The Winter Classic at the Death Star? The horror!!

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A
few months ago I wrote an article
on my old blog about the
possibility of a Winter Classic being held at Cowboys Stadium. The post
was based on some murmurs that the Cowboys had talked with NHL officials
at a possible outdoor hockey game, although those inquiries had never
been truly confirmed. Until now.

Speaking
with Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas
, Jerry Jones confirmed that he
had indeed been in talks about a possible Winter Classic at his own
stadium.

Jones said he’s talked to NHL officials about hosting the annual Winter
Classic outdoor game. Boston’s Fenway Park was home to the Philadelphia
Flyers
Boston
Bruins
game on New Year’s Day, and previous Winter Classics have
been played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Ralph Wilson Stadium in
Buffalo.

“We could obviously do something like that,’ Jones said. “We’ve had
communication with the NHL.”

Hmm. Thoughts after the jump.

“Something like that” are the key words here. Obviously, a lot would
have to happen for a big outdoor hockey game to be held in Dallas,
although it most likely wouldn’t exactly be “outdoor”. Cowboys Stadium
can be a perfectly climate-controlled indoor stadium, so keeping the ice
in good condition shouldn’t be a factor.

The issue is whether there would actually be enough interest to
warrant the game. Since I’m not a big fan of repeating myself, I’ll just
quote what I said back in January.

Then the matter of the fans comes into play. For a game like this,
you
could potentially get 80,000 hockey fans into the Stadium. But where
would these fans come from? Past games have featured rivalry matchups
between two teams that are geographically close; Chicago vs. Detroit,
Philly vs. Boston. Even Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh had some matchup appeal
to it. Who would Dallas face that would promise to get opposing fans
into the Stadium? San Jose? Anaheim? I think for a game this big, you’d
see a good turnout of Dallas Stars fans but not enough to fill Cowboys
Stadium. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but the NHL is going to want
to ensure a sellout for a game that big. And they’re going to want a
rowdy, loud crowd.

There’s also the small issue that the Cotton Bowl is held at Cowboys
Stadium now, every New Year’s Day. This just happens to be the
traditional day that the NHL holds the Winter Classic. So there’s a
matter of either moving the Winter Classic, or having a separate game at
Cowboys Stadium.

As incredible as it would be to see 100,000 fans watching hockey in
Texas, you have to admit that it just wouldn’t be the same. The Classic
is supposed to be a reminder of pond hockey, the origins of the sport
and how kids grew up playing the game in their backyard.

Hockey is working in Texas, there’s no doubt about that. And that’s
incredible all on it’s own. But the Winter Classic in Dallas? Just
doesn’t sound….right.

Oshie’s hat trick lets Caps just barely squeak by Penguins in OT

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What a start.

This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.

This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.

What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:

This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.

There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.

Twice:

If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.

NOTES:

Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.

— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.

— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.

— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.

— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.

Video: Wilson delivers late, knee-on-knee hit to Sheary

Wilson hit
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Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.

You can see that incident below:

Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.

Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.

This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.

In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.

Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints

Video: Penguins, Caps combine for three goals in 90 seconds

Oshie goal
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For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.

Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.

In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:

After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.

Video: Beagle gets stick stuck in visor

Beagle
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Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.

Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: