As we get set to open the Stanley Cup finals tonight, the NHL made several announcements Friday in Chicago looking forward to next season. Perhaps lost in all the items was this one: The 2010-11 schedule for the Sabres' 40th anniversary season will be released on Tuesday, June 22. That's about three weeks earlier than the last couple years, when the schedule was released during the dead time in the sports calendar the day after Major League Baseball's all-star game.
It will be interesting to see how the league handles the Sabres' schedule around the holidays as the World Junior Championships open in HSBC Arena on Dec. 26. The Sabres are not expected to be on a two-week road trip and are likely to play one home game during the tourney on Jan. 1
The schedule release will be the kickoff to a big week on the NHL calendar. The annual awards show in Las Vegas will be on June 23 and the draft takes place in Los Angeles on June 25-26.
Three other Sabres-related tidbits came out Friday: As previously announced, the Sabres will meet Ottawa in a preseason game Sept. 28 in Dundas, Ont., as part of the Kraft Hockeyville promotion that awards arena upgrades and the showcase game to a small Canadian town; the Sabres or Chicago will meet Toronto in the Hall of Fame Game Nov. 6 in Air Canada Centre, two days before the annual induction ceremony; and the Sabres will be one of several U.S.-based teams playing on Sunday, Feb. 20 as NBC helps promote USA Hockey's Hockey Weekend Across America.
As for the 2009-10 season still going on? I got Blackhawks in five.
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