The Detroit Red Wings released their 2012-13 schedule on Thursday, with the regular-season opener set for Oct. 12 against the Predators at Joe Louis Arena.
You can check out the complete schedule by clicking here. But before you go do that, here’s a look at some of the highlights — and lowlights — on next season’s docket:
• Lockout Pending?: The NHL’s current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15., just about as the preseason opens and less than a month before the regular-season schedule begins. If the owners and players can’t come to an agreement on a new CBA, a lockout could push back the start of the 2012-13 season (or cancel it entirely). In that circumstance, it’s likely that the league would slice the season’s 82-game slate down, and the easiest way to do that might be by picking chopping from the start of the schedule.
• Original Six Action: The Red Wings will host all of the other Original Six teams over the course of the year. The Blackhawks, of course, come to town multiple times, with Boston visiting on Dec. 10, Montreal on Jan. 30 and the Rangers on Mar. 20. The Maple Leafs, of course, will be the guests for the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, which will start at 1 p.m. ET. Unfortunately for fans of old-school hockey, Chicago is the only Original Six team that Detroit will play away from home.
• Hello Again, Winnipeg: The Red Wings did not travel to Winnipeg last season, the Jets’ first year back in the league after relocating from Atlanta. That will change in 2011-12 (if the lockout is avoided), with the Wings heading to Winnipeg on Oct. 27. The Jets will come to Detroit on April 5.
• More Eastern Conference Showdowns: There are two games on the slate against the defending Eastern Conference champion Devils — Nov. 15 in Detroit and Feb. 21 at the Rock. A pair of games with the Penguins also dot the schedule — Nov. 19 in Detroit and Dec. 27 at Pittsburgh. For the second straight season, the Wings will welcome in Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals (Dec. 7)
• Holiday Fun: Thanksgiving weekend will be chock full of Wings action. Detroit hosts St. Louis on Nov. 21 in its annual Thanksgiving Eve game, then plays on both the Friday (at Florida) and Saturday (at Tampa Bay) following Turkey Day. The Winter Classic will highlight New Year’s Day. Another odd scheduling quirk occurs on Monday, Oct. 22, when the Wings-Canucks game at the Joe is set for a 6 p.m. start to accommodate the Lions’ appearance on “Monday Night Football” later in the evening.
• Home, Sweet Home: You’ll have plenty of chances to swing by the Joe in December to check out the Red Wings. Detroit plays eight of its first nine games at home that month, with the first five coming at the end of a long seven-game homestand. The flip side of that is the road games have to come sometime. Detroit will be at home just three times in October, closing the month by embarking on a West Coast swing. Detroit also plays 10 of 14 away from home in February.