Even with the specter of a lockout or shortened season hanging over them, the Columbus Blue Jackets released their 2012-13 regular season schedule.
Highlights of the schedule, which is equally split between 41 home and road games:
- The season opener on October 13 is a road game against division rival Chicago Blackhawks. This kicks off a three game road trip which includes games against the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs.
- The Blue Jackets play their first home game in Nationwide Arena on October 19 against the Vancouver Canucks.
- On December 2, for only the fourth time in the team’s history, the Blue Jackets will host the Montreal Canadiens.
- The Blue Jackets will host the Blackhawks on New Year’s Eve.
- February features a six-game home stand, beginning with the Colorado Avalanche on the 8th and ending with the Anaheim Ducks on the 18th. That stretch matches the longest in the history of the franchise.
- Home-and-home games will be played against three Eastern Conference teams: the Winnipeg Jets, New Jersey Devils and Carolina Hurricanes.
- The Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings play the Blue Jackets in Columbus for two games on November 10 and November 30.
- The Blue Jackets end the season on the road on April 13 against Minnesota.
Games within the Central Division include:
- The Blue Jackets hosting the Detroit Red Wings on October 23, March 8 and April 2.
- The Nashville Predators will come to Columbus on November 23, January 17 and March 12.
- Along with the New Year’s Eve game, the Blackhawks will visit on January 29 and March 18.
- The St. Louis Blues will play in Columbus on January 15, January 31 and April 9.
Schedules were released despite the fact that negotiations have yet to begin between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association to finalize a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current one ends on September 15, and the possibility of a shortened season or complete lockout becomes more of a reality as that date draws closer.
The entire schedule can be seen here. Ticket information for individual games will be announced at a later date.