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NHL plans for 48-game season starting on Jan. 19

With the lockout apparently in the rearview mirror, the NHL continues to plan for a 48-game regular season starting Jan. 19 and the opening of training camps this weekend.

A regular-season schedule is not expected to be announced until Wednesday night at the earliest, after the league's Board of Governors meets in Manhattan to hold a ratification vote on the tentative deal. The agreement was reached at about 5 a.m. Sunday after months of haggling capped by a 16-hour negotiating session overseen by a federal mediator.

A majority vote from the board, which represents each team, as well as the players' union membership, is required and expected.

A memo of understanding, believed to be about 30 pages, still was being compiled late Monday night. NHLPA leaders want to give all 700-plus players time to review it; voting isn't expected to finish until Friday or Saturday. The camps could open the following day. A six-day training camp will prohibit any preseason games.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly, in an email to the Canadian Press, said he expects the first games to be played Jan. 19 and camps to open Sunday.

As for the schedule, the plan is to play only conference games, with one version having at least four games against each division rival, and three against non-division clubs in the conference.

The league has been shuffling dates because of arena availability and would like to keep some home dates that were on the original 2012-13 schedule and add games on open dates.

For example, both the Rangers and Islanders could open at home Jan. 19. The Rangers were supposed to be in Denver, and Madison Square Garden is available. For the Islanders, Nassau Coliseum is available from the 19th through the 21st.

New York Sports