Training camp opens for Red Wings, Senators Thursday

National Hockey League logo. Courtesy NHL.com.

It will definitely be a new year for the National Hockey League (NHL) as training camp opens over the next few days.

According to NHL.com, camp will open on New Year’s Eve Thursday for the seven teams that did not qualify for the tournament that followed the league’s COVID-19 shutdown this year. These include the Detroit Red Wings and Ottawa Senators.

The Toronto Maple Leafs, who participated in the tournament but lost in the qualifying round to the Columbus Blue Jackets, will open their camp on Sunday.

The training camp schedule is part of the agreement made between the league and the NHL players’ association, which will consist of a 56-game season that will open on January 13, 2021. There will be no preseason games.

Due to ongoing travel restrictions at the US-Canada border, the league has been temporarily realigned into four divisions, with each team playing within their divisions only. All Canadian teams, including the Senators and Leafs, will play in the Canadian, or North Division. The Red Wings will play in the Central Division.

Games will return to the team’s regular arenas, but played without fans present for the time being.

The Stanley Cup Playoffs will return to the traditional four-round, 16-team format, tentatively scheduled to run into July 2021. Te top four teams in each division will qualify.

The Red Wings, under sixth-year head coach Jeff Blashill, finished last in the Eastern Conference last season with 39 points. The Senators, with former Windsor Spitfires assistant coach D.J. Smith at the helm for the second year, finished next-to-last with 62 points.

Toronto opens the regular season on January 13 at home against Montreal. The Wings open at Little Caesars Arena on the 14th against Carolina, while Ottawa starts its season against the Leafs at home on the 15th.