NHL releases full 2010-11 schedule of events

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The NHL has released it’s schedule of events for next season, and it’s a jam-packed schedule full of big events that is sure to put the NHL and hockey at the forefront of the sports world. At least, I’m sure that’s what the NHL is hoping will happen.

By now, you’ve heard the news of the 2011 Winter Classic being played at Heinz Field between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. We also have news on the NHL All-Star game, the big NHL premiere weekend that will take place in Europe as well as the big news of a second outdoor game in Canada.

A couple of notes:

First off, the NHL is planning a Heritage Classic outdoor game between Calgary and Montreal, to be broadcast on CBC, RDS, and Versus. The NHL just needs the competition committee to approve the game in June.

The full NHL schedule for next season will be released on June 22.

Here’s the full schedule of events:

2010-11 NHL EVENTS
Kraft
Hockeyville, Sep. 28, Sabres v. Senators
Compuware NHL PremiereTM,
Oct. 7-10: Blue Jackets v. Sharks, Stockholm; Hurricanes v. Wild
Helsinki;
Bruins v. Coyotes, Prague
NHL Face-Off, Oct. 7, Canadiens v. Maple
Leafs, Toronto, ON
NHL Hall of Fame Game, Nov. 6
Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic, Jan. 1: Capitals v. Penguins, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
NHL
All-Star Weekend, Jan. 29-30: Raleigh, NC
Hockey Day In Canada, Feb.
12
Hockey Day in America, Feb. 20
NHL Heritage ClassicTM,
Feb. 20: Canadiens v. Flames, McMahon Stadium, Calgary, AB (pending
approval of the Competition Committee)
2011 Stanley Cup® Playoffs,
April 13
NHL AwardsTM, Jun. 22, Las Vegas, NV
NHL Entry
Draft, Jun. 24-25, St. Paul, MN

Full release after the jump


NEW YORK (May 28, 2010) – The National Hockey League announced
today its schedule of signature events for the 2010-11 NHL season. A
record number of events are slated for this upcoming season, setting up
the NHL’s business for another successful year. Revenue generated from
the League’s large-scale events last season was up 22 percent over the
previous year and helped propel the League’s fourth consecutive year of
business growth, which included record-setting television ratings and
digital metrics across its platforms; as well as an unprecedented level
of NHL business partner activation.

Kraft Hockeyville

The NHL begins its season with the ultimate grassroots event that
gives communities across Canada the honor of hosting an NHL game from
their very own local arena. Dundas, Ontario, this year’s winning
community, represents the fifth winner of the annual Kraft Hockeyville
program.
On Tuesday, September 28, Dundas will host a 2010-11 NHL
pre-season game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators at
the newly renovated J.L. Grightmire Market Street Arena. Together with
the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association
and CBC Television, Kraft connects family and friends through their
passion for hockey and pride for their community. Kraft Canada provides
$100,000 in arena upgrades to the winning community and $25,000 to each
of the four runner-up communities.

Compuware NHL Premiere

The 2010-11 NHL regular-season will launch on two continents next
October with the League celebrating its fourth consecutive year of
regular-season games taking place across Europe. An unprecedented six
NHL® teams – Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets,
Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks – will open the
season by playing six games in Europe as part of 2010 Compuware NHL
PremiereTM and NHL Face-OffTM.

The
Hurricanes and Wild will play two regular-season games against each
other at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday, Oct. 7 and
Friday, Oct. 8. The Blue Jackets and Sharks will square off for two
games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Oct. 8
and Saturday, Oct. 9. Meanwhile, the Bruins and Coyotes will play each
other at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday, Oct. 9 and
Sunday, Oct. 10.

VERSUS, as well as local rightsholders will
televise the action live to fans in the U.S. In Canada, TSN will
provide live coverage.

Prior to the start of the regular
season in October, all six NHL teams will square off against European
competition in a series of exhibition games spanning across Europe.
Included in those games will be the first-ever visits by an NHL team to
Belfast, Ireland; Mannheim, Germany; Riga, Latvia; and St. Petersburg,
Russia.

