Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Report: NHL season to start Jan. 13 with 56-game season

The National Hockey League will be back in the middle of January with a 56-game season, according to an ESPN report.

According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshyski, the season will kick off on January 13th and feature a 56-game season.

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On Monday night, TSN’s Darren Dreger reported that there would be a 10-day camp with no exhibition games. Dreger also reported that while there’s work left to be done, the expectation is the NHL Board of Governors will approve the plan.

One of the biggest blocks in the getting a season back in action was reported to be financial issues, however, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun confirmed through NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly that the league and player association moved past that.

Dreger added that there “will be no more discussions on proposed financial changes” to a memorandum of understanding in terms of the CBA.

What appears to be news that’s all but official is huge. These last few months without what would be a regular hockey season has been weird, to say the least. But in saying that, we can all now fire up our NHL season advent calenders as if all goes well, it looks like we’ll have hockey back on our TV’s sooner rather than later.

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As for the Edmonton Oilers, a number of players have already been skating back in Edmonton and captain Connor McDavid return to the city just a few days ago.

One big question that remains is how the NHL will schedule their 56-games. The NHL has the largest hurdle continuing to be a border between the U.S. and Canada that’s largely closed. How will the NHL manoeuvre this? Well, for one, they could go with their Canadian Division to keep Canadian teams north of the border.

I’ve been a fan of this concept since it was first around and I think it could help to re-spark some rivalries. Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg could see their rivalries kick back up, while things undoubtedly would get heated out east with Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

As FlamesNation editor Ryan Pike noted on Twitter, a typical NHL season is 184 days long, or roughly 2.24 days per game. Pro-rating that over a 56-game season, it would be about 126 days long if the season started on Jan. 13 meaning the season would, in theory, end around May 18.

The NHL would clearly have a bit of flexibility in timing games.

Additional note from our friends at OddsShark: “However, despite today’s announcement, the odds are not in favour of a January 13th return. According to Bovada, the chances of us seeing the puck drop on or before January 15th may be slim, with odds of +160, while a start date of after January 16th is currently listed at -230.”

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On Twitter: @zjlaing