NHL lockout: Penguins' season, if it happens, could begin vs. Flyers

Paul Bereswill

The Pittsburgh Penguins would be matched up in a nationally broadcast game against the Philadelphia Flyers to open their year in the league's last-ditch attempt at making a 48-game season happen.

If the NHL were to finally end its lockout - and that's a big if - the Pittsburgh Penguins would be nationally featured on the first game of play, with an afternoon game Jan. 19 against the Philadelphia Flyers, reports Rob Rossi of the Tribune-Review.

The logistics are all up in the air -- both Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center and Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Arena are in use on the 19th -- but the league has apparently decided that intrastate rivals would play that day if they go forward with a 48-game schedule. It's getting almost up against the wall for the season to actually happen -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says that they wouldn't play less than 48 games, with the hard deadline for that to happen coming on Jan. 11 -- so the season can't be pushed back any further.

If the league goes forward with a 48-game schedule, teams will only play against other squads from their conference, making the 19th a day likely filled with historical rivals. Philadelphia-Pittsburgh definitely qualifies, especially after the Penguins lost in the playoffs to the Flyers last year.

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