NHL season to kick off Oct. 1

The 2009-10 NHL campaign will start Oct. 1 with a pair of all-Canadian matchups.

The 2009-10 NHL campaign will start Thursday, Oct. 1, with a pair of all-Canadian matchups.

The NHL unveiled the schedule for its 92nd regular season Wednesday, with the Montreal Canadiens visiting the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks on the road doing battle with the Calgary Flames.

Opening night will also see Colorado hosting the San Jose Sharks, a game that will feature the retirement of former Avalanche captain Joe Sakic's No. 19 jersey, and the Boston Bruins at home against the Washington Capitals.

The NHL will also stage regular-season games in Europe for the third year in a row. The Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues will play in Stockholm on Oct. 2 and 3, and the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks will meet twice in Helsinki.

Among the other highlights to the regular season schedule will be the Winter Classic at Fenway Park between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers on New Year's Day.

Tim Horton's Hockey Day in Canada will be broadcast Jan. 30 on CBC-TV and The annual celebration will feature a Canadian triple-header with the Ottawa Senators taking on the Canadiens, followed by the Leafs and Canucks and the Flames and Edmonton Oilers.

Other games of note include:

  • Oct. 2: The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Rangers and will raise the third Stanley Cup championship banner in franchise history and the team's first since 1992.
  • Nov. 7: The Detroit Red Wings visit the Maple Leafs in the Hockey Hall of Fame Game.
  • Dec. 4: The Canadiens host the Boston Bruins as the Habs celebrate their 100th anniversary.

NHL, NBC extend contract through 2010-11

The NHL also announced Wednesday that it has extended its television contract with NBC through the 2010-11 season.

The revenue-sharing deal between the league and network started in January 2006.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the NHL and NBC "are building an audience, are building momentum and are perfectly positioned to continue growing the game."