In a sharp departure from previous seasons, the NHL will announce the 2010-2011 Regular season schedule on June 22, a full three weeks earlier than normal.
Speculation is that the schedule is being released as to facilitate limited game ticket plans by various teams, the NHL Premiere series involving six teams in three European cities (Helsinki, Prague, and Stockholm) in early October, and the two outdoor games the League will play next winter (Washington vs. Pittsburgh, Jan. 1 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field; and Montreal vs. Calgary, Jan. 22 at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.)
The normal date of NHL schedule release has been the day after the MLB All-Star Game, which most in sports consider the 'Deadest Day' in the North American sports calendar.
In addition, the Minnesota Wild have been rumored to be announcing their pre-season schedule as soon as Monday, June 14th. The Wild will play three games at home and three on the road, prior to leaving for Finland to take part in NHL Premiere 2010, with games against Carolina on Oct. 7 & 8, at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland. They will also play an exhibition against Finnish SM-liiga team Ilves Tampere in Tampere on Monday, Oct. 4th.