorable Mention: 4/9 at DAL. Again, maybe this whole old man theme the Stars are trying out clicks and this is important in the standings, you know? And it's late April so the city of Dallas should magically remember they have a hockey team again, offsetting the "playing in a morgue" factor we talked about much earlier. Unless they're terrible.)

Lowlight: In the middle of all this intra-division hatred and two games with a potentially competitive Colorado team, there's Saturday April 6th vs. Edmonton. Hey, maybe the Oilers finally get their you-know-what together and aren't terrible this year, who knows. Stranger things and all that. But this is still an early afternoon LA game, and as we've beaten to death already the Kings generally suck at those. Pretty easy pick for lowlight out of all of seven games.
(Dishonorable Mention: 4/11 vs. COL, just because it's the third meeting between these two teams in exactly a month and you'll probably be sick of them by then. And again, slim pickings and all that.)

So there you have it. Everything you could ever have wanted to know about LA's upcoming 2012-13 schedule! I'm hoping you'll bookmark this and have it as we get closer to the actual season, and then instead of counting you've got a quick and handy answer to "how many road games are we playing this month?" or "when's the next home game against the Coyotes so I can sell my tickets?". Of course, all this is subject-to-change in the event of a lockout. Please don't let there be a lockout.