The NHL informed the Bruins on Wednesday that they will open the season on Jan. 19 at TD Garden against the New York Rangers, according to a team source. It will likely be a 7 p.m. start, although that could change.
It’s possible the Bruins could begin the season with a multi-game homestand. The Celtics are not at home that weekend and do play at the Garden until Jan. 24. The Bruins were originally scheduled to play Toronto on Jan. 21. That matchup could remain in the revised 48-game schedule.
If the NHL does not make last-minute schedule changes, the season opener will feature two Original Six teams. Last season, the Rangers lost to New Jersey in the Eastern Conference finals.
On July 23, 2012, the Rangers pulled off one of the summer’s biggest blockbusters, acquiring power forward Rick Nash from the Blue Jackets, with Brandon Dubinsky and a 2013 first-round pick the most significant pieces going to Columbus.
Nash will complement an existing core that includes goalie Henrik Lundqvist, defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, and captain Ryan Callahan.
Owners ratify CBA
Commissioner Gary Bettman secured unanimous ownership support for the pending labor deal, then apologized to everyone hurt by the long lockout and said he isn’t going anywhere.
The league’s board of governors met in a Manhattan hotel and overwhelmingly approved the agreement that was reached early Sunday on the 113th day of the lockout.
Bettman felt the full brunt of anger, especially from fans, during the four-month dispute that kept hockey off the ice. But he was contrite in announcing the latest step by the owners. He said he wants to look forward and not back at the mess created by the work stoppage.
‘‘Most importantly to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I am sorry,’’ Bettman said. ‘‘I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months, but I owe you an apology nevertheless.
‘‘As commissioner of the National Hockey League it sometimes falls upon me to make tough decisions that disappoint and occasionally anger players and fans. This was a long and extremely difficult negotiation — one that took a lot longer than anybody wanted. I know it caused frustration, disappointment, and even suffering to a lot of people who have supported the National Hockey League in many different ways.’’
In his nearly 20 years as commissioner, Bettman has presided over three lockouts. One caused the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, another led to a 48-game season in 1995 — much like is expected for this season.
The latest lockout wiped out 510 games. Overall, 2,208 games have been lost by labor disputes during his tenure. But Bettman was quick to call any speculation he might consider stepping down from his post as ‘‘unfounded.’’
‘‘I am looking forward to continuing to grow this game, both on and off the ice, as we have over the last 20 years,’’ he said. ‘‘I think the opportunities are great, and I am excited to be a part of them.’’
Players are expected to vote on the deal Friday and Saturday. If a majority of the more than 700 members in good standing agree to the terms, training camps can open Sunday. A 48-game season is likely to begin Jan. 19.
The NHL and the union are still drafting a memorandum of understanding that must be signed before training camps open. The players’ association wants as much of the document as possible to be completed before voting begins.
Leafs fire GM Burke
The Maple Leafs fired general manager Brian Burke with the season set to resume this month following a tentative settlement ending the lockout.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tom Anselmi said at a news conference that longtime Burke assistant David Nonis will fill the job. Burke will stay as a senior adviser. Toronto has not made the playoffs since Burke was hired in 2008.