UPDATE, Jan. 12: The players have voted in favour of the deal and the NHL has released the full schedule. The 99-day long season will start on Saturday, Jan. 19 with 13 games. Canadian fans will be treated to a CBC tripleheader with the Senators facing the Jets, The Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal against the Canadiens and Vancouver hosting the Anaheim Ducks. Calgary plays on Jan. 20 against San Jose and Edmonton Oilers start their season against Vancouver.
It's not official yet, but a shortened 48-game NHL season should start Saturday, Jan. 19. Which means you have about a week to get your face paint and jerseys ready, hockey fans.
Earlier this week, the NHL team owners met and ratified the collective bargaining agreement. We are waiting for the NHLPA to sign-off on the deal. This could happen as soon as this Saturday.
Details of the opening night of the season and the schedule are beginning to leak out along with details about the trade deadline and playoffs. All of these dates still have to be confirmed by the NHL.
Sportsnet is reporting that the playoffs could start on May 1 and run as late as June 28, if the Stanley Cup Playoffs go to Game 7. The Globe And Mail is reporting similar dates but with the final playoff game being scheduled for June 25.
Some tentative match-ups have begun to leak out about opening weekend:
The Leafs are set to face off against the Canadiens in Montreal on Jan. 19, according to SB Nation. The Star's Damien Cox is also reporting that the Leafs will hold their home opener on Jan. 21 against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Ottawa Senators will reportedly play the Winnipeg Jets on the 19th according to CBC's Elliotte Friedman. He also says that the Stanley Cup Champions Los Angeles Kings will open their season against the Blackhawks.
Rantsports reports that the Canucks would open up their season against the Anaheim Ducks. No word on whether the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers will face off against each other to kick off the season, although we're sure Alberta hockey fans (and the CBC) would appreciate that.
The Sporting News also reports that the Penguins and Flyers will revive their playoff grudge match while two powerhouses, the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings, will also face each other on the 19th.
All of these matchups are tentative and we'll update this post as they are confirmed.