NHL Face-Off

NHL Face-Off-the League’s annual launch
event in North America-welcomes the beginning of the 2010-11 NHL season
in North America on Oct. 7 with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting
arch-rival Montreal Canadiens live on CBC. The League will officially
celebrate the start of the season with an opening day hockey and
entertainment festival in Toronto providing fans the opportunity to
celebrate the coming of a historic NHL season. CBC will present a
second game that evening as part of an opening-night doubleheader when
the Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames.

In the U.S., the
season begins with a special doubleheader on VERSUS. Both Stanley Cup
finalists will take to the ice when the Flyers play Pittsburgh, followed
by the Blackhawks squaring off against the Colorado Avalanche.

Hall
of Fame

The Hall of Fame Game will be played on Saturday,
November 6, when the Toronto Maple Leafs will face either the Buffalo
Sabres or Chicago Blackhawks. The Hall of Fame inductions will take
place on Monday, November 8. CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” will once
again provide full coverage of all of the festivities that evening.

Bridgestone
NHL Winter Classic

The much anticipated Bridgestone NHL Winter
Classic lands at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011-home of the
Pittsburgh Steelers. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin lead their
respective teams in the outdoor classic when the Pittsburgh Penguins
host the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter ClassicTM
on New Year’s Day. The NHL’s fiercest rivalry will face-off at 1 p.m.
ET in the classic, which Forbes magazine calls the best new sporting
event of the last decade. NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of
the game in the U.S. In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event
live. NHL Radio and Sirius XM Radio will provide radio coverage and
NHL.com will have extensive digital coverage. Fans can be first in line
to receive the updates and alerts on ticketing, news and other
information by visiting NHL.com for its continuing coverage on all
things related to the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic.

NHL
All-Star Game

The League’s mid-season spectacular returns when the
Carolina Hurricanes and the city of Raleigh host the 2011 National
Hockey League All-Star Celebration on Saturday, January 29 and Sunday,
January 30 and will include Honda NHL SuperSkills® and the 58th NHL
All-Star Game at RBC Center. The action from both nights will be
covered live by VERSUS, CBC and RDS. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game will
mark the first time Carolina has hosted NHL All-Star activities. The
2011 NHL All-Star Game will feature various hockey-themed events,
entertainment and activities. Further details on the 2011 NHL All-Star
Celebration, including ticket and broadcast details, will be released at
a later date.

Hockey Day In Canada and Hockey Day In America

February
promises to be a historic month for hockey in both Canada and the
United States. CBC’s 11th annual Hockey Day In Canada will take place on
Saturday, February 12 with the following triple header on CBC’s “Hockey
Night In Canada”: Ottawa at Edmonton (2pm ET), Toronto at Montreal (7
pm ET), and Calgary at Vancouver (10pm ET). Hockey Day In Canada
celebrates Canada’s love and devotion to the game of hockey with
celebrations in communities throughout the country.

The NHL and
NBC salute roots of the game, its traditions and pageantry with Hockey
Day in America on Sunday, Feb. 20. As part of USA Hockey’s Hockey
Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, the day-long event will
celebrate hockey with a slate of NHL games that are scheduled to include
Philadelphia, New York Rangers, Washington, Buffalo, Detroit,
Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston.

NHL Heritage Classic

The
NHL also hopes to play an outdoor regular season game in Canada next
season and will be discussing the plan with the Competition Committee in
June. The Heritage Classic would be played at McMahon Stadium in
Calgary on Sunday, February 20 and would feature the Montreal Canadiens
and Calgary Flames. CBC and RDS would carry the game in Canada and
VERSUS would telecast the outdoor match in the United States. Assuming
plans for the game are approved, it will be the first NHL regular season
game contested outdoors in Canada since the Edmonton Oilers hosted the
Canadiens at first Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium on November
22, 2003. Fans wishing to follow all the news and information about the
NHL Heritage Classic can log-on to nhl.com.

