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Blackhawks announce 2013-14 schedule

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane hoists Conn Smytrophy awarded team's most valuable player after Blackhawks beBostBruins 3-2 Game 6

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane hoists the Conn Smythe trophy, awarded to the team's most valuable player, after the Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Monday, June 24, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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2013-14 SCHEDULE

Tues., Oct. 1 WASHINGTON 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 5 TAMPA BAY 7 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 9 at St. Louis 7 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 11 NY ISLANDERS 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 12 BUFFALO 7 p.m.

Tues., Oct. 15 at Carolina 6 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 17 ST. LOUIS 7 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 19 TORONTO 6 p.m.

Tues., Oct. 22 at Florida 6:30 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 24 at Tampa Bay 6:30 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 26 MINNESOTA 7 p.m.

Mon., Oct. 28 at Minnesota 7 p.m.

Tues., Oct. 29 OTTAWA 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 2 at Winnipeg 2 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 3 CALGARY 6 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 6 WINNIPEG 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 9 at Dallas 7 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 10 EDMONTON 6 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 14 PHOENIX 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 16 at Nashville 7 p.m.

Sun., Nov. 17 SAN JOSE 6 p.m.

Tues., Nov. 19 at Colorado 8 p.m.

Thurs., Nov. 21 at Winnipeg 7 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 23 at Vancouver 9 p.m.

Mon., Nov. 25 at Edmonton 8:30 p.m.

Wed., Nov. 27 at Calgary 9 p.m.

Fri., Nov. 29 at Dallas 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Nov. 30 at Phoenix 7 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 3 DALLAS 7 p.m.

Thurs., Dec. 5 at Minnesota 7 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 6 ANAHEIM 7 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 8 FLORIDA 6 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 10 at Dallas 7:30 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 11 PHILADELPHIA 7 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 14 at Toronto 6 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 15 LOS ANGELES 6 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 17 at Nashville 7 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 20 VANCOUVER 7 p.m.

Mon., Dec. 23 NEW JERSEY 7 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 27 COLORADO 7 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 28 at St. Louis 7 p.m.

Mon., Dec. 30 LOS ANGELES 7 p.m.

Thurs., Jan. 2 at NY Islanders 6 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 3 at New Jersey 6 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 5 SAN JOSE 7 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 8 NY RANGERS 7 p.m.

Sat., Jan. 11 at Montreal 6 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 12 EDMONTON 6 p.m.

Tues., Jan. 14 COLORADO 7 p.m.

Fri., Jan. 17 ANAHEIM 7 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 19 BOSTON 2 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 22 at Detroit 7 p.m.

Thurs., Jan. 23 at Minnesota 7 p.m.

Sun., Jan. 26 WINNIPEG 6 p.m.

Tues., Jan. 28 at Calgary 8 p.m.

Wed., Jan. 29 at Vancouver 9 p.m.

Sat., Feb. 1 at San Jose 9:30 p.m.

Mon., Feb. 3 at Los Angeles 9:30 p.m.

Wed., Feb. 5 at Anaheim 9 p.m.

Fri., Feb. 7 at Phoenix 8 p.m.

Thurs., Feb. 27 at NY Rangers 6 p.m.

Sat., March 1 PITTSBURGH* 7 p.m.

Tues., March 4 COLORADO 7 p.m.

Thurs., March 6 COLUMBUS 7 p.m.

Sun., March 9 at Buffalo 6:30 p.m.

Wed., March 12 at Colorado 8:30 p.m.

Fri., March 14 NASHVILLE 7 p.m.

Sun., March 16 DETROIT 6:30 p.m.

Tues., March 18 at Philadelphia 6:30 p.m.

Wed., March 19 ST. LOUIS 7 p.m.

Fri., March 21 CAROLINA 7 p.m.

Sun., March 23 NASHVILLE 6 p.m.

Tues., March 25 DALLAS 7 p.m.

Thurs., March 27 at Boston 6 p.m.

Fri., March 28 at Ottawa 6:30 p.m.

Sun., March 30 at Pittsburgh 6:30 p.m.

Thurs., April 3 MINNESOTA 7 p.m.

Fri., April 4 at Columbus 6 p.m.

Sun., April 6 ST. LOUIS 6:30 p.m.

Wed., April 9 MONTREAL 6:30 p.m.

Fri., April 11 at Washington 6 p.m.

Sat., April 12 at Nashville 7 p.m.

* at Soldier Field

Feb. 7-23: Winter Olympic Games (Sochi, Russia)

Updated: July 19, 2013 9:02PM

The Blackhawks host the Winnipeg Jets on Jan. 26. Their next game at the United Center won’t be until March 4. That’s the most glaring quirk of the 2013-14 schedule, which was released Friday after the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement to send players to the Sochi Olympics in February.

The Hawks will open the defense of their Stanley Cup — and raise their fifth championship banner — on Oct. 1 against reigning MVP Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, whom they’ll also face twice in a six-game preseason schedule. From there, though, things get interesting.

The circus trip will take the Hawks to Colorado, Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Dallas and Phoenix from Nov. 19 to Nov. 30. The ice-show trip will take them to Calgary, Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Phoenix from Jan.   28 through Feb.   7. The league will then shut down from Feb.   9 to Feb.   26 as players — including several Hawks — head to Russia for the Olympics. The Hawks restart their season Feb.  27 at the New York Rangers, then “host” the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1 at Soldier Field. Finally, they return to the United Center on March 4 against the Colorado Avalanche.

This will be the fifth straight Winter Games to feature NHL players, dating to Nagano in 1998. Despite it being the sport’s biggest showcase, it’s a significant scheduling headache for the league, especially following a late, lockout-shortened season.

“The decision to participate . . . was in many ways a difficult one,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “But one we know will be well received by our players and, most important, by the vast majority of fans.”

Among the Hawks certain to play are Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith for Canada, Patrick Kane for the United States and Marian Hossa for Slovakia. Corey Crawford, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp will be in the mix for Canada, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger for Sweden.

The season also features the new alignment, which puts the Hawks in the Central Division of the Western Conference with Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg. The other division names are the Atlantic, Metropolitan and Pacific. The schedule will have every team playing a home game and a road game against each team from the other conference.

Another change has most Hawks home games starting at 7 p.m. rather than 7:30.

NOTE: The Hawks agreed to terms with Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc on a two-year deal.

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