The puck drops tonight for opening faceoff of the 2009-2010 season! The first game of the year will be between the Montreal Canadiens vs the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7pm ET (4:00 pm if you're on the west coast!). Also starting at 7pm ET, the Washington Capitals, home of the Great 8 Alexander Ovechkin, will play the Boston Bruins, who were the Eastern Conference champions last season.
Incidentally, this season will mark the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the National Hockey Association, the precursor to the NHL, on December 2, 2009. Just two days after the creation of the Association, the Montreal Canadiens, as well as the Montreal Wanderers as well as teams from Renfrew, Haileybury and Cobalt. Only the Canadiens survived the 100 years of change, to become the only continuously operating team to predate the NHL. Their first win, on January 5 of 1910, was the start of a long and successful franchise, with 24 Stanley Cup Championships to its name, earning their first one back in 1916.
Noteably, the first Sharks game of the season is tonight, against the Colorado Avalanche, and fans are anxious to see how the replacement for Jonathan Cheechoo, Dan Heatley, does. Cheechoo was traded to Ottowa in exchange for Heatley, who admittedly has a more consistent goal scoring average (45 goals per season over the last four seasons). Also in the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks face off tonight at 7 pm PST.
Opening night for the Ducks won't be until Saturday, when they face off against the Sharks at the Honda Center at 7:05pm. There's been a rivalry simmering over the summer between these teams after the Ducks knocked the Sharks out in the first round of the playoffs in six games last season, after the Sharks won the President's Trophy. It'll be a great matchup to watch as the Ducks defend the victory that put the Sharks out of the playoffs.
In Ducks news, 19 year old Luca Sbisa has officially been put on the roster for Saturday's game. Other defensemen that will appear Saturday night are: Scott Niedermeyer, Ryan Whitney, James Wisniewski, Nick Boynton, Steve Eminger and Sheldon Brookbank.
Right wing Joffrey Lupul was back on the ice Wednesday after recovering from some back pain, and is looking forward to playing on Saturday.
Petteri Nokelianen is recovering from a groin injury, and is still unsure if he'll be on the ice Saturdy.
Everyone's excited for the Ducks return to the Pond, and to defend the victory they fought so hard for over the Sharks.
Lets Go Ducks!