Mario Lemieux and Ron Francis headline Penguins roster for 2011 Winter Classic alumni game

The 2011 Winter Classic is sure to be a huge spectacle in Pittsburgh on New Year’s Day with the Penguins and Sidney Crosby taking on the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin, the day before is shaping up to be a spectacle all its own.

On December 31st the Penguins and Capitals will have a game between respective members of their alumni. If you think that this sounds like a great idea given some of the stars in the Penguins and Caps history, you’d be 100% right. The Penguins are sparing no expense in trying to ice one of the best alumni teams ever assembled.

Mario Lemieux will be joined by fellow Hall of Famers Paul Coffey, Ron Francis and Bryan Trottier and “youngster” Bill Guerin as the Pittsburgh Penguins Alumni team takes on the Washington Capitals Alumni Dec. 31 at Heinz Field as part of the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic weekend.

Uh… Wow. Full rosters for both teams will be available in the near future but for now we’ve got this to get us excited.

Getting Lemieux and Francis out there is impressive in its own right but adding Coffey and Trottier, both who made their name with different dynasties in the 80s (Coffey with Edmonton and Trottier with the Islanders) it’s an incredible assembly of hall of fame talent. Bill Guerin getting to suit up as an alumni so soon after retiring from the NHL makes for a nice perk. Let’s just go ahead and say he’ll probably be the guy doing the bulk of the scoring.

If you’re wondering who the Caps will throw out there against this insane crew, all that is known as of now is 80s and 90s great Peter Bondra. As for who else we’d like to see out there from both teams, our lists are huge. Right off the top of our head though we’re hoping that the goalies facing off against each other are Tom Barrasso for Pittsburgh and Olaf Kolzig for Washington.

We’d also really enjoy seeing tough guys Ulf Samuelsson and Dale Hunter get out there and throw down for old time sake, but getting Samuelsson away from the Coyotes bench where he’s an assistant coach might be tough. Perhaps ESPN analyst Matthew Barnaby can get the call in his place.

This is one moment where we’re really upset that Jaromir Jagr is playing in the KHL as having him able to suit up for both teams to get booed by their fans would be hilariously entertaining all on its own. Of course, the thought of getting Lemieux and Jagr together one more time, even in an old timers game setting like this, would be amazing.

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    Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

    Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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    They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

    The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

    In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

    The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

    Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

    The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

    McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



    Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

    Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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    It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

    Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

    Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

    Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

    “Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

    Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: