Now that the league finalized its agreement to let it players participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics, the NHL finally got to the business of letting people know who plays who and when.
The full 2013-14 schedule was released Friday, moments after the long expected move to send players to Sochi, Russia, in February was announced. The Ducks will open their 20th season of action on Oct. 2 at Colorado one night after six teams break the ice in three games. CLICK HERE FOR THE DUCKS’ SCHEDULE. CLICK HERE FOR THE KINGS’ SCHEDULE.
The Ducks will continue their season-opening trip to Minnesota on Oct. 5 and Winnipeg on Oct. 6. For the latter game, it remains to be seen if Teemu Selanne will make one more appearance in the city where he began his wondrous NHL career.
Following the three-game trip, the Ducks will play their first game at Honda Center on Oct. 10 against the New York Rangers to start a five-game homestand before heading back east for a season-long eight-game sojourn.
No other road trip will be longer than four games. The Ducks compensate for spending much of the first half on the road by leaving Southern California only twice over a 14-game stretch from Jan. 21 to March 10.
Within that is the Stadium Series outdoor game against the Kings at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25, which will be a nationally televised 6:30 p.m. PST start. The NHL will go dark from Feb. 9-26 as the Olympic men’s hockey competition will take place from Feb. 12-23.
A handful of Ducks could be taking part, most notably Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry (Canada), Jonas Hiller and Luca Sbisa (Switzerland), Cam Fowler (United States), Saku Koivu and possibly Selanne (Finland).
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had long hinted that an agreement would be reached but not after months of laborious negotiations. The players have always wanted to participate in the Olympics, but teams have shown the most resistance in the past, fearful that their players could be injured and not available to them after the tournament.
“The decision to participate in the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi was in many ways a difficult one, but one that we know will be well received by our players and, most importantly, by the vast majority of our fans and sports fans everywhere,” Bettman said in a statement.
Said Donald Fehr, head of the players’ union: “Having the opportunity to wear their nation’s sweater in Sochi is something the players look forward to.”
Meanwhile, the Kings will open up on Oct. 3 at Minnesota and face the Rangers in their home opener at Staples Center on Oct. 9. The Ducks and Kings will now compete in the new Pacific Division with San Jose, Phoenix, Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary.
The other three divisional names in the 2013-14 realignment are the Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan. The Ducks and Kings will play five divisional opponents five times and the other one four times.
Both will take on the seven teams in the Central Divison three times and play home-and-home contests against every Eastern Conference team.
The Ducks will end the season at home against Colorado on April 13, one night after bringing a close to the Kings’ regular slate at Staples. The Stanley Cup playoffs are slated to begin on April 16.