Those of you eagerly awaiting the unveiling of the 2013-14 NHL schedule will have to hold out a little bit longer.
The schedule was originally rumored to be released Wednesday, but NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Thursday that delays in discussions over whether the league will send players to the 2014 Olympics have pushed back the announcement.
“There has been no final agreement on the terms of Olympic participation at this point,” Daly told NHL.com. “And unless, or until, there is, the release of the 2013-14 regular-season schedule would be premature. Having said that, we hope that a final resolution on both matters can be achieved in the very near future.”
NHL players have competed in every Winter Olympiad since 1998, but a deal between the NHL, players’ association, International Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation to send players to the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, has not yet been finalized. If an agreement is made, the league will take a two-week hiatus in February to allow players to represent their countries.
When it is released, this year’s NHL schedule will have a different look than in seasons past. The new realignment plan has trimmed the number of divisions from six to four and shifted both Detroit and Columbus to the Eastern Conference.
Each team will now play division opponents either four or five times throughout the season, other conference foes three times and non-conference teams twice. In another new wrinkle, all teams will visit each arena in the league at least once per season.
The season will likely begin during the first week of October.