2011 Stanley Cup
Playoffs

The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on
Wednesday, April 13. The last possible date for Game 7 of the Stanley
Cup Final is scheduled for Friday, June 17, 2011.

NHL Awards

A
new tradition continues Wednesday, June 22 in Las Vegas when the top
NHL stars join forces with celebrities from music, stage and screen for a
celebration of hockey’s best at the 2011 NHL Awards at the Pearl
Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. The Awards once
again will celebrate the best of the best in hockey on and off the ice.
Television partners CBC and VERSUS will return for the latest
installment of this renowned event.

NHL Entry Draft

Wrapping
up the historic NHL season will take the League to the “State of
Hockey” as the Minnesota Wild host the 2011 NHL® Entry Draft at Xcel
Energy Center in St. Paul. The Entry Draft will be held over two days,
Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25. TSN will provide live
round-by-round coverage of the draft in Canada, while in the U.S.,
Friday’s first round will be live on VERSUS and Saturday’s Rounds 2-7
will be televised by NHL Network. The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will be the
second-ever held in the state of Minnesota and the first at Xcel Energy
Center – a building home to 409 consecutive Wild sellouts. The NHL
Entry Draft has grown significantly since the first such event was held
in a Montreal hotel ballroom in 1963. In Minnesota, NHL club
executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the Entry Draft floor
while more than 10,000 fans and more than 500 print, television and
radio media are expected.

Johansen suspended two games for high-sticking Scheifele

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Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen received a two-game suspension for high-sticking Mark Scheifele of the Winnipeg Jets.

Johansen was whistled for a two-minute minor during the game itself, which ended with the Jets beating the Predators 5-1 on Thursday.

The NHL demands that players be in control of their sticks at all times, and in this case, the Department of Player Safety asserts “that this is not a case where a player is so off balance or otherwise out of control of his stick, that a play can be sufficiently penalized by the on-ice officials.” Ultimately, the league determined that Johansen handled his stick in a “reckless and irresponsible manner,” prompting the two-game suspension:

As the above video notes, Johansen doesn’t have a prior history of supplemental discipline. There’s no mention of a (lack of) injury factor for Scheifele, who was able to continue playing on Thursday.

The Predators face the Panthers in Nashville on Saturday and the Avalanche in Colorado on Monday, Jan. 21. Johansen is eligible to return to Nashville’s final game before the All-Star break (Jan. 23 at the Vegas Golden Knights).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

So, who will win the six 2019 All-Star Skills events?

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The NHL announced the six events for the 2019 SAP NHL All-Star Skills (competition no longer) on Friday, noting that the winner of individual events will receive $25K. The event will air on NBCSN, with things slated to run at Friday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET.

Here’s a quick look at each event, with some speculation regarding who might win:

  • Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater

Last year, Connor McDavid became the first-ever repeat winner of fastest skater, but Dylan Larkin owns the best-ever time from 2016. Larkin isn’t slated to be at the ASG weekend (barring injuries?), but Mathew Barzal could conceivably push McDavid.

It would be cool for McDavid to threepeat, even if it would be way more fun if 97 was instead winning, you know, more actual hockey games.

  • Enterprise NHL Premier Passer

This event has been a “wild card” of sorts in the skills competitions past, right down to the particulars. Usually there are adorable mini-nets, and this year’s will include that too. Here are the three phases of competition, via the NHL:

(1) Breakout Pass, where each player is given 10 pucks to attempt to make a pass to three “players”; (2) Mini Nets, where each player must complete a pass over a barricade and into each of four mini nets; and (3) Target Passing, where each player must complete successful passes to all targets that randomly light up every three seconds. 

It’s tough to say that anyone would really have the “inside track” on this event. Alex Pietrangelo won in 2018.

The randomness is part of the fun, though … especially when trying to hit a tiny net in tough situations also leads to frustrations.

