NHL releases schedule, here are five key takeaways

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Following yesterday’s home openers reveal, the NHL on Tuesday announced its full 1,230-game regular season schedule for the 2016-17 campaign.

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Five key takeaways from today’s announcement:

1. It’s condensed, and tightly-packed

September’s World Cup of Hockey will result in a later-than-usual start to the regular season, and the implementation of “bye weeks” — see more on those here — makes for some pretty compressed parts of the schedule.

2. The celebratory stuff

The Maple Leafs are celebrating their 100th season by hosting the first-ever NHL Centennial Classic, an outdoor game on Jan. 1 at BMO Field against the Red Wings.

Speaking of those Red Wings, they’ll be commemorating their final season at Joe Louis Arena with 18 home dates against Original Six opponents.

The Kings are celebrating their 50th anniversary by hosting the 2017 NHL All-Star Game at Staples Center, while the Blues are celebrating their 50th by hosting the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium against the Blackhawks.

The Penguins and Flyers are also heading into their respective 50th anniversary seasons, and will face off in a Stadium Series game at Heinz Field on Saturday, Feb. 25.

3. Noteworthy contests

— Stanley Cup Final rematch between the Penguins and Sharks will go on Thursday, Oct. 20 from Consol.

— The Heritage Classic between the Jets and Oilers, to be played outdoors at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, is on Sunday, Oct. 23.

— Edmonton’s first game at its new rink, Rogers Place, will be against provincial rival Calgary on opening night (Wednesday, Oct. 12).

— Detroit’s last-ever regular season game at the Joe will be against the Devils on Sunday, Apr. 9.

4. Dates and breaks

Opening night is Oct. 12, and the final day of the regular season is Apr. 9.

Christmas Break is from Dec. 24-26, and the All-Star Break is from Jan.27-30.

The trade deadline, per Cap Friendly, is Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. ET.

The league’s annual “Black Friday” showcase is loaded up, an 11-game slate including matinees between the Rangers-Flyers, Penguins-Wild, ‘Hawks-Ducks and Isles-Sharks.

5. Reunions

— New Minnesota head coach Bruce Boudreau returns to Anaheim for the first since being fired on Jan. 8, when the Wild take on the Ducks at Honda.

— Old Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo, now the Blues’ bench-boss-in-waiting, returns to Xcel for the first time since being fired on Nov. 26, when St. Louis takes on the Wild.

— Randy Carlyle goes back to Toronto on Monday, Dec. 19 when the Ducks take on the Leafs at the ACC.

Related: Penguins to raise Stanley Cup banner against Ovi and the Caps

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

caufield surgery
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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

matty beniers
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.