NHL

NHL's 2016-17 schedule has more back-to-back games

The 2016-17 NHL schedule is jam-packed. Thanks to a late start because of the World Cup and a bye week for each team, back-to-backs and stretches of three games in four days are more common than ever before.

Each team gets 5-day stretch without games, practices

Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup champion Penguins will have to endure 15 back-to-back sets under the NHL's condensed 2016-17 schedule. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The 2016-17 NHL schedule is jam-packed, thanks to a late start because of the World Cup and a bye week for each team.

Back-to-backs and stretches of three games in four days are more common than ever before because of the condensed schedule, which was released Tuesday.

The season runs from Wednesday, Oct. 12, to Sunday, April 9, which at 180 days is almost a week shorter than 2015-16.

The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks each have 15 back-to-back sets. Pittsburgh also plays four games in seven days around the three-day Christmas break.

Players on every team will have at least five full days off from games and practices sometime in January or February.

Toronto, Winnipeg among outdoor hosts

The opening of Edmonton's Rogers Place, the raising of the Penguins' championship banner and the first NHL outdoor games in Toronto and Winnipeg are among the highlights of the schedule.

The league had disclosed the dates of the season openers for all 30 teams on Monday.

The season will commence Wednesday, Oct. 12 with a four-game slate. Edmonton will host Calgary in the Oilers' new Rogers Place arena, the Toronto Maple Leafs will visit the Ottawa Senators, the St. Louis Blues will meet Central Division rival Chicago at United Center and the Sharks host Los Angeles.

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins will raise their fourth Stanley Cup championship banner on Oct. 13 before hosting Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

On New Year's Day, the Maple Leafs will host the Detroit Red Wings at BMO Field in the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic. The game will kick off a year-long celebration of the NHL's 100th anniversary.

It will be a rematch of the 2014 Winter Classic, which saw the Maple Leafs beat the Red Wings 3-2 in front of a record crowd of 105,491 at Michigan Stadium.

Winnipeg's Investors Group Field will be the site of the 2016 Heritage Classic. The Jets will host the Edmonton Oilers in that outdoor game.

The schedule also features outdoor games in St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The NHL's all-star weekend will take place Jan. 27-30 in Los Angeles.

While the season starts with the opening of Rogers Place, it's closing weekend will see the Detroit Red Wings' last game at Joe Louis Arena. The Red Wings will move to the new Little Caesar's Arena for the 2017-18 season.

With files from The Canadian Press

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