Penguins, NHL set to drop puck Jan. 13

Penguins+at+Capitals+5%2F10%2F17

Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Penguins at Capitals 5/10/17

Matthew Szymanowski, Staff Writer

Following a lengthy delay, the NHL is finally slated to begin this Wednesday, Jan. 13.

The Pens face the Flyers at 5:30 p.m.

Back in 2020, the NHL season had a four-month hiatus due to COVID-19. They resumed in August and finished on Sept. 28 when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup.

In a normal year, the NHL would start in October. Obviously, they could not do that because they needed to give the players an off-season.

Though they would have liked to begin this season earlier, they agreed upon a mid-January start.

One of the biggest obstacles they had to overcome was planning the schedule.

Since it is very difficult to get across the border to Canada due to coronavirus concerns, the NHL had to figure out a new plan. The NBA and MLB each only have one team in Canada, so they have temporarily been relocated. For the NHL however, they have seven teams who call Canada their home.

Due to that fact, they have realigned the divisions so that all the Canadian teams will only play each other. They shaped up like this:

East Division:

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Buffalo Sabers
  3. New Jersey Devils
  4. New York Islanders
  5. New York Rangers
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Washington Capitals

Central Division:

  1. Carolina Hurricanes
  2. Chicago Blackhawks
  3. Columbus Blue Jackets
  4. Dallas Stars
  5. Detroit Red Wings
  6. Florida Panthers
  7. Nashville Predators
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning

West Division:

  1. Anaheim Ducks
  2. Arizona Coyotes
  3. Colorado Avalanche
  4. Los Angeles Kings
  5. Minnesota Wild
  6. San Jose Sharks
  7. St. Louis Blues
  8. Vegas Golden Knights

North Division:

  1. Calgary Flames
  2. Edmonton Oilers
  3. Montreal Canadiens
  4. Ottawa Senators
  5. Toronto Maple Leafs
  6. Vancouver Canucks
  7. Winnipeg Jets

Each team will play 56 games this season. They will only play teams within their division, and the top four teams from each division will make the playoffs.

For our hometown Pittsburgh Penguins, this should be a very interesting season.

Following a first-round exit last season, GM Jim Rutherford decided to shake up the roster.

They let defenseman Justin Schultz leave via free agency, along with forwards Dominik Simon, Conor Sheary, and Patrick Marleau.

They traded away two-time Stanley Cup champions Matt Murray and Patric Hornqvist as well.

However, they picked up some big pieces as well.

They acquired Kaspari Kapanen, Jon Gruden, Mike Matheson, and Colton Sceviour via trade, and signed Cody Ceci and Mark Jankowski to one-year contracts.

Though many doubted this season would be possible, hockey will drop the puck on Wednesday. It should be a very fun, different, and exciting season for the Penguins and for the NHL.

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