From one form of madness to another.
A lot of questions have come up throughout the day regarding the new NHL season. Red Wings 101 has some answers.
1. Q: When will the season start, and how many games will be played?
A: First, the CBA has to be ratified by the players and the Board of Governors. This should not take very long to do. Once done, training camp is expected to start by January 12, though camps could open as early as Wednesday. Team schedules won't be released until Thursday, while the regular season will begin January 19 at the latest
Speaking of schedules, the general consensus is that we will see a 48-game regular season, but the possibility for 50 games still remains, per Renaud Lavoie. A 48-game season will begin on the 19th, while a 50-game season would begin January 15, per Pierre LeBrun.
2. Q: Who will be in training camp for the Detroit Red Wings?
A: Pretty much everyone under contract with the exception of Patrick Eaves and Carlo Colaiacovo, who are dealing with injuries (more on Colaiacovo later). Those who were in Europe will report almost immediately (Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula). We can expect to see a lot of players from the Grand Rapids Griffins to be in camp (Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, to name a few.) We can also expect to see Damien Brunner (the Swiss phenom whom the Red Wings signed in July) to be there. This will also be the first time that Brunner, Mikael Samuelsson, Jordin Tootoo, and Jonas Gustavsson will be with the entire team.
3. Q: How will the schedules look?
A: All teams will play conference opponents only (i.e. no interconference play until the Stanley Cup Finals). A lot depends on whether we have a 48 or 50-game schedule. If it's a 48-game schedule, all teams will play their divisional opponents seven times and have a home-and-home with everyone else in the conference. For example, the Red Wings would play Chicago, Nashville, St. Louis, and Columbus seven times (28 games), and all ten other Western conference opponents twice (20 games). In the 50-game scenario, they would play the division opponents five times (20 games) and the other ten teams three times (30 games).
The 48-game schedule is more ideal for the players and fans because that would mean only one trip to Western Canada and one trip to California. This means only two weeks out of the regular season of games not coming on until 10 pm or later until the playoffs.
In addition, teams will be playing an average of three to four games per week. There could be a lot more back-to-back games than normal, but it's highly unlikely that we will see a team playing three games in three nights like the AHL does.
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