Now that the lockout is just about over and the Red Wings have taken to the ice for informal (soon to be formal) practices, it's time to start looking forward to the season that will be.
[Update 10:44pm - The NHL has officially released the schedule which matches what is posted below.]
[Update 10:54pm] Ticket sale information released per press release from the Red Wings:
Detroit’s first home game is scheduled to be played on Tuesday, Jan. 22, versus the Dallas Stars. Tickets to this match and all 24 of the Red Wings’ 2012-13 home games are set to go on sale this coming Thursday, Jan. 17, beginning at 1:00 p.m. As part of the Red Wings ‘Thanks for sticking with us’ initiative, the club and Ticketmaster have teamed up for 35 hours of no fees for any regular season ticket purchased. From 1:00 p.m. on Thursday through midnight Friday, tickets purchased at Detroitredwings.com, Ticketmaster.com, the Joe Louis Arena Box Office or by calling 313-396-7575 will be Fee-Free.
Full season ticket packages as well as Six and 12 Game Plans are on sale now. For more information, contact the Red Wings Ticket Sales & Service Office at 313-396-7575 or visit DetroitRedWings.com.
Clark at DetroitHockey.net was able to get his hands on the 2013 schedule, and we finally get a chance to see the path the Wings will take to return to the playoffs. Please note that this is not the official schedule and is subject to change.
|January 19, 2013||St. Louis Blues||Away||8:00 PM|
|January 21, 2013||Columbus Blue Jackets||Away||7:30 PM|
|January 22, 2013||Dallas Stars||Home||7:30 PM|
|January 25, 2013||Minnesota Wild||Home||7:30 PM|
|January 27, 2013||Chicago Blackhawks||Away||7:00 PM|
|January 29, 2013||Dallas Stars||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 1, 2013||St. Louis Blues||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 2, 2013||Columbus Blue Jackets||Away||7:00 PM|
|February 5, 2013||Calgary Flames||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 7, 2013||St. Louis Blues||Away||8:00 PM|
|February 9, 2013||Edmonton Oilers||Home||2:00 PM|
|February 10, 2013||Los Angeles Kings||Home||12:30 PM|
|February 13, 2013||St. Louis Blues||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 15, 2013||Anaheim Ducks||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 17, 2013||Minnesota Wild||Away||6:00 PM|
|February 19, 2013||Nashville Predators||Away||8:00 PM|
|February 21, 2013||Columbus Blue Jackets||Home||7:30 PM|
|February 23, 2013||Nashville Predators||Home||7:00 PM|
|February 24, 2013||Vancouver Canucks||Home||5:00 PM|
|February 27, 2013||Los Angeles Kings||Away||10:30 PM|
|February 28, 2013||San Jose Sharks||Away||10:30 PM|
|March 3, 2013||Chicago Blackhawks||Home||12:30 PM|
|March 5, 2013||Colorado Avalanche||Home||7:30 PM|
|March 7, 2013||Edmonton Oilers||Home||7:30 PM|
|March 9, 2013||Columbus Blue Jackets||Away||2:00 PM|
|March 10, 2013||Columbus Blue Jackets||Home||5:00 PM|
|March 13, 2013||Calgary Flames||Away||9:30 PM|
|March 15, 2013||Edmonton Oilers||Away||9:30 PM|
|March 16, 2013||Vancouver Canucks||Away||10:00 PM|
|March 20, 2013||Minnesota Wild||Home||7:30 PM|
|March 22, 2013||Anaheim Ducks||Away||10:00 PM|
|March 24, 2013||Anaheim Ducks||Away||8:00 PM|
|March 25, 2013||Phoenix Coyotes||Away||10:00 PM|
|March 28, 2013||San Jose Sharks||Away||10:30 PM|
|March 31, 2013||Chicago Blackhawks||Home||12:30 PM|
|April 1, 2013||Colorado Avalanche||Home||7:30 PM|
|April 4, 2013||Phoenix Coyotes||Away||10:00 PM|
|April 5, 2013||Colorado Avalanche||Away||9:00 PM|
|April 7, 2013||St. Louis Blues||Home||12:30 PM|
|April 11, 2013||San Jose Sharks||Home||7:30 PM|
|April 12, 2013||Chicago Blackhawks||Away||8:30 PM|
|April 14, 2013||Nashville Predators||Away||7:30 PM|
|April 17, 2013||Calgary Flames||Away||9:30 PM|
|April 20, 2013||Vancouver Canucks||Away||10:00 PM|
|April 22, 2013||Phoenix Coyotes||Home||7:30 PM|
|April 24, 2013||Los Angeles Kings||Home||7:30 PM|
|April 25, 2013||Nashville Predators||Home||7:30 PM|
|April 27, 2013||Dallas Stars||Away||8:00 PM|
Not too bad, but considering we're looking at 48 games in the space of a shade over 3 months, it's going to be a grind.
Technically, it's an unbalanced schedule, but the Wings will play 18 games within the Central and 30 games against the rest of the West. That means no traveling East at any point, so forget about any "potential Stanley Cup Finals preview" games.
With regards to the Central, the Wings will take on the Blues and Blue Jackets 5 times each and the Blackhawks and Predators 4 times each. In a weird twist, the Wings will play the Blues 4 times within the first month of the short season, and then not again until April.
Rather than have one long road trip through California and one through Western Canada, the Wings will not have a road trip longer than 4 games. However, they will also only have one homestand of 4 games, the rest being 3 or shorter.
The big issue with a compressed schedule is back-to-backs and time off. The Wings will play a grand total of 12 back-to-backs, 4 of them of the home-and-home variety. Of those, 8 fall within the dreaded "3 games in 4 nights" category.
Looking at the end of the schedule, the Wings will only have 4 games against Central opponents in April. That means that if the Wings are in the thick of a race for the division (hopefully) or a lower-seeded playoff spot (more likely), they won't get to have the 4-point games within the division. However, what that does mean is they might have more control over their fate by being able to play outside the division against the teams they might be fighting with over that playoff spot. Also interesting to note in April is that the Wings will have two breaks of 2 days and one of 3 days late in the season.