July 15, 2009

Sakic to be honored on opening night

The Colorado Avalanche will host one of four games on the first night of the 2009-10 NHL season, before which the team will retire Joe Sakic's sweater number.

The NHL released it season schedule Wednesday, announcing the campaign will begin Oct. 1.

Sakic recently announced his retirement and will be honored by the Avalanche on that night. Colorado will begin its season by hosting San Jose. The other opening night games will find Washington at Boston, Montreal at Toronto and Vancouver at Calgary.

NHL games will be held in Europe on the second and third nights of the season. Detroit and St. Louis will meet in Stockholm for a two-game series on Oct. 2-3. Chicago and Florida will also play two games in Helsinki.

Pittsburgh will raise its Stanley Cup championship banner on Oct. 2 prior to a game against the New York Rangers.

One of the highlights of the season will be the third Winter Classic, played on New Year's Day in Fenway Park. Boston and entertain Philadelphia in the outdoor event that has fast become one of the league's premier annual events.

NHL teams will take a break this season while the Winter Olympics are being contested in Vancouver from Feb. 12-28.