Boston Bruins Victory Parade

Highlights and key dates from the newly announced 2011-12 NHL schedule


It’s time to start planning your road trips and anticipating your “sick days” because the NHL released all 30 team’s schedules for the 2011-12 season today.

Thursday, October 6 will mark the opening day of the season. It will involve three games: the Boston Bruins will raise their Stanley Cup banner against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Montreal Canadiens will visit the Maple Leafs in Toronto and the Pittsburgh Penguins will play a road game against the Vancouver Canucks. The following Friday will feature those overseas games known as the NHL Premiere Games (this year’s teams include the New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks).

Winnipeg fans will finally see their 15-year drought of NHL hockey end on Sunday, October 9 against the Canadiens. (Want to find out if Winnipeg has a strange schedule because they’re staying in the Southeast Division? Click here to peruse their schedule. You can also take a look at individual team schedules by clicking here.)

Here are some highlights of the new schedule, via PHT will provide more information and analysis in future posts.

Season-Opening Night
Thursday, October 6 – Flyers @ Bruins, Habs @ Leafs, Pens @ Canucks

Compuware NHL Premiere Games (Stockholm, Helsinki and Berlin)
Friday, Oct. 7 and Saturday Oct. 8
* Games will feature Rangers, Sabres, Kings and Ducks

Meeting of the past two Stanley Cup champions
Boston @ Chicago — Saturday, Oct. 15

Hall of Fame Game
Boston @ Toronto, Saturday, Nov. 5

All-Star Break
Jan. 26-30

Meeting of 2011 Stanley Cup Finalists
Vancouver @ Boston – Saturday, Jan. 7

Busiest Day
Saturday, April 7 — 15 games

Regular Season Concludes

April 7, 2012

Want to know when your team will hold its home opener? Look no further than this list.

ANAHEIM – Friday, Oct. 14, San Jose
BOSTON – Thursday, Oct. 6, Philadelphia
BUFFALO – Friday, Oct. 4, Carolina
CALGARY – Saturday, Oct. 8, Pittsburgh
CAROLINA – Friday, Oct. 7, Tampa Bay
CHICAGO – Saturday, Oct. 8, Dallas
COLORADO – Saturday, Oct. 8, Detroit
COLUMBUS – Friday, Oct. 7, Nashville
DALLAS – Friday, Oct. 7, Chicago
DETROIT – Friday, Oct. 7, Ottawa
EDMONTON – Sunday, Oct. 9, Pittsburgh
FLORIDA – Saturday, Oct. 15, Tampa Bay
LOS ANGELES – Tuesday, Oct. 18, St. Louis
MINNESOTA – Saturday, Oct. 8, Columbus
MONTREAL – Thursday, Oct. 13, Calgary
NASHVILLE – Thursday, Oct. 13, Phoenix
NEW JERSEY – Saturday, Oct. 8, Philadelphia
NY ISLANDERS – Saturday, Oct. 8, Florida
NY RANGERS – Thursday, Oct. 27, Toronto
OTTAWA – Tuesday, Oct. 11, Minnesota
PHILADELPHIA – Wednesday, Oct. 12, Vancouver
PHOENIX – Saturday, Oct. 15, Winnipeg
PITTSBURGH – Tuesday, Oct. 11, Florida
ST. LOUIS – Saturday, Oct. 8, Nashville
SAN JOSE – Saturday, Oct. 8, Phoenix
TAMPA BAY – Monday, Oct. 17, Florida
TORONTO – Thursday, Oct. 6, Montreal
VANCOUVER – Thursday, Oct. 6, Pittsburgh
WASHINGTON – Saturday, Oct. 8, Carolina
WINNIPEG – Sunday, Oct. 9, Montreal

It’s OK, you can get excited.

Animal activists protest Ducks’ Stoner over grizzly bear hunt

Keith Fialcowitz
1 Comment

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A small group of vocal protesters gathered outside Honda Center on Monday night to call for the suspension of Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner, who faces charges in Canada of illegally obtaining a license to shoot a grizzly bear.

While Ducks fans entered the rink for their home opener against Vancouver, about 20 protesters held signs and shouted slogans condemning Stoner. He faces five charges related to the 2013 hunt on British Columbia’s central coast.

“Killing is not a sport! Play a real sport!” the protesters shouted in unison. “Shame on the Ducks!”

Judie Mancuso, the president of Social Compassion in Legislation, compared Stoner to quarterback Michael Vick and Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer, whose killing of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe sparked an international outcry.

“The entire globe is against trophy hunting right now,” Mancuso said. “If most of these hockey fans understood that was the issue, I think most of them would be on our side.”

Wildlife groups and First Nations leaders have been outraged by Stoner’s killing of the bear, named Cheeky. Stoner defended his actions at the time when graphic photos of the kill were publicized, but he hasn’t commented recently.

The protesters were serenaded by chants of Stoner’s name by many fans, while others stopped to look at the signs. Mancuso said her group hopes to raise awareness of Stoner’s legal troubles.

“If people didn’t have outrage with the NFL, Michael Vick would have gotten away with it,” Mancuso said. “The only way that anything is going to happen is if we do this. If there’s not public outcry, nothing is going to happen, so we’ve got to try.”

Stoner grew up on Vancouver Island, but hasn’t lived in the province full-time for several years, which authorities say made him ineligible for the hunting license used to take the bear. He played for the Minnesota Wild at the time of the shooting.

Stoner faces two counts of knowingly making a false statement to obtain a hunting license and one count apiece of hunting without a license, hunting out of season and unlawful possession of dead wildlife. His case is set for Nov. 13 in Vancouver.

The 30-year-old Stoner was in the Ducks’ lineup for their home opener, and he fought Brandon Prust in the opening minutes. Stoner is beginning his sixth full NHL season and his second with Anaheim after signing a four-year, $13 million deal as a free agent before last season.

Related: Ducks d-man Stoner charged with unlawful grizzly bear hunt

NHL on NBCSN: Red Wings face Lightning in ’15 playoff rematch

Steven Stamkos, Henrik Zetterberg
AP Photo

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the Detroit Red Wings host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game online here.

The Lightning made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, but their journey almost ended in the first round at the hands of the Red Wings. Detroit shutout Tampa Bay twice in that series and the two squads were locked in a scoreless tie until the third period of Game 7.

Despite the fact that the Red Wings were a mere hair away from advancing instead of Tampa Bay, the Lightning are often mentioned as serious Cup contenders while Detroit is typically regarded as a good, but not amazing team. However, that gap isn’t entirely unjustified.

After all, Tampa Bay has a very effective core of forwards that features Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. If the highly regarded Jonathan Drouin, 20, is able to build off of his strong start to the 2015-16 campaign then the Lightning’s offense could be even more dangerous this season.

Detroit certainly has some offensive star power too in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, but the duo is 35 and 37 years old respectively. On top of that, injuries have been a recurring issue for Datsyuk, who isn’t expected to make his season debut until November after undergoing ankle surgery.

As good as those two forwards still are, the Red Wings have to hope that their younger players will be able to lead the charge sooner rather than later. The good news is that 19-year-old Dylan Larkin‘s campaign is off to a strong start with three points in two games while 23-year-old Teemu Pulkkinen scored twice on Saturday.

The Red Wings have opened the season with back-to-back wins against Toronto and Carolina, but tonight’s game represents their biggest test to date. Meanwhile, the Lightning are similarly undefeated after three games, but this contest will be particularly trying for them given that it’s their third game in four days.