NHL releases 2013-14 schedule, new division names
Teams grouped into Metropolitan, Atlantic, Central, Pacific
The Chicago Blackhawks will raise their Stanley Cup banner on Oct. 1 to open the 2013-14 NHL season with newly aligned conferences and divisions.
It will mark the first time since 2008 that the defending champion will open the regular season against a team out of its conference. The Detroit Red Wings raised their banner that year against Toronto.
The 82-game schedule for each team will conclude April 13, with the Stanley Cup playoffs starting April 16.
Key dates for 2013-14 NHL season
- Sept. 11: Training camp opens
- Sept. 13: Pre-season games begin
- Oct. 1: Start of regular season
- Nov. 8: Hall of Fame game
- Dec. 24-26: Christmas break
- Jan. 18: Hockey Day in Canada
- Feb. 9-25: Olympic break
- April 13: End of regular season
- April 16: Start of Stanley Cup playoffs
The NHL will shut down Feb. 9-25, with games resuming three days after the gold-medal game.
"You find out pretty quickly that an Olympic-year schedule is a little more condensed and a little more intense than a typical year," Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said on a conference call. "You have to take advantage of your days off because it is condensed. Playing that condensed schedule then going right into basically a pretty intense playoff atmosphere — every game is like a Game 7. Then obviously coming back from that, too, you basically go from being at that level of intensity to regular-season games."
The schedule features the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan’s Big House featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs and host Detroit (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 12:30 p.m. ET).
Four other outdoor games will take place as part of the NHL's Stadium Series. And the Heritage Classic returns, as Vancouver hosts Ottawa at B.C Place Stadium on March 2.
CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada also released its schedule, which begins with an opening-night doubleheader involving four Canadian teams. Toronto visits Montreal (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) followed by Edmonton hosting Winnipeg (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET).
The NHL's newly realigned divisions will be called the Metropolitan, Atlantic, Central and Pacific.
The Metropolitan is made up of the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Atlantic has the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Senators, Sabres, Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Central has the Jets, Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.
The Pacific has the Canucks, Flames, Oilers, Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks.
"I don't know what to think," said Crosby. "I like the Atlantic, I'm from Atlantic Canada. It kind of had a good feel to it, but I can deal with Metropolitan Division. It's going to take some time to get used to, but I can live with that."
- Pacific Divison: Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Jose, Vancouver
- Central Division: Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, Winnipeg
- Metropolitan Division: Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, NY Islanders, NY Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington
- Atlantic Division: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Toronto
Former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will make his return to Ottawa on Dec. 1 when the Detroit Red Wings visit the nation's capital.
Here is a brief snapshot of the schedules for the Canadian teams.
The Flames will begin the 2013-14 regular season with a pair of road games against Washington (Oct. 3) and Columbus (Oct. 4) before welcoming Vancouver to the Saddledome on Oct. 6. Calgary had a 1-3-1 record against the Canucks in the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign.
Under the NHL's new realignment, Calgary will play division opponents Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver five times and have four games against Anaheim.
The reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks visit Calgary Nov. 27 and Jan. 28.
Winnipeg visits Edmonton on Oct. 1, the first time the Jets have played at Rexall Place since returning to the NHL. The Oilers will host the Canadian squads in the East once each, starting with Montreal (Oct. 10), followed by Toronto (Oct. 29) and Ottawa (March 4).
Edmonton will hit the road for six games in the season's first month, travelling to Toronto, Washington, Pittsburgh, the New York Islanders, Ottawa and Montreal.
The Oct. 12 contest at Air Canada Centre will be Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins's first game back in Toronto since he left the same role with the American Hockey League's Marlies.
The Canadiens will begin their season with games against Toronto (Oct. 1) and Philadelphia (Oct. 5) before embarking on a four-game road trip to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg.
They will play two matinee games at home to open February, against Tampa Bay (Feb. 1) and Winnipeg (Feb. 2), both at 1 p.m. ET.
For a third consecutive season, the Senators will start a season on the road. Buffalo is the first stop Oct. 4, and Ottawa will play five more games before hosting New Jersey on Oct. 17.
The Senators will play five games against Montreal and Tampa Bay but just four contests versus their other division opponents: Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida and Toronto.
Ottawa plays back-to-back games 16 times, matching the number in each of the past three full NHL seasons.
Montreal will provide the competition for the fifth season opener in a row for the Maple Leafs in a 7 p.m. ET start. Toronto will play in Philadelphia the following night at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The Leafs' home opener at Air Canada Centre is Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. with the Ottawa Senators in town.
On Oct. 22, head coach Randy Carlyle faces the Anaheim Ducks for the first time since they fired him.
He'll be looking for revenge Nov. 9 when Toronto visits Boston, site of its Game 7, first-round collapse.
The Canucks' regular season begins Oct. 3 at San Jose, which swept Vancouver in the first round this past season.
Vancouver returns home to face Edmonton two nights later.
Ten of the Canucks' 16 back-to-back series will be played on the road.
Canucks head coach John Tortorella returns to Madison Square Garden on Nov. 30 to face the New York Rangers, while one-time Vancouver bench boss Alain Vigneault brings the Rangers to Rogers Arena for a pre-season tilt Sept. 26.
The Jets will start next season on the road in Edmonton, the first such situation since the team returned to Winnipeg two years ago.
Home-opening weekend will consist of two games, first against the Los Angeles Kings (Oct. 4) and then Anaheim (Oct. 6).
There will be seven all-Canadian matchups at the MTS Centre: Montreal (Oct. 15), Calgary (Nov. 18), Edmonton (Jan. 18), Toronto (Jan. 25), Vancouver (Jan. 31 and March 12) and Ottawa (March 8).
With files from The Canadian Press