Roberto Luongo, Jaromir Jagr highlight NHL's opening night storylines

Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

The NHL finally returned on Saturday night and the drama instantly kicked into high gear, starting with some spectacular scoring showcases by a pair of hockey legends.

NHL opening night has come and gone, and here are a few takeaways from a busy day in which 26 of the league's 30 teams were in action. (Sorry Buffalo, San Jose, Edmonton and Calgary. You'll get your fun eventually.)

* The return of the NHL on Saturday night also meant the return of Don Cherry to the CBC on Hockey Night In Canada, where he was instantly in mid-season form, ranting about USA hockey and Brian Burke. Cherry dismissed U.S. college hockey once more, stating that those players are trained for tournaments and not the NHL, while calling Burk's four-year tenure in Toronto as "four years of failure."

* A couple of NHL rookies shined in their debuts on Saturday, with Vladimir Tarasenko and Jonathan Huberdeau leading their respective teams to be opening-night wins. Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues in a 6-0 dismantling of the Detroit Red Wings, while Huberdeau added a goal and two assists in the Panthers' 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

* Perhaps the biggest storyline in the NHL coming out of the lockout was the impending trade of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo. The situation became much more interesting after Saturday, when Cory Schneider lasted just 26 minutes in his debut as the Canucks starting goaltender. Schneider was pulled after allowing five goals on 14 shots, with Luongo stopping 10-of-12 in relief in the Canucks' 7-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. No word on who will be in net on Sunday.

* Jaromir Jagr had a bombastic debut for the Dallas Stars, scoring two goals and adding two more assists in his team's 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Jagr, who was absolutely spectacular in the game, apologized after the game for not being at his best while still dealing with jet lag.

* Teemu Selanne was just as good for the Anaheim Ducks, adding two goals and two assists of his own in the 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Selanne and Jagr, both over 40 years old and two of the few players remaining from the lockout-shortened 48-game season, now lead the NHL in scoring.

* As expected, sloppy hockey dominated play on opening night as teams hit the ice in a game situation without the benefit of a preseason. While a number of players around the league had the chance to play somehwere during the lockout, expect to see sloppy play -- both from the players and the officials -- for at least the next week.

* Think the Detroit Red Wings miss Nicklas Lidstrom? The Red Wings managed just 14 shots on net in a disastrous 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. Detroit allowed four power play goals in the game and never mounted much of an attack, as the Red Wings certainly look to be in danger of missing the playoffs this season.

* Finally, the Columbus Blue Jackets are above .500 after a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators. Time to celebrate!

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