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5 things the NHL fan will look forward to in 2015

1. The Winter Classic – January 1, 2015 the Washington Capitals host the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh Winter Classic! Each team has been a part of a Winter Classic before, the Blackhawks hosting the Detroit Red Wings in 2009 at Wrigley Field and the Capitals visiting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field in 2011. 2015 brings the teams together at Nationals Park in D.C. at 1PM on 1/1/15. This is always something to look forward to, as any hockey fan knows that the game was born outside on a frozen pond. Bringing the game back to it’s roots creates an excitement that’s not generally there.  Although it is still semi-early in the 2014-2015 season, if the playoffs started today (12/27/14), both teams would be involved in the race. The Blackhawks are first in the Central Division with 19 points and the Capitals would clinch a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Get ready for a gritty, cold, meaningful matchup!

2. 2015 All-Star Game – The last All-Star contest was in 2012! The lockout of 2012 shortened the 2012-2013 season, cancelling the skills competition and the game itself. 2014 All-Star did not happen due to the NHL involvement in the Sochi Winter Olympics. Here we are 3 years later, realizing we are genuinely missing the yearly staple.  Action is back January 24-25 in Columbus, OH at Nationwide Arena. Check out the fan vote for All-Star players.  Voting ends January 1st!

3. 2014 was a year the NHL started the Stadium Series play, where games were played in LA, NY, and CHI, outside! The four games took place late January until early March 2014, depending on the venue. This season, in 2015, there is only one Stadium Series game scheduled to be played, February 21, 2015. This day coincides with NBC Sports Hockey Day in America. The game will take place in Levi Stadium, which is brand new as of July 2014. The San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League play their home game here, and the LA Kings will battle the San Jose Sharks in the lone Stadium Series game of the 2014-2015 season. These Western Conference teams are neck and neck in the standings just prior to the New Year’s holiday. If these teams keep up the close numbers, this outdoor matchup could play an important role in their post-season chances.

4. The trade deadline is not something that everyone thinks about on the daily. However when the trade date comes closer and closer, people begin to speculate what teams will make moves, and what players may be dropped/scooped up. As playoff near, coaches and GMs of teams begin to question if they have what it takes to make that final push to get to the playoffs, or if the team is on a clear road to playoff advancement, do they have the skills and tools to make a deep run toward Lord Stanley’s cup? Some trades are as predicted, and some come out of left field. March 2, 2015 at 3PM is the deadline. Who will go or who will stay?!

5. Finally, last but not least, is the BIG move the NY Islanders are making. The day will finally be here at the start of the 2015-2016 season, when the NY Islanders move from their home venue at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY. The Islanders have been at the Coliseum since day 1 in 1972. This is a bittersweet move, leaving their beloved fan base in LI for a whole different group of people in Brooklyn. This will test the allegiance of the fans, as they would have to take the Long Island Rail Road to Brooklyn. This is a basketball town, as the New York Nets play their home games here. However, only time can tell the positivity that can come of out sharing a home arena with another professional team. The Islanders have yet to experience this. The journey begins Fall 2015.

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Jackie Daly

Jackie Daly has been with In The Zone since 2012. Her contributions have been mostly in NHL and special events coverage. Jackie has been a writer, video host, and podcast host with ITZ. She currently co-hosts Tea Time with Mel and Jay. Outside ITZ, Jackie works with MLS's New York City Football Club and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
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