As the NHL and NHLPA finalize their plans to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, a timeline for training camp and the start of the regular season is beginning to take shape.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email to The Washington Post that the league is targeting Sunday, Jan. 13, for the opening date of training camps and Saturday, Jan. 19, for the start of a 48-game regular season.
That schedule would leave only six days for a truncated training camp, if you can even call it that.
“I don’t really view it as a camp,” Coach Adam Oates said Tuesday. “I mean, we’re playing hockey. We got a game in a week. That’s not a training camp. There’s not an exhibition game. So to me it’s more like it’s the middle of the year when you had a five-day break and you gotta play.”
The NHL’s Board of Governors is slated to vote on the ratification of the new CBA on Wednesday in New York — General Manager George McPhee will attend the meeting — while the NHLPA’s ratification process may not conclude until Saturday.
Where the Capitals season will start, though, remains uncertain.
Given that the second inauguration of President Obama is Jan. 21, there has been speculation that they might start on the road. The original 2012-13 schedule had the Capitals slated to play at Tampa Bay on Jan. 19 and at Florida on Jan. 21 for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee, but the league is currently constructing a new schedule for the shortened season.
“The schedule has changed a lot already,” McPhee said. “It looked like we were starting with two games on the road and now it looks like we’re starting with three at home, but it might all change tomorrow.”
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, teams will only face in-conference opponents. Also via McKenzie, the schedule would break down into four games against two divisional opponents; five games vs. the two other divisional opponents and three games against each of the other 10 conference teams.