NHL announces return to play plan: 56-game schedule, with Canadian teams staying north of border

David Krejci and the Bruins will have less than a month to prepare for the new season.

The NHL and its players’ association firmed up plans to start up the 2020-21 regular season with a Sunday announcement of a 56-game regular schedule to begin Jan. 13 and end on May 8.

The Stanley Cup playoffs will have 16 berths, and finish in mid-July, according to the announcement.

The plan means that NHL will return to its usual cadence for the 2021-22 season, with an early October start.

“The National Hockey League looks forward to the opening of our 2020-21 season, especially since the Return to Play in 2019-20 was so successful in crowning a Stanley Cup champion,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in the league’s release. “While we are well aware of the challenges ahead, as was the case last spring and summer, we are continuing to prioritize the health and safety of our participants and the communities in which we live and play. And, as was the case last spring and summer, I thank the NHLPA, particularly Executive Director Don Fehr, for working cooperatively with us to get our League back on the ice.”

To account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the league’s six Canadian teams will play in their own division.

The Bruins will play in the East, along with the Sabres, Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, and Capitals.

The other divisional alignments are as follows:

North: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

West: Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Los Angeles, Minnesota, St. Louis, San Jose, Las Vegas

Central: Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Nashville, Tampa Bay


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