Last year, the Carolina Hurricanes were forced by circumstances ranging from the World Cup of Hockey to the North Carolina State Fair to begin their season with a six-game road trip, giving them the latest home opener of any team in the NHL. There will be no such concerns this season.
The Canes announced Wednesday that they will open their 2017-18 home schedule at PNC Arena on Saturday, October 7 with a matchup against the Minnesota Wild. With the State Fair beginning this year on October 12, the Canes will likely be able to play at least two games in Raleigh before hitting the road.
General manager Ron Francis told Chip Alexander of the News and Observer that the Canes are unlikely to play games at home during the Fair, so October will likely still be a road-heavy month. But this year, with the Fair ending on a comparatively early October 22, the Canes will likely return home after a three- or four-game trip.
The opening date of the season has been moved back a few days from its traditional start to nearly the first of October, as the league looks to spread games out a bit to accommodate each team’s bye week. Last season, the combination of the World Cup and bye weeks led to a severely compressed schedule that the league and players both agreed needed revision for this season.
The full schedule will be released tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. and we will break it down once it’s made public.