The 2009-2010 National Hockey League regular season schedule was just released.
Here are some quick highlights...
Season begins on October 1st
With a three-week break to accommodate Olympic participants, the season starts roughly a week earlier than usual and has a more compact schedule before and after that time off.
NHL Premiere series on October 2nd and October 3rd
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Florida Panthers in Helsinki, Finland
Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues in Stockholm, Sweden
Stanley Cup championship defense
The Pittsburgh Penguins open their new season on October 2nd when they face the visiting New York Rangers. Prior to the game, the team will raise their 2009 Stanley Cup championship banner to the roof in the final season of Penguins hockey at Mellon Arena.
John Tavares' NHL debut with Islanders
Highly-touted 2009 #1 overall draft pick John Tavares will play his first regular season game when the New York Islanders host the Penguins at Nassau Coliseum on October 3rd. Just four years ago, 21-year-old Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby made a similar entrance into the league.
November 28th indoor stadium game
Mentioned in Monday night's online edition of The Globe and Mail, the NHL approved a plan to have the Montréal Canadiens host the Washington Capitals at Olympic Stadium.
3rd edition of Winter Classic game (4th overall in NHL history)
The game is on January 1, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston. In an old-time hockey matchup, the Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers.
National television contract with NBC extended 2 years
During the Winter Classic announcement today, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stated that the league's national television contract with NBC has been extended 2 years, effective January 1, 2010 and through the 2010-2011 season.
"Hockey Day in Canada"
It is a day in the regular season schedule that has a tripleheader of games with just Canadian team participants. It will take place on January 30, 2010.
The national television schedules will be released at a later date.