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The puck drops on Tuesday October 1 to officially open the 2013/14 NHL campaign. This is the 96th season of league play and it will feature a regular 82-game schedule with playoffs following last season’s shortened 48-game term due to the owners locking the players out. There will be a new look to the league this year since it has been realigned.

The 30 NHL clubs will now be placed into four divisions, down from the previous six. The realignment was meant to place as many teams as possible in the same time zones or as close to them as possible. Previously, the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets, who are both in the Eastern time zone, were playing in the Western Conference. Those two clubs have now moved to the Eastern Conference while the Winnipeg Jets have joined the West from the East.

The Eastern Conference will consist of two divisions with eight teams each while the West will feature a pair of seven-team divisions. The top three clubs in each of the four divisions will make the playoffs as well as two wild card teams in each of the two conferences, making up 16 playoff entrants. The Eastern Conference is home to the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions with the Western Conference housing the Central and Pacific Divisions. Look for our complete preview in our November 2013 issue of ModelsMania.

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