For hockey road trippers and fans of the sport in general, today is a big day; the 2010-11 regular season schedule was just released by the NHL.
Let me give you the most important links. The first three are all PDF files, so expect a slight delay if you don’t have an amazing Internet connection.
NHL schedule, by date.
By team, with times in (ET).
By team, with local times.
I’m going to hand-pick some of the most noteworthy games, but NHL.com spotlighted a few important dates themselves.
- October 7, 2010 is opening day. Four games will be played on this day, including the first-ever regular season game for the Pittsburgh Penguins at their new home, the Consol Energy Center.
- Oct. 7-10, NHL Premiere
For the fourth straight season, the NHL regular-season will launch in Europe. This time the contingent is six teams, as Carolina and Minnesota play twice in Helsinki, Finland (Oct. 7 & 8), Columbus and San Jose will face off for two games in Stockholm, Sweden (Oct. 8 & 9), and Boston and Phoenix clash twice in Prague, Czech Republic (Oct. 9 & 10).
- October 9, 2010 – the Chicago Blackhawks host the Detroit Red Wings and raise their Stanley Cup banner.
- January 1, 2011 – the Bridgestone Winter Classic takes place.
- January 30, 2011 – the NHL All-Star Game
- February 12, 2011 – Hockey Day in Canada
- April 10, 2011 – final day of the regular season
- April 13, 2011 – the playoffs begin
More schedule analysis coming soon.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.