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Kalman: Bruins 2014-15 Schedule Swaps Hectic March For Tough December

BOSTON (CBS) – There's a tradition around the Bruins, for at least the past 10 years I've been covering the team, which should end in the 2014-15.

Typically in recent seasons, when March arrived the lead stories were about how many games the Bruins had to play during the 31-day month.

"Everyone has to play a tough schedule," is the typical response of a Bruins player when quizzed about the March's hectic slate of games.

Electric quotes like this did little to discourage anyone from spending most of the month repeating that line of questioning until April mercifully arrives.

The Bruins' schedule for the upcoming season, which was released along with those of the other 29 NHL teams Sunday, includes another busy March. The Bruins are slated to play 15 games in March, their busiest subsection of the season. But the Bruins won't play during the first four days of March 2015 and then actually have another break of three days later in the month.

So March shouldn't be the source of questions about a "killer month" in 2015.

For once, the Bruins' most rigorous month won't be March, it'll be December. The Bruins play one fewer game (14) in December than March, but eight of those December games come on the road. Boston opens the year's 12th month with a four-game Western road trip to Anaheim, Los Angeles (to face the Stanley Cup champion Kings, in case you didn't hear), San Jose and Phoenix.

The Bruins also have to play in Minnesota and Nashville, and their home slate in December includes a showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Eight of the Bruins' 15 March games are at the friendly confines of TD Garden.

So while the tradition of lamenting the dangers of March will end, we know just what will happen this season. And people who loved all the "busy March" chatter will get a bonus. Because this season the Bruins will be able to give similar answers to questions in both December and March.

Of course more importantly, we'll learn a lot more about the Bruins in December than we have in past seasons.

Here are a couple more thoughts on the Bruins' 2014-15 schedule:

--The only thing worse than the Winnipeg Jets being the Bruins' "Black Friday" opponent is the fact that an afternoon tradition has been shifted to evening. Most of the blame for this probably goes to the league and NBC because the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are going to play at 1 p.m. that day in an exclusive time slot. The Bruins still could've squeezed in a late afternoon game in an effort to keep the holiday feel of what had become a solid tradition for the team.

--As we learned Saturday, the Bruins will be the home-opener visitor for both the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens. Those playoff rematches in front of opening-night crowds are going to be some of the hardest points on the schedule to earn. Regardless of how the Bruins fare in those games, they should serve as an early-season wakeup call that could pay off the rest of the season.

--A second straight New Year's Eve spent at TD Garden. Oh joy.

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for and also contributes to and several other media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @TheBruinsBlog.


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