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NHL releases 2013-2014 season schedule

Doug Pensinger

After days of broken promises, the NHL has finally released the full schedule for the 2013-2014 season. Remember that there are new divisions this season, so things have changed a bit.

For the Avalanche, things start off with the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 2 at home. Buy your tickets now, folks, because there's going to be a #52 in the rafters that night. Apparently Footer night will NOT be on opening night. Don't dig the choice, but what can you do? Two days later, we get to see the first Nate v. Seth match up. Look for a gazillion story lines of "Did the Avs blow it?" especially if Nashville wins.

Then the boys go on their first road trip. It's only a three-day deal. In fact, the only road trips that go beyond three days are only four games long and come at the beginning of February and at the end of the season (the final four games, none of which are against current division opponents). That's going to be strange to have the Fan Appreciation and goodbye/thanks for the season night a week before the season ends. This is the first season in a long time that didn't feature a ridiculous road schedule for the Avs. In fact, the complete opposite is happening with a number of extended home stands, including a whopping 7-game stand in January. In addition, they have two additional four-game home stands.

There are ten back-to-backs spread evenly throughout the season, and two home-and-home series (Minnesota in November and Dallas in December).

On a personal note, I love seeing all the Eastern Conference teams on the list. Recall that the Avs will face each Eastern Conference team two times, one home and one away.

The burgundy and blue will be featured on national TV three times (Pittsburgh, New Jersey, Los Angeles) and NHL Network twice (Los Angeles, Detroit). The boys will also hit CBC one night (Montreal) and RDS (TSN) for both Montreal games.

Regular season opens on October 1st. There will be a number of breaks, including a Hall of Fame break on Nov. 8, Christmas Break on Dec. 24-26, Hockey Day in Canada on Jan. 18, and an Olympic Break from Feb. 9 through Feb. 25. Last day of the season is on April 13, and playoffs begin on April 16. Training camp opens on Sept. 11.

In addition to the schedule, the NHL also announced the division names. We are now official a part of the Central Division. WTF is up with the Metropolitan division? They couldn't come up with something better than that??

Pacific Division Central Division Metropolitan Division
Atlantic Division
Anaheim Chicago Carolina Boston
Calgary Colorado Columbus Buffalo
Edmonton Dallas New Jersey Detroit
Los Angeles Minnesota NY Islanders Florida
Phoenix Nashville NY Rangers Montreal
San Jose St. Louis Philadelphia Ottawa
Vancouver Winnipeg Pittsburgh Tampa Bay
Washington Toronto