The 2013–14 NHL season is the 97th season of operation (96th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL).
This season features a realignment of the league's 30 teams from a six to a four division format. The regular season began Tuesday, October 1, and will conclude on Sunday, April 13. The Stanley Cup Playoffs will be held from April 16 to mid-June.
The relocation of the former Atlanta Thrashers franchise to the current Winnipeg Jets in 2011 prompted the league to discuss realignment. On December 5, 2011, the NHL Board of Governors approved a conference realignment plan that would eliminate the current six-division setup and move into a four-conference structure from the 2012–2013 season.
Under the plan, which was designed to better accommodate the effects of time zone differences, each team would have played 36 or 38 intra-conference games, depending on whether it is in a seven- or eight-team conference, and two games (home and road) against each non-conference team.
On January 6, 2012, the league announced that the NHLPA had rejected the proposed realignment, citing concerns about fairness, travel and the inability to see a draft schedule before approving, and that as a result, it would not implement the realignment until at least 2013–14.
Upon NHLPA rejection of the previous realignment, a new joint NHL-NHLPA plan was proposed in February 2013 as a modification of the previous plan with both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings moving to the East and the Winnipeg Jets moving to the West.
This revised plan also adjusted the previously proposed four-conference system to a four-division, two-conference system, with the Eastern Conference consisting of two, eight-team divisions, and the Western Conference consisting of two, seven-team divisions.
A new playoff format was also introduced to accommodate the new proposal, with the top three teams in each division making the playoffs, along with two wild-cards in each conference (for a total of 16 playoff teams).
The NHLPA officially gave its consent to the NHL's proposed realignment plan on March 7 and then the NHL's Board of Governors approved the realignment and the new playoff format on March 14, to be implemented prior to the 2013–2014 season.
The league then announced the new names of the divisions on July 19: the two, eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference will be the Atlantic Division and the Metropolitan Division, and the two, seven-team divisions in the Western Conference will be the Central Division and the Pacific Division
The new alignment is as follows: Western Conference
Canadian TV dealsEdit
The league's Canadian broadcast agreements with CBC and TSN will expire at the end of the season.
- A requirement for all incoming players drafted since the 2013 draft has to wear visors. Visors remain optional for those drafted before the 2013 draft.
- Jerseys tucked in will now result in a two minute minor, as will other uniform infractions.
- The nets are now shallower.
- Goaltender pads are now smaller.
- Players who take their helmets off before a fight now receive a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty in addition to the five minute major.
- Hybrid icing has been adopted. Icing will now be called if the puck reaches the faceoff dot before the clearing team can collect the puck.
The Dallas Stars debuted a new logo, featuring a star with a letter D on it, as well as redesigned uniforms. The Carolina Hurricanes also debuted a new uniform design. The Buffalo Sabres introduced a new third jersey that will be primarily gold in color.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will also wear specialized jerseys for the Winter Classic. The Anaheim Ducks will introduce a replica of their inaugural 1993–94 jersey to wear for some regular season games and for the NHL Stadium Series against the Los Angeles Kings.
With realignment, a new scheduling format will also be introduced. Among the new features, the scheduling of interconference games will ensure that all 30 teams play in all 30 arenas at least once per season. Each team will play 50 or 54 games within their conference, depending on whether they are in a seven- or eight-team division, and two games (home and road) against each non-conference club.
There will be no all-star game this season, due to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. NHL, IIHF, and Olympic officials reached an agreement to send NHL players to the Olympics game. The league will be shut down on February 9 and then resume play on February 26. All players participating in their respective national teams will gather in four airport hubs and fly out to Sochi on February 9–10.
The 2014 NHL Winter Classic is scheduled to be held on January 1, 2014. The game, the sixth Winter Classic, will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The game was originally planned to be played on January 1, 2013, as the 2013 NHL Winter Classic, but was postponed due to the 2012–13 NHL lockout.
