NHL slate, division names revealed

The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks will host the Washington Capitals on the opening night of the NHL season Oct. 1, the league announced Friday.

The Capitals-Blackhawks tilt will be part of a three-game opening night that will include the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Montreal Canadiens and the Winnipeg Jets at the Edmonton Oilers.

The 1,230-game regular season will conclude April 13. The Stanley Cup playoffs will begin April 16.

The league will take a two-and-a-half-week break from Feb. 9-26 due to the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The NHL and its players reached a deal with the International Ice Hockey Federation earlier Friday to put the season on hold again so the game’s biggest stars can compete in the Games.

The NHL also announced its new division names. The seven-team Pacific and Central divisions will comprise the Western Conference. The eight-team Metropolitan and Atlantic divisions will comprise the Eastern Conference. No teams in what was the previous Atlantic Division are in the new group of that name. Read more on this release here…

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