The NHL wanted to make sure all agreements were in place regarding the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, before releasing the regular season schedule.
As expected, the NHL will put the season on pause from February 9 – 25, 2014, so that players can represent their national teams and compete in Sochi. The season then resumes on Wednesday, February 26.
This season, divisions have been realigned with two divisions in the Western Conference and two divisions in the Eastern Conference. The best part about the realignment is that every team will play in every building, unlike the previous iteration that saw Western and Eastern Conference teams visit only once every three years. In fact, every team in every building, every year, has not happened since 1997-1998.
Under the new format, the Ducks will compete within a seven-team Pacific Division that contains old division rivals Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Jose, but now includes Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton as well. Anaheim will play against five divisional opponents five times each throughout the season, and one opponent four times during the season. They will face the other Western Conference division opponents three times each. The Eastern Conference teams split one home and one away game each.
Anaheim, who will be celebrating their 20th anniversary season, begins and ends their season against the Colorado Avalanche. The Ducks open the season with a three-game road trip starting October 2 and come home for their opener on October 10 against the New York Rangers.
The big game will be on January 25 with the Ducks and Kings facing off in Dodger Stadium as part of the NHL's Stadium Series.
Other games to look forward to are against Ottawa on Sunday, October 13, when Bobby Ryan makes his first appearance at the Honda Center in a Senators jersey. The annual after Thanksgiving matinee will be against Calgary this year, instead of the current Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. Detroit will no longer be as much of a thorn in Anaheim's side as they are now where they belong in the Eastern Conference. Winnipeg will come to town for the first time since moving from Atlanta two years ago.
As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations the Ducks are planning look backs at great moments in Ducks history and retro merchandise available for purchase. One can only hope that the weird Duck bursting out of the ice that was a third jersey for a brief while will not be included.
There will be a “Throwback Night” near the start of the regular season, paying homage to the inaugural 1993-94 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim season. Again, one can only hope that setting a Duck on fire and the strange "Iceman" will not cometh back. Some things are better left as ancient history.
Much to look forward to, including being able to now count the days until training camp begins on September 11 (54 days). Thank goodness this season will actually start on time.