Once considered an event solely to celebrate Canadian culture, the 2014 edition of Hockey Day in Canada has become an international event that fans of the sport from all over the world will be able to enjoy.
With four excellent matchups featuring all seven Canadian teams—and the New York Rangers—the intensity of the action on the ice will only be matched by the heartwarming stories and the special features shown during the day.
Here is all of the vital viewing information for Saturday’s festivities and the biggest stars to watch.
Where: Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada
When: Saturday, Jan. 18 at 12 p.m. EST
Watch: CBC and NHL Network
|Time (EST)||Home Team||Away Team||TV|
|2 p.m.||Ottawa Senators||New York Rangers||NHL Network|
|2 p.m.||Winnipeg Jets||Edmonton Oilers||CBC|
|7 p.m.||Toronto Maple Leafs||Montreal Canadiens||NHL Network|
|10 p.m.||Vancouver Canucks||Calgary Flames||CBC|
Henrik and Daniel Sedin, C and LW, Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are not living up to expectations this season, currently sitting fourth in Pacific Division with a 24-16-9 record, but the tandem of Henrik and Daniel Sedin has been one of the bright spots thus far.
The Sedin twins have amassed an impressive 79 combined points through 49 games. Henrik leads the team with 40 points and 31 assists, and Daniel has racked up 13 goals and 26 assists of his own.
Vancouver hasn’t played exceptionally well this season, but the franchise is still much better off than the Calgary Flames. Calgary’s roster is full of young and unproven players, and the Sedin twins should have no problem putting up big numbers.
What better way to celebrate Hockey Day in Canada than by watching two Swedish players dominate?
Phil Kessel, RW, Toronto Maple Leafs
There has been immense pressure on Toronto Maple Leafs winger Phil Kessel to perform for years, and he is finally answering the calls by amassing an impressive 22 goals and 24 assists in 49 games.
If the Maple Leafs had another bona fide offensive threat to pair him with, his numbers would be even better.
Despite the lack of consistency from the offensive unit, Toronto is still very much in the hunt for a postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. With Kessel acting as the most dependable scorer on the team, the franchise will once again lean on him to be the catalyst Saturday.
The Maple Leafs will need Kessel and the entire roster playing well when they host the Montreal Canadiens. In the latest chapter of one the most storied rivalries in all of professional sports, the Toronto winger will be the ultimate difference maker.
Taylor Hall, LW, Edmonton Oilers
One of the most exciting players in the NHL is Edmonton Oilers left winger Taylor Hall. As the No. 1 overall pick in 2010, Hall has faced unrealistic expectations, but he is finding his niche as a versatile offensive threat.
With 18 goals, 27 assists and 45 points in 43 games, Hall currently leads the team in all major offensive statistical categories. Edmonton is an extremely young franchise, but Hall has managed to grow as a player while still acting as a leader for the team.
Hall will once again be the focus of intense scrutiny as the Oilers travel to Winnipeg Saturday to play the Jets. The franchise is faltering once again, and Edmonton fans will be watching to see how Hall performs as an individual in key moments.
If Hall really is the star of the future, he should shine against Winnipeg.
All stats via NHL.com.