Although the official 48-game schedule remains very much in flux, the “crucial dates” are beginning to come into focus. Here are some of the key dates so far:
- News began to filter through most of the league’s beat writers last night that the season will begin for most teams on Saturday, Jan. 19. As Tom Gulitti of The Record notes, the Prudential Center is booked that date, meaning the Devils will likely open on the road.
- The Globe & Mail reports broadcast executives have been told the lockout will push the NHL season a month later than usual. The regular season will end in the beginning of May and the Stanley Cup playoffs could end as late as June 25, while John Shannon says the Cup finals could stretch to June 28.
- According to Puck Daddy, all of these schedule shenanigans means the NHL draft — to be hosted by the Devils and the Prudential Center — will be held June 29-30. For those following the math, that means we could see the season end one night and the draft start the next.
All of these dates are very much in flux and, as you can see, different reporters have heard different things regarding specific end dates. The one thing we do know is the CBA is expected to ratified Saturday with training camps opening Sunday. Whether Ilya Kovalchuk will be there Sunday is another issue entirely.