— The NHL schedule keeps getting backed up but it is expected to be announced today in the 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. hour.
The league is expected to start the regular season on Thursday, October 6th, with most team’s kicking off their season on Friday, October 7th.
The Penguins figure to the start season with an early road trip if they are not apart of the season opening games on the 6th.
The Calgary Flames have already announced that their home opener will be on Saturday, October 8th against the Penguins.
— Commissioner Gary Bettman is reportedly proposing major re-alignment changes for the 2012-2013. Bettman is looking to dump the six divisions and go to four divisions. East, South, Pacific, Midwest.
The plan is that the teams would play a balanced 82-game schedule with home and home series against teams outside their division.
The top four teams in each division would make the playoffs. The first round would be divisional play, the team’s would then re-seed for conference play.
Reportedly, Bettman’s plans would not affect an East-West Stanley Cup final matchup.
Under this proposal, the Red Wings and Blue Jackets would move to the Eastern Conference.
— Agent Allan Walsh is expecting to touch base with GM Ray Shero as early as this evening in Minnesota to discuss the futures of Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis.
The Jagr and Kennedy’s situation is believed to put Dupuis back on the backburner but the Penguins remain interested in retaining Dupuis.
The Jagr situation does not effect Rupp but his demands will have to come down for something to get done before July 1.
I’m told Walsh is hopeful to come to Rupp with an offer from the Penguins following the weekend.
— What kind of offer the Penguins make to Jagr remains to be seen but they are fully expected to do so. As one source put it: ” If they weren’t going to, they would have put an end to this speculation days ago when all of the leaks happened”
— Pens GM Ray Shero finished 5th in GM of the Year Voting. Shero appeared to have built a Stanley Cup team prior to injuries but for the second straight deadline, got minimal impact from his key acquisitions.