The players might not love it, though.

  • Ticketmaster NHL Save Streak

In 2018, Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 14 shootout attempts in a row, beating Pekka Rinne by one. Fleury and Rinne will get a chance in the 2019 version, while Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s sheer athleticism makes him a great bet to push the two veterans this time around. This shootout-related competition lends itself to some fun and absurd moments, so expect nothing less in 2019.

  • Gatorade NHL Puck Control

In the last edition of this event (which goes through three phases of puck control, with the “gate” portion providing particular zaniness), Johnny Gaudreau absolutely killed it. He figures to be tough to beat in this regard, although the NHL is brimming with talented puckhandlers, so who knows?

  • SAP NHL Hardest Shot

The savage simplicity of all those slap-shots has made the hardest shot one of the most entertaining portions of All-Star weekends for decades now. Reigning champion Alex Ovechkin is sitting this year out, so the field opens up.

Actually, quite a few of the go-to choices for hardest shot aren’t slated to be in the 2019 edition. Frequent threats Zdeno Chara and Shea Weber aren’t on the rosters, and Dustin Byufglien would otherwise present a possible threat. Maybe Brent Burns will take it in 2019 in front of a partisan crowd, even after he wasn’t rifling them like many expected last time?

  • Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting

Last year, Brock Boeser began his magical All-Star weekend by winning the accuracy challenge. It looks like Boeser won’t be around to defend that title (nor his 2018 ASG MVP), though.

This eye-friendly competition often comes down to who has the hot hand, but when you look at who’s shooting a high percentage despite heavy volume this year, some favorites emerge: Elias Pettersson (if healthy), Jeff Skinner, and Auston Matthews rank as just a few of the players who could shoot with the highest level of precision.

It would be pretty fun if the Vancouver Canucks saw one ray of hope (Pettersson) follow another (Boeser the year before) in All-Star Games, especially since Pettersson’s just been so much fun.

Who would you expect to win each competition, though? Which events do you look forward to the most?

The 2019 NHL All-Star Skills Competition will take place on Friday, Jan. 25 (9 p.m. ET, NBCSN) and the 2019 NHL All-Star Game will be on Saturday, Jan. 26 (8 p.m. ET, NBC).

Looking back at the 2018 All-Star Skills

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Berglund feels at peace a month after quitting Sabres

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Patrik Berglund tells Sweden’s Hockeypuls.se he feels at peace and has no regrets after abruptly ending his hockey career by walking away from the Buffalo Sabres a little over two months into the season.

”I just knew I had to go home to find myself again,” Berglund told the publication in speaking for the first time since the Sabres terminated the final three-and-a-half years left on his contract last month. The Sabres acted after suspending Berglund on Dec. 15 when he failed to report for the game at Washington.

Berglund was interviewed at his home in Vasteras, Sweden. The story was published in Swedish on Friday and translated by Google.

Berglund says he lost some of his passion for hockey last summer after being traded to Buffalo by St. Louis. Berglund was the Blues first-round draft pick in 2006 and spent 10 seasons in St. Louis.

He says he had difficulty handling the move, and eventually became tired of trying to hide his frustrations.

Berglund says his emotions had nothing to do with playing in Buffalo, and he apologized to the Sabres for betraying them.

Berglund provides no indication regarding his future plans. He added he’s not concerned about walking away from the remainder of his five-year, $19.25 million contract.

”My contract, and all the money I gave up means nothing,” Berglund said. ”I can give up that amount at any time to feel good inside.”

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Will all this drama derail the Dallas Stars?

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The drama just never seems to stop for the Dallas Stars, although things do get kind of boring when this team actually tries to score goals. Worse yet, the Stars aren’t piling up PR losses alone any longer, as Dallas is now mired in a four-game losing streak.

The latest drama

Thursday presented the latest episode of “As the Stars Turn,” with embattled Stars coach Jim Montgomery deciding to bench Alexander Radulov – one of the team’s precious few actual scorers – for the remainder of the first period after an argument.

