NHL returns, 48 game season to begin January 19

Joel Auerbach

With the NHL returning, teams will be playing a lockout-condensed 48 game season that begins on Jan. 19.

For Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers fans, among others, there is reason to finally be excited since the NHL is definitely on its way back. The NHL league office sent a memo to all clubs announcing the 2013 season will be 48 games with the puck set to drop on Jan. 19, via Elliotte Friedman of CBC.

Also included in the league memo to their clubs is no camps can begin before Saturday and may not open until Monday, according to Friedman. The lockout condensed NHL regular season of 48 games is about 58% of the usual 82 game season. While the season will begin on Jan. 19, no schedules have yet been released.

The Florida Panthers finished first in the Southeast division in the 2011-12 season with a 38-26-18 regular season under coach Kevin Dinenn, but lost in quarter-finals in seven games to the Devils.

Meanwhile, Guy Boucher's Tampa Bay Lightning missed the playoffs with their 38-36-4 record, ultimately because of finishing the season 30th in goals against.

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