The first Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada has arrived and after an appetizer on Thursday with Toronto-Montreal and Edmonton-Calgary, "Coach's Corner" and"The Hot Stove" will settle into their regular schedules as the 2010-11 season gets into full swing.
The Ottawa Senators visit the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins (both at 7 p.m. ET), while the late game will feature the Los Angeles Kings at the Vancouver Canucks (10 p.m. ET). For our Canadian friends, you can watch the games on Yahoo! Sports Canada's presentation of CBC Sports Hockey Night in Canada.
In Toronto, the "Battle of Ontario" resumes as the Maple Leafs look for their fifth straight victory over the Senators and their first 2-0-0 start since 1999. An impressive 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, buoyed by a solid performance by Jean-Sebastien Giguere(notes) in goal has excitement rising. There's no parade planning at the moment as most of the excitement is coming from the fact that the win came against Montreal and no that the team is en route to an 82-0-0 season. But it's Toronto, so every win, loss and prospect demotion is very, very big news.
Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston was not happy with his team's performance saying that "every area" needed improvement after the game. Jason Spezza(notes), who missed last night's game with an injured groin may be in the lineup tonight and is looking to rebound after a disappointing campaign last season.
Over in Vancouver, there's a lot to celebrate as it's the 40th anniversary of their first ever NHL game which, like tonight, featured the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings will get in on the festivities by wearing the beautiful purple and gold jerseys they donned back then. One former Canucks who will now wear a Kings jersey is Willie Mitchell(notes), who hasn't played a regular season game since suffering a concussion in January. A warm ovation is expected for veteran defenseman.
The bigger news will occur during a pre-game ceremony at Rogers Arena, where the Canucks will announce their next captain with all signs (including the team website) pointing towards Henrik Sedin(notes) being the one to wear the "C" on his jersey.
After much debate among fans as to whether it would be Henrik or Ryan Kesler(notes), the elder Sedin (by six minutes over Daniel) will get the nod and take what he saw when Markus Naslund(notes) was Vancouver captain and help him become a better leader.
From Naslund, Henrik learned about locker room dynamics and how to be inclusive. He saw how it should be a place where young players and veterans feel comfortable.
"When we got here, everything was so big for us and Markus made it feel like we were still in our home town," Henrik said."Somehow, he found a way to make it feel normal."
Naslund had initiatives to make the Sedins feel part of the group, an example was his rule that the dressing room be an English only space.
"He would never speak Swedish to us in the dressing room," Henrik said. "It was the chit chatting back and forth and doing it in English which made us feel a part of the team a lot more quickly. We were part of the group. It made us more comfortable right away.
Vancouver enters the season with high expectations and the change in captaincy and taking that pressure off Roberto Luongo(notes) is one of the aspects of the team that is making them Stanley Cup favorites with many.