Every once in a while, there’s a startling amount of symmetry between the NHL and the NBA. Maybe it’s because the two sports share the same basic workload (an 82-game regular season schedule, for one thing), but it still doesn’t change the fact that there are some interesting similarities.
The results will share that symmetry, as both of the two star players’ teams earned lopsided victories. While James made a more tangible impact by scoring 38 points, both Heatley and James made a difference in games that brought boisterous crowds to a hushed, stunned silence.
Heatley earned an assist and drew two hooking penalties that ended up being San Jose’s first two goals (the team went 2 for 2 on the man advantage in this game), but he was far from the only Shark who stood out in this game.
Logan Couture scored twice while Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun provided those power-play goals. Antti Niemi looked like the goalie who helped Chicago win a Stanley Cup in this high pressure game, stopping 28 shots for crowd deflating shutout.
Pascal Leclaire was probably the brightest star in a dismal night for the Senators, helping Ottawa at least remain competitive by making 29 out of 33 saves.
They might have been bitter homecoming experiences, but Heatley and LeBron ended up being some of the only people leaving their returns with a smile on their faces.
‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)