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It Looks Like the NHL’s Going With a 48-Game Schedule

he New Jersey Devils play the New York Rangers in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. Madison Square Garden.

When news broke that the NHL and NHLPA had reached a tentative agreement that would save the season, the exact nature of the shortened schedule wasn’t yet known. Not that the league had all that many options: It was reportedly considering either a 48-game schedule that would begin on January 19 or a slightly longer 50-game slate that would begin on January 15. But since it’s taking longer than expected for the new CBA to be made official — the owners and players have to vote before the lockout can officially end — it looks like the NHL will stage a 48-game season this year, just as it did following the 1994–95 lockout. The league sent a memo to teams that said January 19 was the most likely start date, and since training camps reportedly won’t open until Saturday at the earliest, starting the season on Tuesday the 15 would appear to be unrealistic. (One report says camps won’t open before Sunday.) This much, however, is known: Bill Daly tells Puck Daddy via e-mail that the playoffs won't be expanded to include twenty teams this year. (As for expansion beyond this year? "I don't think any is being contemplated beyond this year either," said Daly.)

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Photo: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images