Heritage Classic ReturnsEdit
The 2014 NHL Heritage Classic, will feature the Ottawa Senators facing off against the home team Vancouver Canucks at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia. This will be the third outdoor game held in Canada following the Heritage Classic in 2011 when the Calgary Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
BC Place is a retractable roof venue, and it is unknown if the stadium has the capabilities to keep its roof open during inclement weather (several stadiums of the type explicitly cannot be kept open in such an environment due to drainage concerns).
Debut of the Stadium SeriesEdit
The league's announcement also stated that other outdoor games would be announced at a later date. The NHL announced an unprecedented six outdoor NHL games for the 2013–14 season: one Winter Classic, four Stadium Series games, and a Heritage Classic game.
For the two Stadium Series games they are involved in at Yankee Stadium, the New York Rangers will be the away team due to contract obligations with Madison Square Garden as they can't receive income from other venues in New York as the home team.
The six outdoor games are as follows:
|Date||Site||Away Team||Home Team|
|January 1, 2014||Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan||Toronto Maple Leafs||Detroit Red Wings|
|January 25, 2014||Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles||Anaheim Ducks||Los Angeles Kings|
|January 26, 2014||Yankee Stadium, New York City||New York Rangers||New Jersey Devils|
|January 29, 2014||Yankee Stadium, New York City||New York Rangers||New York Islanders|
|March 1, 2014||Soldier Field, Chicago||Pittsburgh Penguins||Chicago Blackhawks|
|March 2, 2014||BC Place, Vancouver||Ottawa Senators||Vancouver Canucks|
The following players lead the league in points following the conclusion of games played as of October 12, 2013.
GP = Games played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; +/– = Plus-minus; PIM = Penalty minutes
|Sidney Crosby||Pittsburgh Penguins||5||5||4||9||+1||4|
|Tomas Hertl||San Jose Sharks||5||7||1||8||+7||0|
|Joffrey Lupul||Toronto Maple Leafs||6||5||3||8||0||5|
|Alexander Steen||St. Louis Blues||4||4||4||8||+5||4|
|Lars Eller||Montreal Canadiens||5||5||2||7||+5||6|
|Alexander Ovechkin||Washington Capitals||5||5||2||7||–3||8|
|Steven Stamkos||Tampa Bay Lightning||5||4||3||7||+3||0|
|Michael Grabner||New York Islanders||5||2||5||7||+5||0|
|Jiri Hudler||Calgary Flames||5||2||5||7||+3||0|
|Martin St. Louis||Tampa Bay Lightning||5||2||5||7||+3||0|
The following goaltenders lead the league in goals against average following the conclusion of games played as of October 12, 2013 while playing at least 55 minutes.
|Jean-Sebastien Giguere||Colorado Avalanche||1||59:58||1||0||0||0||1||1.00||0.00|
|Semyon Varlamov||Colorado Avalanche||4||239:45||4||0||0||4||0||.970||1.00|
|Tuukka Rask||Boston Bruins||4||239:10||3||1||0||4||0||.965||1.00|
|Peter Budaj||Montreal Canadiens||1||60:00||1||0||0||1||0||.964||1.00|
|Josh Harding||Minnesota Wild||3||167:32||2||1||0||3||0||.944||1.07|
|Antti Niemi||San Jose Sharks||5||299:40||5||0||0||7||0||.939||1.40|
|Jonas Hiller||Anaheim Ducks||2||124:55||2||0||0||3||1||.955||1.44|
|Thomas Greiss||Phoenix Coyotes||2||80:00||1||0||0||2||0||.956||1.50|
|Anton Khudobin||Carolina Hurricanes||2||119:57||2||0||0||3||0||.940||1.50|
|Kari Lehtonen||Dallas Stars||3||153:08||2||1||0||4||0||.953||1.57|
The following is a list of notable players who played their first NHL game during the 2013–14 season, listed with their first team:
|Nathan MacKinnon||Colorado Avalanche||First overall pick in the 2013 Draft|
The following is a list of players of note who played their last NHL game in 2013–14, listed with their team:
Major milestones reachedEdit
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