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Stockholm to host Detroit Red Wings NHL opener

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Stockholm to host Detroit Red Wings NHL opener
Niklas Lidström and Henrik Zetterberg cheer a goal by Mikael Samuelsson (c)
07:44 CEST+02:00
A number of Swedish stars from North America's National Hockey League (NHL) will have the chance to open their 2009-2010 season in Stockholm, the league announced on Wednesday.

Four NHL teams will play their opening games of the season in Scandinavia under the the 30-team league's newly released 1,230-game schedule for 2009-2010.

October 2 and 3, the second and third nights of the campaign, will see Detroit captain Nicklas Lidström and teammate Henrik Zetterberg return home to Sweden to lead the Red Wings against the St. Louis Blues at Stockholm.

On the same nights, the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will meet in Helsinki.

The next NHL season will begin October 1 with four games, including San Jose at Colorado, where the host Avalanche will retire Canadian star Joe Sakic's jersey number 19.

Other first-night features include Washington at Boston, Montreal at Toronto and Vancouver at Calgary.

New Year's Day will feature the NHL's fourth outdoor game with the Boston Bruins hosting Philadelphia at historic baseball venue Fenway Park.

The NHL will take a break in February so top players can compete for their homelands in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.

NHL games will end after play on February 14 and games will resume on March 1, the day after Olympic hockey men's gold is decided.

The Vancouver Canucks will play an NHL-record 14 consecutive road games from January 30 through March 10 as a result of the Winter Olympics being played in their home arena.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will raise their Stanley Cup championship banner in their home opener on October 2 against the New York Rangers.

The Montreal Canadiens will celebrate their 100th birthday on December 4 with a home game against Boston, their oldest US rival, and celebrate the 100th anniversary of their first game on January 5 when they play at Washington.

The season concludes April 11 with the Stanley Cup playoffs starting three days later.

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