It has been a busy week for the National Hockey League. With the NHL Awards show Wednesday Night and the NHL Draft on Friday, the NHL found a way to keep hockey fans interested in between.
The NHL released the 2012-2013 season schedule on Thursday. Opening night is scheduled for October 11. Eight of the 30 teams will be in action that night, including four Canadian teams and four American teams.
Oct. 11 Matchups:
Ottawa at Montreal
Vancouver at Calgary
Boston at Philadelphia (NBC Sports)
St. Louis at Colorado
Other notable dates for the 2012-13 season
League day off (No teams in action)- November 12
2012 Stanley Cup Champs versus 2011 Stanley Cup Champs- Kings at Bruins- December 17
All-Star Break: Jan. 24-28 in Columbus, OH
Stanley Cup Finals Rematch: LA Kings at New Jersey Devils- February 9
Hockey Day in Canada: February 9, 2013
Hockey Day in America: February 17, 2013
End of Regular season- April 13
Home Openers (alphabetically by team)
Anaheim Ducks-San Jose Sharks Oct. 12
Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens Oct. 18
Buffalo Sabres-Pittsburgh Penguins Oct. 13
Calgary Flames-Vancouver Canucks Oct. 11
Carolina Hurricanes-New York Rangers Oct. 26
Chicago Blackhawks-Columbus Blue Jackets Oct. 13
Colorado Avalanche-St. Louis Blues Oct. 11
Columbus Blue Jackets-Vancouver Canucks Oct. 19
Dallas Stars-Phoenix Coyotes Oct. 16
Detroit Red Wings-Nashville Predators Oct. 12
Edmonton Oilers-Los Angeles Kings Oct. 16
Florida Panthers-Tampa Bay Lightning Oct. 13
Los Angeles Kings-New York Rangers Oct. 12
Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche Oct. 13
Montreal Canadiens-Ottawa Senators Oct. 11
Nashville Predators-St. Louis Blues Oct. 13
New Jersey Devils-Boston Bruins Oct. 13
New York Islanders-Philadelphia Flyers Oct. 13
New York Rangers-Dallas Stars Nov. 1 (Latest home opener of any team)
Ottawa Senators-Washington Capitals Oct. 13
Philadelphia Flyers-Boston Bruins Oct. 11
Phoenix Coyotes-Dallas Stars Oct. 13
Pittsburgh Penguins-New York Islanders Oct. 12
St. Louis Blues-Detroit Red Wings Oct. 18
San Jose Sharks-New York Rangers Oct. 15
Tampa Bay Lightning-New York Islanders Oct. 16
Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens Oct. 13
Vancouver Canucks-Edmonton Oilers Oct. 13
Washington Capitals-New Jersey Devils Oct. 12
Winnipeg Jets-Carolina Hurricanes Oct. 13
The road more traveled?
How in the world do the Rangers have their home-opener three weeks after the season starts? We will see if the Rangers can continue their road dominance from last season (24-12-5).
Finally, quality hockey in Columbus:
For the first time since, well, ever, the Columbus-area will be able to see some quality hockey. With the NHL All-Star Game and festivities in town, Columbus will finally be able to go to the arena without bags on their heads. Embrace this Ohio! It's the best thing that's happened to you since LeBron James... too soon?
Drama, Drama, Drama
Last season, hockey fans were spoiled by the late season drama. Did we all forget that the Stanley Cup Champion Kings were only a few losses away from watching the postseason?
This year, 28 teams will be in action for the regular season finale on April 13. Last year, all 30 teams competed on the season's final day. I'm all for this type of scheduling. No one gets any extra rest heading into the first round.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
This season's Bridgestone Winter Classic is being held in Detroit at Michigan Stadium on the campus of the University of Michigan. This venue could be record-setting.
The capacity at the Big House is 109,901. If filled, this could be the single-highest attended hockey game in history.
What better way to promote the NHL than the Winter Classic? Let's hope it snows just to add to the whole experience.
Everyone's a Rival
Under the scheduling design, each team will play six games against each division opponent. They will also play four games against each non-division conference opponents and one game against each opponent in the other conference, plus another three games.
This formatting should provide a good idea of who will be competing for the top spot in each division early on in the season. But looking back at how season's past have ended, we know this season will come down to the wire again for that coveted 8-seed.
1,230 games in total. I'm going to love every one of them. Fast forward to October. Ready, go.