Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blues' schedule released on Friday

By Andrew Allsman| Posted: July 20, 2013| Contact  |

The National Hockey League released its 2013-14 schedule on Friday, appeasing fans around the league.

The schedule release was delayed as the league and players finalized an agreement with the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation, allowing the players to participate in the 2014 Olympic games. The agreement was finalized, and announced on Friday. As a result of the Olympic games, the league will be shutting down from Feb. 9 to Feb. 25 for the games. The Blues will have an 18-day break between games during that stretch.

NHL training camps open on Sept. 11. The Blues will have approximately two-and-a-half weeks of training camp before their season gets underway.

The Blues will be opening their season at home against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 3, kicking off the new season, with a new format, in front of home fans.

Under the new realignment plan, which the NHL has been working on for several years, each team will play in each NHL arena at least once per season. This means that the Blues will be seeing plenty of the Eastern Conference this season, and will be doing plenty of traveling as well. Every Eastern Conference team will be coming to Scottrade Center once this season, and the Blues will be traveling to each Eastern Conference arena as well, which is different from years past.

As part of the realignment plan, there will be four divisions divided into two conferences. The division names, which were also released on Friday, will be: Central, Pacific, Atlantic, and Metropolitan. The Blues will remain in the Central division, but it won't be the same divisional make-up that the Blues are familiar with.

When the new plan was ratified, Columbus and Detroit, both formerly part of the Central division, were moved to the Eastern Conference. While two teams move to the East, just one team, the Winnipeg Jets, will be moving to the West. Winnipeg will be joining the Blues in the Central division.

 Besides the Blues and Jets, the Central division includes: the Blackhawks, Stars, Predators, Avalanche, and Wild. The West, made up of the Central and Pacific divisions, will house 14 teams, one less than last season. The East will be made up of 16 teams divided into the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions. 

Teams in the West will play five games against five of their divisional opponents, and will play four against the sixth opponent. In the Blues' case, they will play five games against every team in their conference except for Colorado. The Blues will travel for three of their five games against Nashville, Chicago, and Minnesota, while hosting Winnipeg and Dallas three times. 

Outside of their division, the Blues will play every other Western Conference team three times per season. 

The Blues, after hosting Nashville on Oct. 3 to start the season, will play four consecutive games at home. It is one of three five game home stands this year. The Blues' longest stretch on the road is four games, which they encounter twice in the upcoming season.

The Blues will have 13 of their games televised on NBC Sports, as well as two on NHL Network. The rest are expected to be aired by Fox Sports Midwest.

On National television, the Blues will be facing off against the Blackhawks (3), Sharks, Coyotes, Wild (2), Kings, Bruins, Lightning, Flyers, Capitals, and Red Wings.

The Blues' season comes to a close on Apr. 13 as the Blues face the Red Wings at home. The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin three days later on Apr. 16.

View the full schedule on the Blues' website: