The NHL launched its 2021-22 regular-season schedule on Thursday night time, that includes realigned divisions, a rebalanced schedule and a prolonged Olympic break if the league’s gamers take part within the 2022 Beijing Video games.
The schedule, which was introduced on SportsCenter, returns the NHL to a full 82-game common season after taking part in 56 video games in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Opening night time is Tuesday, Oct. 12, that includes the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning, who will elevate their Stanley Cup championship banner. The enlargement Seattle Kraken can even play their first recreation as they journey to Las Vegas to tackle the league’s different current enlargement workforce, the Vegas Golden Knights. Each video games are a part of an opening-night doubleheader simulcast on ESPN and ESPN+.
The 1,312-game common season concludes April 29, when 30 of the league’s 32 groups might be in motion.
The schedule has a major pause beginning on Feb. 3 that features each NHL All-Star Weekend and an Olympic break. All-Star Weekend is scheduled for Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas. The Olympic break begins on Feb. 7 and runs by means of Feb. 22.
The NHL agreed to effort a return to the Olympics in its collective bargaining settlement with the gamers final summer time. Negotiations are ongoing with the NHLPA and the Worldwide Ice Hockey Federation on excellent points, which incorporates applicable COVID-19 insurance coverage for NHL gamers in Beijing. If both the NHL or the NHLPA choose to not go to the Olympics, a revised regular-season schedule might be launched that can try to undertake the dates and video games within the present schedule.
Gone are the momentary divisions from final season, together with the All-Canadian North Division, because the league’s groups revert again to the alignment they’d within the 2019-20 season: the Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions within the Jap Convention and the Central and Pacific divisions within the Western Convention.
The Kraken, the NHL’s thirty second franchise, will be a part of the Pacific Division. The Arizona Coyotes are transferring to the Central Division starting subsequent season.
The addition of the Kraken altered the NHL’s schedule steadiness. Every workforce will play one residence and one away recreation in opposition to opponents within the different convention; three video games in opposition to the groups within the different division on their convention; and both 4 video games or three video games in opposition to the groups inside their very own division.
The NHL opted to not proceed having multi-game “homestands” for groups in opposition to the identical opponent in the identical metropolis, which have been a outstanding a part of the 2020-21 schedule and standard among the many gamers.
“I do know the coaches appreciated it and the gamers had a while for it. It does get outdated in some respects when it’s important to do a complete season of it. There was a small urge for food to have extra of a trial with it, however the schedule-makers have been underneath a tricky state of affairs,” stated Winnipeg GM Kevin Cheveldayoff. “I believe it was so much simpler once we have been in a COVID state of affairs and there have been no constructing points at the moment. You have received groups which have a number of tenants, concert events, all of the fantastic issues that we have missed. I believe that got here into play after they tried to place it to sensible use [this season].”
Among the many key dates within the NHL 2021-22 schedule:
Saturday, Oct. 23: The Kraken play their first residence recreation at Local weather Pledge Area in opposition to their geographic rival, the Vancouver Canucks.
Saturday, Nov. 20: After taking part in their first 13 video games on the highway to begin the season, the New York Islanders return residence to open the brand new UBS Area in opposition to the Calgary Flames.
Tuesday, Dec. 7: The Montreal Canadiens host the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of the Stanley Cup Closing.
Saturday, Jan. 1: The 2022 Winter Basic takes place at Goal Discipline, residence of the Minnesota Twins, because the Wild host the St. Louis Blues in a recreation postponed from final season.
Saturday, Feb. 26: The Lightning grow to be the twenty seventh NHL workforce to take part in an outside recreation as they journey to face the Nashville Predators in a Stadium Collection recreation at Nissan Stadium, residence of the Tennessee Titans.
Starting with the 2021-22 season, ESPN+ and Hulu might be residence to 75 unique, nationwide NHL recreation telecasts, and ESPN+ would be the unique residence for NHL’s out-of-market streaming package deal, with greater than 1,000 video games out there for followers to stream as a part of an ESPN+ subscription.