The NHL season would consist of 48 games and begin on Jan. 19, although there is still a chance at a 50-game season.
With the NHL lockout ending early on Sunday morning, the league and the 30 teams were busy attempting to find the best schedule to get the season back on track. With the new CBA still needing to be ratified by both the NHL and the NHLPA, an official schedule could not be released until those votes had been conducted.
The NHL Board of Governors is set to meet on Wednesday in New York City and with training camps likely not able to get underway as soon as was hoped. As such, the season will begin on Jan. 19 has had been previously speculated.
NHL sends memo to clubs indicating no camps before Saturday (and may not open until Monday), 48-game season to begin Jan. 19— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 7, 2013
There is a chance, however, that the NHL could start a much more balanced 50-game schedule that begins on Jan. 15. It all depends on how quickly the new CBA can be ratified, according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun. If both the NHL and NHLPA can ratify the new CBA in time, then camps would be able to get underway more quickly.
A 48-game schedule could be decidedly divisional-heavy, with speculation over the weekend stating that there would be seven games against each divisional opponent and 20 games against each of the ten remaining conference teams. There would be no inter-conference play.
There has been talk of a rumor that all 30 teams would play on Jan. 19, something that makes zero sense if there are to be no inter-conference games. So, still some specifics to work out, obviously.