Such a tactic clearly isn’t about X’s and O’s, but instead about sending a message. If the message was sent, perhaps it was taken by carrier pigeon, as the results weren’t immediate. The Stars dropped a sad 2-1 loss to the lowly Los Angeles Kings on Thursday. During this span (all regulation losses), the Stars have scored a measly three goals. Total.

As Matthew DeFranks of the Dallas Morning News and others report, Radulov was able to cool off from his argument with Montgomery, eventually saying that his benching was “the right decision.”

Plenty of other people in the hockey world aren’t so easily convinced, and judging by Montgomery’s comments, even the coach might (deep down) have some second thoughts.

“Every decision we make is what’s best for the Dallas Stars, and at that moment, I thought that was best for the Dallas Stars,” Montgomery said. “When you’re struggling to score goals, it’s hard to do with a player of that caliber.”

In isolation, maybe Radulov did need to be reprimanded. The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro (sub. required) and others point out that Radulov had been drawing criticism for mental errors, including taking too-long shifts.

The questionable decisions and self-inflicted wounds really pile up when you look at the bigger picture, though. And that picture isn’t pretty.

Passing the buck

Ever since Stars CEO Jim Lites absolutely trashed Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn before the end of 2018, the Stars have suffered an almost unending run of embarrassing moments, and most of management’s wounds seem resoundingly self-inflicted.

After all, Lites went out of his way to throw Seguin and Benn under the bus, chiding bloggers to “write this!”

Since then, there’s been a steady stream of mistakes, and it doesn’t really seem like management is ever turning the discussion inward, at least on the record. Honestly, I almost picture Stars management transforming into Principal Skinner at some point.

Back in November, Montgomery discussed the Stars’ challenges in depth during a PHT Q&A, and it’s difficult to tell if anything’s changed for the better.

“Where we’ve got to get consistent is valuing our details that allow us to have success on nights when we don’t have legs. That’s where we have, I think, not embraced the process enough.”

All of the messaging seems to be about effort or “character.” Montgomery recently railed against a “culture of mediocrity,” but the thing is, that culture of mediocrity might just be plaguing the Stars’ front office more than the locker room.

This is a franchise that’s frequently failed when it comes to drafting, even whiffing on some crucial first-round picks. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn aren’t the ones who have bungled their way through a procession of three different head coaches in three seasons. GM Jim Nill and his staff were the ones who made mistakes like crossing their fingers that Martin Hanzal would somehow become a healthier player as he got older.

Maybe all of this bluster is an attempt to create a smokescreen around something that’s pretty obvious: management has failed to surround Benn, Seguin, Radulov, John Klingberg, and a few others with the proper supporting cast to succeed when they “don’t have their legs.”

Not hopeless yet

All things considered, it’s actually pretty amusing that the Stars would land in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs if they began today.

In fact, the Stars aren’t so far off from the Colorado Avalanche, who currently rest as the third seed in the Central Division (27-18-8 for 50 points in 47 games played, 21 regulation/overtime wins).

Sure, the West’s wild card races are starting to feel like that year in the NFC where the Seattle Seahawks made the NFL playoffs with a 7-9 record, but if the Stars can stumble their way into a playoff berth, maybe they should start to take a more positive approach?

After all, it sure doesn’t seem like anyone’s having fun. From a per-game perspective, the Stars are the third weakest scoring team in the NHL, but they’ve been able to grind out wins thanks to fantastic goaltending and pretty solid special teams work.

Walking such a tight rope can lead to frayed nerves, yet failing to support the players doing the balancing act may throw everything out of whack.

A four-game losing streak, and a tiny margin for error to maintain a playoff spot, sends a message. While management seems to believe that they need to push and humiliate their players, maybe they should instead provide them support with an upgrade in trades — and a pat on the back?

After all, their competition might be just as much of a mess, but they seem to get that memo.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.