Winnipeg Jets' Blake Wheeler (R) celebrates his goal against the Florida Panthers with Evander Kane (9) during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg March 1, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Fred Greenslade (CANADA - Tags: SPORT ICE HOCKEY) )
Even though the lockout has ended for the NHL, fans are still anxious as to how the season will ultimately unfold. The league has yet to announce an official schedule yet, but numerous reports have already indicated how the season will be broken down.
According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the league will opt for a 48-game schedule. Each team will play four games against two division opponents and five games against the other two divisional opponents. The remaining 30 games will feature three games against each of the 10 remaining opponents. This means that Eastern conference and Western conference teams will not play against one another until the Stanley Cup finals. The season is set to start on Jan. 19 and training camps are expected to open on Jan. 13.
There is no news on how the shortened season and compressed schedule will accommodate the Winnipeg Jets. The team was added to the league last year, but was forced to play in a division with Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida, and Carolina. The result was that the team traveled more than any other team in the league. The Jets should be a western conference squad, but since they replaced the Atlanta Thrashers over the summer of 2011, there was no time to realign the divisions. One rumor that had been spreading was the possibility of switching the Jets with the Columbus Blue Jackets or Nashville Predators since they are closer to the Southeast teams and Winnipeg is closer to the Central division squads in St. Louis, and Detroit. However, there has been no confirmation of either rumor and it is likely that the Jets will play with extensive travel this upcoming season.
Nothing is official since the CBA has not yet been ratified. That process is set to occur on Saturday in anticipation of training camps beginning the following day.