Games to watch on 2013 schedule
Well, it’s finally here, the road map to the new, compressed NHL schedule that will see 30 teams race pell-mell from Saturday to April 27 en route to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It’s the kind of schedule that will tax everyone along the hockey ladder from GMs, who must quickly decide who will come to training camp (which will open Sunday), to the coaches, who must find instant karma among their forward combinations and defensive pairings, on through the players and trainers, who must keep them healthy and ready for a steady dose of three games in four nights and six- or seven-game road trips.
Because it took so long for the players and owners to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement after the tentative framework for the deal was produced in the early-morning hours of Jan. 6, the 48-game schedule has some quirks.
Each team will play two teams in its division five times and the other two teams in the division four times for a total of 18 divisional games. Each team will then play the other 10 teams in their conference three times for a total of 48.
No games are scheduled outside the conference, as was the case the last time the NHL went this route, in 1994-95, when the labor strife also resulted in a 48-game schedule.
For all its quirks and craziness, it’s also the kind of schedule designed to help fans forget that the league and its players engaged in a mostly useless labor dispute that cost both sides millions of dollars in salary and revenues and did untold damage to the league’s brand.
So, without further ado, here are some dates to keep an eye on: