The Washington Times - June 21, 2012, 11:06AM

PITTSBURGH | Hockey that counts is set to be back for the Washington Capitals with the regular-season opener on Oct. 12 against the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils. But it might as well be written in pencil for now, given the uneasiness and uncertainty over the NHL’s upcoming collective bargaining agreement negotiations.

The current CBA expires Sept. 15, and though commissioner Gary Bettman said at the Stanley Cup Final that he didn’t understand the atmosphere of negativity, the general feeling among those around the league is that at least some action will be missed.

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Asked last week if he believed the season would start on time, Caps general manager George McPhee deferred.

I’m hopeful that we’re playing,” he said. “That’s for other people to talk about. I’m a hockey operations guy and I’m trying to make a team.”

If there’s no new CBA by Sept. 15, the preseason will almost certainly be wiped out, and it would be unlikely the regular season starts on time. But if Bettman and NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr are able to successfully play let’s make a deal, here’s what Caps fans have to look forward to:

  • A New Year’s Eve visit to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Home-and-home Western Conference matchups with the Dallas Stars, defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Nashville Predators

  • A visit to Bruce Boudreau’s Anaheim Ducks on Feb. 13

  • Season finale April 13 at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning

Here’s the full schdule:

October
Fri., Oct. 12 New Jersey 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 13 at Ottawa 7 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 15 Florida 7 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 17 Toronto 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 19 Winnipeg 7 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 20 at Montreal 7 p.m.
Tue., Oct. 23 at Winnipeg 8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 27 at Calgary 10 p.m.
Mon., Oct. 29 at Minnesota 8 p.m.
Wed., Oct. 31 Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.

November
Fri., Nov. 2 Boston 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 4 Dallas 5 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 6 at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m
Thu., Nov. 8 Edmonton 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 10 Toronto 7 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 14 at N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 16 N.Y. Rangers 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 18 Florida 5 p.m.
Wed., Nov. 21 Winnipeg 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 23 at Dallas 8 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 25 at St. Louis 7 p.m.
Tue., Nov. 27 San Jose 7 p.m.
Thu., Nov. 29 at Florida 7:30 p.m.

December
Sat., Dec. 1 Carolina 7 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 4 at N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 5 N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 7 at Detroit 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Dec. 11 Pittsburgh 7 p.m.
Thu., Dec. 13 Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 15 Tampa Bay 7 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 17 Florida 7 p.m.
Thu., Dec. 20 Montreal 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 22 at Boston 1 p.m.
Sun., Dec. 23 Carolina 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 26 at Buffalo 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Dec. 27 N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 29 at Nashville 8 p.m.
Mon., Dec. 31 at Pittsburgh 7 p.m.

January
Thu., Jan. 3 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan 5 Chicago 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 7 at Toronto 7 p.m.
Wed., Jan. 9 Ottawa 7 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 11 at Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 15 Vancouver 7 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 17 at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 19 at Tampa Bay 7 p.m.
Mon., Jan. 21 at Florida 3 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 22 Ottawa 7 p.m.
Tue., Jan. 29 at Ottawa 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Jan. 31 at Toronto 7 p.m.

February
Fri., Feb. 1 Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 3 Los Angeles 12:30 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 5 at Florida 7:30 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 7 Tampa Bay 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 9 Nashville 7 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 13 at Anaheim 10 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 15 at Los Angeles 10:30 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 16 at Phoenix 9 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 21 Buffalo 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 23 at New Jersey 1 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 26 Colorado 7 p.m.
Wed., Feb. 27 at Philadelphia 7:30 p.m.

March
Sat., March 2 at Winnipeg 3 p.m.
Tue., March 5 Columbus 7 p.m.
Thu., March 7 Montreal 7 p.m.
Sat., March 9 at N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Sun., March 10 Boston 7:30 p.m.
Tue., March 12 Winnipeg 7 p.m.
Thu., March 14 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Sat., March 16 at Boston 1 p.m.
Sun., March 17 Buffalo 3 p.m.
Tue., March 19 at New Jersey 7 p.m.
Fri., March 22 at Winnipeg 8 p.m.
Sun., March 24 at N.Y. Rangers 7:30 p.m.
Tue., March 26 N.Y. Islanders 7 p.m.
Sat., March 30 at Buffalo 7 p.m.

April
Tue., April 2 at Carolina 7 p.m.
Thu., April 4 at Montreal 7:30 p.m.
Fri., April 5 New Jersey 7 p.m.
Sun., April 7 at Pittsburgh 7:30 p.m.
Thu., April 11 Carolina 7 p.m.
Sat., April 13 Tampa Bay 7 p.m.