I’m not sure how aware you are of the following, but the puck to officially start the 2010-11 National Hockey League season drops today. While most sports begin their seasons during primetime hours when opening day falls on the business week, the NHL will go in a different direction. At noon, or as said in the Western Flicks “High Noon”, the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild will do battle at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. This game is also the inaugural matchup for the Compuware NHL Premiere Series and will be televised on the Versus Network. Additional games in that series will include the San Jose Sharks vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (held in Stockholm, Sweden’s Ericcson Globe Arena) and the Phoenix Coyotes will link up with the Boston Bruins in the O2 Arena, located in Prague, Czech Republic. The series will be played out over the next few days of the opening weekend. Kudos to the NHL on marketing the sport internationally.
Seven hours later, the aforementioned network will give you a doubleheader featuring three of the last four Stanley Cup Finalists. At 7pm, it will be a battle of the Keystone State as the current Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Flyers will skate into the Igloo to face the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. The latter of the double whammy will see the current Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks play a visitor to the Colorado Avalanche.
Friday, October 8th will see the conclusion of the two-game series among the six teams that were mentioned earlier. From there, it’s on to locally televised action. Of particular note, the Washington Capitals will begin their 2010-11 campaign in ATL Shawty against the Thrashers. The Caps are looking to remove the bitter taste of its early, first round exit from the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Other action on the 8th includes the Dallas Stars @ New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks @ Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres @ Ottawa Senators. Check your local listing for channels and air time.
From there, hockey fans will have bevy of games to help them get through the Columbus Day weekend. Once again, it’s on people. Where will Lord Stanley’s Cup take residence this season? Sit back and watch how its final destination unfolds.
By Antoine Hoffman