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.

Bobrovsky out again as Blue Jackets face Oilers

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One of the more intriguing aspects of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ late-season push to make the playoffs has been the handful of games in which they have not only rested starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, but have not even dressed him.

Thursday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers will be another one of those games as he will once again not be available.

In the words of head coach John Tortorella, via Blue Jackets insider Jeff Svoboda, it is because “he’s nicked.”

Joonas Korpisalo will get the start with Keith Kinkaid serving as the backup.

There were was even more intrigue to this situation on Thursday when Kinkaid was briefly shaken up in practice following a collision with 6-3, 220-pound forward Josh Anderson, but he seems to be okay and available for backup duties on Thursday.

This will be the third time over the past month that Bobrovsky has not dressed for a game, having also been scratched against the Pittsburgh Penguins back on March 7 in what was at the time a massive game, and then again one week later against the Boston Bruins. The explanation for the scratch against Pittsburgh was so they could rest him and allow him to work on his game (he returned to start one night later at home against the same Penguins team), while the Boston scratch came just one night after he stopped 46 shots in a shutout win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

All of it together leads to a lot of speculation and questions.

Has he been “nicked” up all this time? Does that explain why the Blue Jackets felt the need to trade for Kinkaid and willingly carry three NHL caliber goalies at this point in the season? Does it help explain why Bobrovsky’s performance has dropped off this much for the season as a whole?  Or did they just simply want to keep all of their goalies fresh and give themselves some added depth? Maybe all of the above?

These are questions we probably will not get clear answers to until the end of the season (if at all), but there is definitely a lot to take in here.

Bobrovsky’s .909 save percentage is one of the worst marks of his NHL career and comes during a year in which he is playing for a big contract this summer.

He has been better lately with a .945 save percentage in his past six starts, winning four of them.

The Blue Jackets enter the night with only a one-point lead over the Montreal Canadiens for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference and are just 5-6-1 in 12 games since the NHL trade deadline when they added Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid, and Kinkaid in an effort to make one more big run while they still have Artemi Panarin and Bobrovsky on the roster.

Given how much the Oilers have struggled lately and how tight the playoff race is, these are two points the Blue Jackets simply have to get no matter who their goalie is.

Related: Blue Jackets need to take advantage of schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Pageau earns DoPS hearing after boarding Canucks’ Sautner

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Jean-Gabriel Pageau only received a minor for boarding Vancouver Canucks defenseman Ashton Sautner Thursday night, but the Ottawa Senators forward could be punished again following his discipline hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety.

The DoPS will be speaking with Pageau after his second period hit on Sautner. The Canucks blue liner left the game for a bit before returning to finish Vancouver’s 7-4 win over the Senators.

Pageau, who took a big, unpenalized hit from Jake Virtanen earlier in the game, will likely be sitting for one or two games here. He eyes Sautner as he’s going to retrieve the puck along the boards and the Canucks defenseman does not peek behind him to see Pageau coming, nor does he change any part of his body before the Senators forward drills him between the numbers.

Given Sautner’s position on the ice and the fact he didn’t know he was about to be hit from behind, Pageau does not try to minimize contact or avoid his check. That’s a textbook suspension.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Karlsson, Panarin, Bobrovsky can close strong and cash in

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Many NHL teams have plenty to play for down the final stretch of the regular season, trying to get in the playoffs or to improve their positioning, before 16 teams compete for the Stanley Cup.

Some players have a lot at stake, too.

Erik Karlsson, Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky are a few of the potential free agents in the league with a chance to close strong and cash in by re-signing with their teams or on the open market.

The top trio of stars and some other standouts with a lot to gain financially when the season is finished, if not sooner:

KARLSSON

The San Jose Sharks acquired the two-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman from Ottawa before the season started, hoping they would have him for more than a year. To keep Karlsson off the market as an unrestricted free agent, San Jose may have to at least match the eight-year, $88 million deal the Los Angeles Kings gave defenseman Drew Doughty to stay last summer.

PANARIN

Dynamic scorers like the Russian winger rarely are available in free agency and a team that wants to spend a lot of money over many years may be able to land an 80-point scorer. Panarin has already said he wants to see if there are better options in the summer than staying with the Columbus Blue Jackets, who are simply hoping he helps them win at least a postseason series for the first time.

BOBROVSKY

Big-time goaltenders, like the two-time Vezina Trophy winner, usually stay with their teams and off the market. Like his teammate and fellow countryman, the 30-year-old Bobrovsky will probably want to make the most of his opportunity to make as much money as he can with his next deal while being at or near the prime or his career.

Matt Duchene

It was a good time for the center, and his bank account, to have one of the best years of his career. He’s averaging more than a point per game this season, starting with Ottawa, before being dealt to Columbus . If Panarin and Bobrovsky appear to be leaving in free agency after the season, the Blue Jackets may give the 28-year-old Duchene a lot to stay before the market opens.

Jeff Skinner

The center has a shot to surpass the 63 points he has reached twice before the team he plays for, the Buffalo Sabres, are relegated to watching the postseason for an eighth straight season. The Sabres want to re-sign Skinner, but he might be willing to take a seven-year deal – instead of the eight he can get to stay – and join a Stanley Cup contender.

Jake Gardiner

He has been out for nearly a month with a back injury, but barring it lingering into the playoffs to cast doubt on his long-term health, one of the best defensemen available will be paid well to stay in Toronto or to go play for another team.

