Jul 22 2013, 12:54am CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
The NHL released the 2013-14 schedule and the new makeups of the league's four divisions on Friday.
Opening night is slated for October 1 with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks squaring off with the Washington Capitals. The regular season will end on April 13 while the playoffs commence three days afterward.
Aside from the Blackhawks-Capitals contest, other games scheduled for opening night include the Toronto Maple Leafs visiting the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets taking on the Edmonton Oilers.
The regular season will go on a two and-a-half week break from February 9-26 to make way for the Winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia. On the same day the 2013-14 regular season was released, the NHL and its players reached a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation to have NHL pros compete in the Winter Olympics for the fifth consecutive time.
The NHL will also mark 2013-14 as the first season of realignment featuring four divisions as opposed to six in previous seasons. The most prominent movements involve the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets heading to the Eastern Conference while the Winnipeg Jets moved to the Western Conference.
The Eastern Conference is made up of the Metropolitan and Atlantic Divisions.
The league's newest division - the Metropolitan Division - is composed of the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Western Conference is made up of the Pacific and Central Divisions.
Adam Gretz of CBS Sports writes the new alignment will feature 30 games of Eastern Conference teams going up against their division opponents while 24 will be against those outside of their division. They will also play 28 interconference games (one at home and one on the road).
On the other hand, teams from the Western Conference will take on their division opponents 29 times. They will play in 21 games against conference opponents outside of their division. They will play more interconference games - 32 all in all with two at home and then two on the road.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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