TOP THINGS TO KNOW
1. In addition to playing a full season after a lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, the NHL has a new divisional alignment for 2013-14. There will now be two divisions in each conference instead of three and there are now 16 teams in the East and 14 in the West as the Detroit Red Wings & Columbus Blue Jackets move East while the Winnipeg Jets head West.
2. The 2013-14 season also features a new playoff format. The new format is primarily division-based, with the top three teams in each division automatically qualifying. The last two playoff spots in each conference will then be wild-card spots, going to the next two teams with the highest point totals regardless of division.
3. The NHL is increasing its outdoor presence in 2013-14. Six outdoor games are on the schedule this season --0 the traditional New Year’s Day Winter Classic (the Detroit Red Wings hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium) as well as two outdoor games at Yankee Stadium involving the Metro New York teams, and one outdoor game each in Los Angeles, Chicago and Vancouver.
4. There will be no All-Star Game for the second straight season as the NHL instead goes on hiatus from February 9-25 as its players will take part in the men's hockey competition at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
5. Notable rule changes for 2013-14 include that a player cannot remove his helmet to take part in a fight (though the preseason saw players remove each other’s helmets in fights on a number of occasions) and new rules to restrict and reduce the size of goaltenders’ leg pads.