While we’re gearing up for the 2011 Winter Classic between the Penguins and Capitals, NCAA hockey had their own outdoor game going on today. In a truly ridiculous show of support, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University squared off outdoors at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
If you’re not familiar with “The Big House” it’s a stadium that seats over 100,00 fans. Today’s game set a new hockey attendance record with 113,411 fans and smashed the record set during the 2010 World Championships that saw 77,803 fans turn out for host Germany’s game against the United States. The crowd is also the largest ever at Michigan Stadium. In making sure the home fans got to go home happy, the Wolverines took out the Spartans in shutout fashion winning 5-0.
Team USA World Junior Championships candidate, and New Jersey Devils draft pick, Jon Merrill scored twice as did New York Rangers prospect Carl Hagelin. Wolverines goalie Shawn Hunwick, brother of Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick, made 34 saves to get the shutout.
These two schools have done an outdoor game before, facing off in the “Cold War” in 2001, a game that saw 75,000 fans turn out in East Lansing, Michigan . That game featured current Habs star Mike Cammalleri playing injured for the Michigan Wolverines and winning the game MVP award.
Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.
Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.
The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.
Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.