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NHL notebook: Six outdoor games set for next season

| Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013, 8:12 p.m.

The NHL has limited its outdoor games to one or two a year since it began playing them 10 years ago.

In January, that's set to change. There will be four games that month and two more in March. To the rest of North America, the events could begin to seem ordinary. But the league is confident they'll remain a strong draw.

The week before the Super Bowl is played in New Jersey, the Rangers will face both of their metropolitan rivals. On Jan. 26, they'll play an afternoon game against the Devils. Then, on Jan. 29, it's a night game against the Islanders.

“For fans that want to attend, we can't do enough of them,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday, standing on the spot at Yankee Stadium where the Rangers will play twice in January.

Other outdoor games scheduled for January are a New Year's Day meeting between Detroit and Toronto at Michigan Stadium and a game at Dodger Stadium featuring the Kings and the Ducks.

In March, Chicago will host the Penguins at Wrigley Field, and Vancouver will host Ottawa at B.C. Place.

Source: Devils for sale

The three-time Stanley Cup champion Devils are for sale, and a deal is expected before the start of the NHL season.

A person familiar with the negotiations said several groups are vying to buy the financially strapped franchise, and there is a chance a deal might be done quickly.

The source spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday and requested anonymity because the negotiations between Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek and the groups are still active.

Philadelphia 76ers owner Josh Harris heads one group, and Calgary billionaire Bill Gallacher is another as the deal includes operating rights to the Prudential Center.

The team will not relocate, the source said, adding that Vanberbeek will retain a minority ownership with the Devils.

Smaller goalie pads coming?

One of the priorities this offseason for the rules comittee focused on goalie pads, specifically trying to reduce the size of them. The NHL and NHLPA have been discussing the matter this summer, and it appears that they might have come to a solution — at least temporarily.

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