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NHL announces schedule, new division names (spoiler: one is a scream)

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

Commissioner Gary Bettman officially announced the NHL’s long-awaited realignment. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Minutes after clearing its system of the Olympic negotiation obstruction, the NHL finally got around to releasing its 2013-14 schedule.

More on that in a minute.

First, let’s look at the newly revealed names for the divisions created during the latest round of realignment. No surprise that the league ignored the solution supported by a large percentage of fans who wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to honor some of the game’s all-time greats. Instead, they looked around and saw that every other North American pro circuit uses geographic designations. So that’s what the tag-along NHL did as well. Too bad.

Anyway, Anaheim, Calgary, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Vancouver will now compete in the Pacific Division.

Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg will battle it out in the Central.

Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Florida, Montreal, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Toronto will man the Atlantic.

And Carolina, Columbus New Jersey, the Islanders, the Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington will represent … wait for it … the Metropolitan Division.

Yup. Because no term could possibly give a more specific sense of geography or time zone than Metropolitan, right.

And yeah, it was an immediate hit with fans.

OK, back to the schedule.

The NHL is returning next season to a matrix that sees each team play every other team at least twice, ensuring that fans across the league will finally have a chance to watch all of the game’s top stars at least once in person. That move is long overdue.

Beyond that, the whole thing gets a little … complex. Since the West has 14 teams and the East 16, each employs a different method to divvy up the games. If you’re hardcore enough to want to know how it plays out, the NHL explains it here.

We’ll break down some of the oddities as we get to spend a little more time with the calendar, but the one thing that always sticks out is back-to-back contests, as in who has the fewest … and who has the most.

This year it’s the Devils who drew the short straw, getting hammered with a ridiculous 22 back-to-back games. Might see a lot of Cory Schneider/Martin Brodeur combos utilized there to keep the boys from wearing out.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Avalanche, Jets and Sharks have the fewest with just 10. A reward for the overall mileage they have to put on the tires this year? Maybe.

We break down some of the season’s most anticipated games here.

Here are some other key dates to circle on your calendar:

Training camps open: Sept. 11
Exhibition games begin: Sept. 13
Regular season opens: Oct. 1
Hall of Fame Game: Nov. 8
Hockey Day In Canada: Jan. 18
Hockey Weekend Across America: Feb. 28 – March 2
Olympic Break: Feb. 9 – Feb. 25
Last day of regular season: Apr. 13
Stanley Cup Playoffs begin: Apr. 16

The date of this year’s trade deadline hasn’t yet been set.

  • Published On Jul 19, 2013
  • 8 comments
    RogerFraser
    RogerFraser

    Metropolitan.  METROPOLITAN?  WTF?  Really?   Out of all the administration and the board of governers in the NHL, that is the best they could come up with?  No wonder the NHL is not taken seriously in the US.  Metropolitan.  Sounds like a flavor of ice cream for f sakes.

    Matthew W
    Matthew W

    So, around 20 years later and Bettman still doesn't know anything about hockey.


    NBA Commish Stern pulled the best move ever for his sport by inflicting the NHL, which was supplanting the NBA as the 3rd largest sport in the US, with the brainless dwarf. Bettman's constant tinkering with the sport has ruined my interest in what for years was my favorite sport. Thanks!

    Kp
    Kp

    I really think Bettman goes out of his way to antagonize every hockey fan and hockey player. There's no way a simple buffoon could blow as many calls as this guy. It has to be intentional. 


    PassingSaucers
    PassingSaucers

    Why didn't the NHL go with the past divisional names of Norris, Smythe, Adams, and Patrick? Makes more sense than using "Metropolitan."

    Veejh
    Veejh

    The Metropolitan?  What an awful name.

    DumbDadNU87
    DumbDadNU87

    Metropolitan?? really Bettman?? How is that better than Adams or Norris?

    mja10178
    mja10178

    definitely like that every team plays every NHL team at least twice.

    2001mark
    2001mark

    Smythe, Norris, Adams, Patrick.  Those are now officially what I'll be referring them as henceforth.  How verrry NHL of them...