The NHL's schedule for a 2012-13 season has been set, and while there is no confirmation that the season will happen, nor will the TV schedule be released until August, but there are some clear notable dates you can find just from a cursory glance. Here are some of them:
- The 2013 Winter Classic, as we've all long known, will take place between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at The Big House on January 1st a 1:00 p.m. ET. They will not play a game leading into the Classic, which may make HBO's 24/7 a little less entertaining.
- Opening Night! The Bruins and Flyers will do battle once again on the NHL's first night for the second straight season, this time in Philadelphia on October 11th. Meanwhile, the Blues and Avalanche will face off in the second half of the NBC Sports Network doubleheader. This marks the fifth time the Avs have opened up the season on US TV since the lockout (really? really). In Canada, the Canadiens and Senators will mark the first time since the lockout that the Leafs haven't played on opening night by playing on CBC, with Canucks-Flames will cap the night off up north.
- The Los Angeles Kings appear set to get some TV recognition for their Stanley Cup Championship. NBC Sports Network will air the banner-raising from Staples Center, as the Kings host the MSG renovation road warriors from New York on October 12th. It will be the first time VERSUS/NBCSN have produced their own coverage for a Kings regular season game in Los Angeles (i.e. no simulcasts) since 2007. Later in the year, it appears the Kings will actually get a date on NBC, with the Kings playing an unnecessarily early 12:30 p.m. ET game on Super Bowl Sunday against the Capitals. NBC typically airs a hockey game on Super Bowl Sunday when they aren't airing the game themselves.
- The NHL's newly created Thanksgiving Showdown looks set to return for another year, with the Rangers and Boston slated to play at 1:00 p.m. ET on Friday, November 23rd. That's the same slot the Red Wings-Bruins showdown was placed in last year. Worth noting: NBC will now likely air a New York Jets/New England Patriots NFL game on Thanksgiving night, and then another New York-Boston showdown the next day.
- Hockey Day in America appears to be labeled for February 17th. Flyers-Rangers, Sabres-Penguins, Bruins-Blackhawks and Red Wings-Wild all somehow scheduled for the same day? Those are usually 4-6 weeks worth of typical NBC match-ups.
- Hockey Day in Canada will be hosted by Lloydminster, Saskatchewan on February 9th. The Oilers visit the Flyers, the Leafs and Habs square off, as well as Flames-Senators and Canucks-Jets.
- I would be very surprised if the first re-match of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final between the Devils and Rangers on October 17th isn't on NBC Sports Network.
- After years of only one or two games making their way to national television, every Penguins-Capitals game this season (Oct. 11, Dec. 11, Dec. 31, and Apr. 7) take place on either NBC or NBC Sports Network broadcast nights.