Wayne Simmonds

The winger has not produced much offensively with Nashville, which acquired him from Philadelphia, and yet he will have a chance to make a lasting impression when it matters most in the playoffs. Simmonds has a rare combination of scoring ability, toughness and durability.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

There is an excellent group of players eligible to be restricted free agents, including: forwards Mikko Rantanen, William Karlsson, Brayden Point, Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho and Matthew Tkachuk along with defensemen Jacob Trouba and Zach Werenski. Teams, though, rarely extend offer sheets to other franchise’s restricted free agents as Philadelphia did in 2012 with a $110 million, 14-year deal for Shea Weber, only to have the Predators match it.

Push for the Playoffs: Blue Jackets’ need to take advantage of favorable schedule

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Push for the Playoffs will run every morning through the end of the 2018-19 NHL season. We’ll highlight the current playoff picture in both conferences, take a look at what the first-round matchups might look like, see who’s leading the race for the best odds in the draft lottery and more.

The Carolina Hurricanes are beginning to strengthen their hold on an Eastern Conference playoff spot. That pretty much heats things up for both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Montreal Canadiens. Montreal’s only salvation is a wild card place, while the Blue Jackets (and Hurricanes) still have a shot at grabbing one of the Metropolitan Division’s three seeds.

The Blue Jackets started off their four-game road trip with losses to the Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames. They head to Edmonton tonight and Vancouver on Sunday in two games where heading home with four points in the bag could go a long way. Of their final nine games, only three come against teams currently in a playoff position. Then there’s March 28 when they host the Canadiens, which could be big boost for either team’s postseason dreams.

“We’ve had a tough schedule, but if you want to make the playoffs and you want to do damage in the playoffs, those are the teams you have to beat,” said defenseman Scott Harrington. “It’s great to prepare us for what’s potentially upcoming and where we want to be.”

Columbus’ biggest issue of late has been their inability to score. They’ve averaged only 2.2 goals per game in their last 12 games. Their big trade deadline acquisitions are still warming up. Matt Duchene has two goals in this last four games after going goalless in this first eight games with the Blue Jackets. Meanwhile, Ryan Dzingel has just one since being dealt from Ottawa.

Given GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s moves at the deadline, there’s pressure on the entire organization to make the playoffs. Columbus is 5-6-1 since the deadline, and while they may have the NHL’s eighth-easiest schedule remaining, those opponents cannot be overlooked.

“We’re not getting the results, which is frustrating, but the process is there,” said Duchene. “The second you deviate from the process is when you start to fail and deserve to fail. We’ll keep going and we’ll stay with it and take it one day at a time.”

IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY
Lightning vs. Blue Jackets
Capitals vs. Hurricanes
Islanders vs. Penguins
Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

Flames vs. Coyotes
Jets vs. Stars
Sharks vs. Golden Knights
Predators vs. Blues

TODAY’S GAMES WITH PLAYOFF CONTENDERS
Coyotes at Panthers, 7 p.m. ET
Bruins at Devils, 7 p.m. ET
Lightning at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET
Islanders at Canadiens, 7:30 p.m. ET
Red Wings at Blues, 8 p.m. ET
Penguins at Predators, 8 p.m. ET
Flyers at Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m. ET
Avalanche at Stars, 8:30 p.m. ET
Senators at Flames, 9 p.m. ET
Blue Jackets at Oilers, 9 p.m. ET
Jets at Golden Knights, 10 p.m. ET
Sharks at Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey Reference)
Lightning — Clinched
Bruins — 100 percent
Maple Leafs — 100 percent
Capitals — 100 percent
Islanders — 99.2 percent
Penguins — 97.0 percent
Hurricanes — 95.8 percent
Blue Jackets — 72.7 percent
Canadiens — 33.6 percent
Flyers — 1.3 percent
Panthers — 0.4 percent
Sabres — Out
Rangers — Out
Devils — Eliminated
Red Wings — Eliminated
Senators — Eliminated

PLAYOFF PERCENTAGES (via Hockey Reference)
Flames — Clinched
Sharks — Clinched
Jets — 100 percent
Predators — 100 percent
Golden Knights — 100 percent
Blues — 99.7 percent
Stars — 95.5 percent
Coyotes — 54.2 percent
Avalanche — 23.6 percent
Wild — 15 percent
Blackhawks — 10.4 percent
Canucks — 1.3 percent
Oilers — 0.3 percent
Ducks — Out
Kings — Eliminated

JACK OR KAAPO? THE DRAFT LOTTERY PICTURE
Senators — 18.5 percent*
Kings — 13.5 percent
Red Wings — 11.5 percent
Devils — 9.5 percent
Ducks — 8.5 percent
Rangers — 7.5 percent
Sabres — 6.5 percent
Oilers — 6 percent
Canucks — 5 percent
Blackhawks — 3.5 percent
Wild — 3 percent
Panthers — 2.5 percent
Avalanche — 2 percent
Flyers — 1.5 percent
Canadiens — 1 percent
(*COL owns OTT’s 2019 first-round pick)

ART ROSS RACE
Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning — 119 points
Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers — 105 points
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 101 points
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins — 93 points
Johnny Gaudreau, Calgary Flames — 92 points

ROCKET RICHARD RACE
Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals — 48 goals
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers — 43 goals
Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks — 41 goals
John Tavares, Toronto Maple Leafs — 41 goals
Brayden Point, Tampa Bay Lightning — 38 goals
Alex DeBrincat, Chicago Blackhawks — 38 goals
Cam Atkinson, Columbus Blue Jackets — 38 goals

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.