Friday, October 08, 2010

A fresh sheet of ice starts the quest for Stanley on Opening

The 2010-11 NHL season got underway on Thursday morning, the first match of the day's five games brought to us from Helsinki, Finland this years starting spot for 82 game endurance race to the playoffs.

Game number one featured the Minnesota Wild and the Carolina Hurricanes, with Minnesota grabbing the bragging rights of Finland with 4-3 victory. While the folks back home were pre-occupied with the fate of the Twins in the world Series, the NHL's mission to Europe offered up a sample of the excitement over a new season. Unfortunately for the Wild fans that may have tuned in at lunch the sample seemed rather familiar from last year, costly mistakes at the wrong time which provided Carolina with the opportunity to take two points away. The two teams wrap up their European tour on Friday,  today will also see Columbus and San Jose as well as Boston and Phoenix start off their tour of the continent in Sweden and the Czech Republic.

A little closer to the head office, the Penguins opened up their new arena, welcoming their cross state rivals the Flyers to town and the Flyers ruined the Pens grand opening celebrations, taking a 3-2 victory. Penguin fans marvelled about the new home but perhaps felt a little disappointed that the Pens power play woes have continued from last year.

More familiar home rinks marked the remainder of premiere night 2010.

The Blackhawks began their defence of the Stanley Cup in Denver with their salary cap revamped line up finding that the youngsters on the Avalanche have picked up a few ideas since last season. The Avs honoured their own Stanley Cup champs of 1996 and the current crew took inspiration on the way to a 4-3 victory over the Hawks.

The Leafs and Canadiens rekindled their ageless show with an entertaining night at Toronto's Air Canada Centre, the hometown Leafs taking their first two points of the season with a 3-2 victory, leaving the most loyal of Leaf fans to begin to draw up the parade route for Stanley's return later in June. One game down, 81 more to go for the Leaf faithful.

The hardest hitting game of the night came out of Edmonton, where provincial rivals the Flames and Oilers reignited the north south dialogue, though on Thursday it seemed only one team was doing the talking as the Oilers dominated the Flames in every facet of play leading up to a 4-0 shut out of their provincial rivals. It's been a fairly long time for Oiler fans, but Thursday brought reminders of the fast paced and fresh faced youngsters of the Golden era of Oiler's hockey, much to the shock for the Flames the scoreboard result resembled some of those nights from the 80's when the Blue and Copper ruled the ice.

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