NEW YORK -- Following are some highlights of the 2013-14 National Hockey League regular season, which concluded yesterday:
A total of 21,758,902 fans filled NHL venues to 96% of capacity in 2013-14. The total figure includes the 376,837 who packed the six Winter Classic, Heritage Classic and Stadium Series games. Had those six games instead been played before a sellout crowd at the designated home team’s arena, the attendance figure (21,492,671) still would have exceeded the previous single-season high of 21,475,223 set in 2008-09.
RIVALRY-DRIVEN REALIGNMENT, PLAYOFF FORMAT
Realignment and a revised playoff format that emphasizes rivalries has resulted in a tantalizing list of first-round playoff matchups that features:
* the first postseason meeting of the ‘Original Six’ Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings since 1957
* the inaugural clash between Eastern Conference newcomers the Columbus Blue Jackets and their closest geographic rival just 185 miles to the east -- the Pittsburgh Penguins