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Stockholm to host Detroit Red Wings NHL opener

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.

Stockholm to host Detroit Red Wings NHL opener
Niklas Lidström and Henrik Zetterberg cheer a goal by Mikael Samuelsson (c)

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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HOCKEY

Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft

Rasmus Dahlin became just the second Swedish-born player to be selected first overall in the NHL draft on Friday when the Buffalo Sabres used the top pick on the rangy teenage defenceman.

Sweden's Rasmus Dahlin first overall pick in NHL draft
Rasmus Dahlin is bound for Buffalo. Photo: Ron Jenkins/Getty Images/AFP
Dahlin, who plays for Frolunda HC in the Swedish league and was widely expected to be the first pick, follows Mats Sundin, who was the top choice of the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
 
“I just want everything to start,” Dahlin said. “I'm going to bring everything I have to that city. I'm super excited. I can't wait.”
 
Russian forward Andrei Svechnikov went second to the Carolina Hurricanes and the Montreal Canadiens used the third pick to get Finnish centre Jesperi Kotkaniemi.
 
The draft had a decided Europe flavour as four of the top six players were Europeans. The first American was Brady Tkachuk who went to the Ottawa Senators at No. 4 and the Phoenix Coyotes took the first Canadian Barrett Hayton with the fifth pick. 
 
The 18-year-old Dahlin said he was happy to call Buffalo home despite the fact they haven't had a winning season in the past seven seasons and have missed the playoffs eight years in a row.
 
“It's amazing to finally put on the Buffalo Sabres' jersey,” Dahlin said. “I've been there twice. I love that city.”
 
The six-foot-three, 185-pound Dahlin was honoured as the best defenceman at the 2018 world junior championship in Buffalo, registering six assists in seven games. He also played twice for Sweden as a 17-year-old at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
 
At number six, the Detroit Red Wings chose the brash Halifax Mooseheads winger Filip Zadina who vowed to make teams that passed on him pay down the road.
 
“I'm telling my agent if they will pass on me, I will fill their net with the puck,” the Czech Zadina said. “Yeah, it's just I want to prove to them that they have done a bad decision.”
 
The lone trade of the day came before the draft when the Colorado Avalanche acquired backup goalie Philipp Grubauer and defenceman Brooks Orpik from the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals for the 47th pick. The Capitals were willing to get rid of Orpik and Grubauer so they could create salary cap space to sign free agents.