NHL releases 2004-05 schedule

Despite there being no guarantee of hockey next season, the NHL released the 2004-05 regular-season schedule on Wednesday.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15, and if the NHL and the Players' Association can't come to terms on a new deal, a lockout by the owners could wipe out next season.

If the league and union do hammer out a new agreement, the NHL's 88th regular season will begin on Oct. 13 with the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning hosting the Philadelphia Flyers.

The league and the union are scheduled to meet July 21 in New York to resume talks over the collective bargaining agreement.

"We look forward to defending the Stanley Cup next season and rekindling all the wonderful memories from 2003-04," Lightning president Ron Campbell said in a statement.

"And I can't think of a better way of doing that than by raising our championship banners and opening the season with one of the league's best teams in a sold out St. Pete Times Forum."

Other marquee matches on opening night include Dominik Hasek and the Ottawa Senators hosting the Montreal Canadiens, the Western Conference champion Calgary Flames visiting the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks facing off against the San Jose Sharks.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Boston Bruins on Nov. 6 in the annual Hall of Fame game, honouring 2004 inductees Ray Bourque, Larry Murphy, Paul Coffey and Cliff Fletcher.

The NHL all-star game is slated for Feb. 13 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, while CBC's Hockey Day In Canada is set for Feb. 19, 2005 with Ottawa at Montreal in the afternoon contest followed by Edmonton at Toronto and Calgary at Vancouver.

Other key dates:

  • Vancouver Canucks: season opener - Oct. 13 at San Jose; home opener - Oct. 16 Detroit

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: season opener - Oct. 15 at New Jersey; home opener - Oct. 16 Ottawa

  • Ottawa Senators: season opener - Oct. 13 Montreal

  • Calgary Flames: season opener - Oct. 13 at Anaheim; home opener - Oct. 19 Vancouver

  • Montreal Canadiens: season opener - Oct. 13 at Ottawa; home opener - Oct. 16 Philadelphia

  • Edmonton Oilers: season opener - Oct. 14 Detroit

  • now