Bruins and Coyotes ready to get things started in Prague

Much like Clark and the Griswold Clan, the Bruins were also the unexpected winners of a trip to Europe. After some preseason tune-ups and some sightseeing in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic, the B's are ready to get down to business for real. The Bruins will kick off the '10-'11 season with a pair of games this weekend against the Phoenix Coyotes in Prague, Czech Republic.

The Bruins enter the season with high expectations after an exciting playoff run last season. The Bruins added some offensive firepower in the offseason by trading for Nathan Horton and drafting 18-year-old dynamic forward Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick. One area of concern for the Bruins is dealing with injuries up front, as key forwards Marc Savard (post-concussion symptoms) and Marco Sturm (recovering from offseason knee surgery) will absent be to start the season.

Phoenix Coyotes were the big surprise of the NHL last season. The Desert Dogs were able to put aside of the distractions of ownership issues and relocation rumors to put together the fourth highest point total in the league last season with 107 points. Phoenix's 107 points were good enough for second in the Pacific Division and fourth in the Western Conference. After a disappointing first round exit at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the 'Yotes are hungry to prove that last year's regular season performance was not a fluke.

Saturday's Game

Phoenix Coyotes @ Boston Bruins
12:00 PM Eastern Time (6:00 PM in Prague)
O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Local TV: NESN
National TV: Versus, NHL Center Ice, NHL GameCenter Live
Canadian TV: TSN
Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub

Sunday's Game

Boston Bruins @ Phoenix Coyotes
10:00 AM Eastern Time (4:00 PM in Prague)
O2 Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Local TV: NESN
National TV: NHL Network (US), NHL Center Ice, NHL GameCenter Live
Canadian TV:NHL Network (Canada)
Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub

Get to know the Phoenix Coyotes:

'09-'10 Record: 50-25-7 (107 pts; 2nd in Pacific, 4th in West)

Head Coach: Dave Tippett

Leading Goal Scorer in '09-'10: Lee Stempniak (28 goals)

Goaltending: Ilya Bryzgalov (69 games, 2.29 GAA, 42-20-6, 8 shutouts, .920 Save %); Jason LaBarbera (17 games, 2.13 GAA, 8-5-1, .928 Save %)

Goon: Paul Bissonnette (117 PIMs, 19 Fighting Majors in 41 games in '09-'10)

Key Additions: Ray Whitney and Eric Belanger

Key Departures: Zbynek Michalek, Matthew Lombardi, Jim Vandermeer, and Daniel Winnik

The Latest News out of The Desert:

Travis Hair of Five for Howling thinks the Coyotes deserve more credit for what they accomplished last season. He also apparently thinks he is on the team. Remember: "They" play pro hockey. "We" shit our asses and watch. [Five for Howling]

Coyotes win 3-1 over Dinamo Riga of Latvia in a preseason tune-up and 24 year-old Boston native Keith Yandle will serves as one of the Coyotes' rotating alternate captains [Arizona Republic]

A Geography Lesson from Todd Walsh of Fox Sports Arizona [FSN Arizona]

Petr Prucha and Radim Vrbata are excited to play in their homeland [AP via FSN Arizona]

Eric Belanger is clicking with new linemates Shane Doan and Wojtek Wolski [Arizona Republic]

Injury Report:


Boston Bruins Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Marco Sturm knee 09/13/2010
Marc Savard concussion 09/22/2010
Trent Whitfield achilles-tendon 09/13/2010


Phoenix Coyotes Injuries

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Kurt Sauer head 10/07/2009

Notes:

- I would not be surprised to see Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas each get a start this weekend.

- Former Bruins defenseman Shane Hnidy was invited to the Coyotes training camp on a PTO basis, but he suffered a shoulder injury during camp and remains unsigned.

- The Bruins were the dinner guests of Czech Prime Minister Peter Necas at Hrzansky Palace.

- By the end of the trip, the Coyotes could have more fans in Prague than they do in Glendale.

- 3 Czech natives will play in these games: David Krejci for the Bruins and Petr Prucha and Radim Vrbata for the Coyotes. Note: Zdeno Chara grow-up in Czechoslovakia, which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

- Bruins rookies Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron will likely make their NHL debuts this weekend.

- Both teams were allowed to carry an extra goaltender for the trip to Prague. The Bruins took Nolan Schaefer along for the trip, while former Michigan standout Al Montoya got a free European holiday by hitching a ride with the Coyotes.

- One of my buddies from college is getting married this weekend, but fear out Chowdah Heads, Stanley Cup of Chowder rookie of the year Phunwin will have you covered all weekend long with game recaps and any breaking news.

- Public Skate open threads will start a half hour before puck drop.

- For more on the Coyotes and 2010 NHL Premiere in Prague, check out SB Nation's own Five for Howling

- Don't worry, the "Obligatory Embarrassing Fan Video" feature will return when the Bruins play a team with a bigger fan base.

Drop the puck already...

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