Wild opener vs. Avs likely will be Jan. 19 at Xcel

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 11, 2013 - 12:30 AM

The NHL schedule cannot be released until the players ratify the new collective bargaining agreement Saturday, but the Wild is expected to open at home Jan. 19 against the Colorado Avalanche.

The original schedule had the Wild slated to open at Colorado before team officials petitioned the league to reconsider because Jan. 19 is Hockey Day Minnesota.

The Wild's 48-game schedule is expected to start with a three-game homestand. After the opener, the Wild will play the Dallas Stars on Jan. 20 before Ryan Suter will get to play his former team, the Nashville Predators, on Jan. 22.

The season has been extended two weeks due to the lockout. The Wild's regular-season ends April 27 at Colorado, meaning the team will play 48 games in 99 days.

The players' vote began Thursday night and lasts until 7 a.m. Saturday. The schedule will be released after the memorandum of understanding is signed by both parties.

Wild tickets will go on sale Wednesday.

"We feel very badly for the fans," Wild owner Craig Leipold said Thursday.

Indicating that the Wild is preparing to unveil a number of incentives and perks to fans, Leipold added, "We're going to show in the next week how we feel about it and the statement that we want to make to our fans. They'll know how we feel."

25 could be camp limit

The Wild might open its six-day training camp Sunday with 25 players, two more than the maximum 23-man roster.

Other than 2012 first-round pick Matt Dumba, who is expected to arrive for Saturday's skate, the Wild's full roster is in town now that Zenon Konopka, a free-agent center signed July 1, arrived Wednesday.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher indicated the Wild might expand training camp next week based on need or injury. But because time is of the essence, the Wild wants to have a manageable-sized camp.

And because few spots are available with so many players under contract, prospects Jason Zucker, Charlie Coyle, Johan Larsson and others might have to wait for injuries or trades.

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