United States seizes $100,000 worth of phony Winter Classic gear bound for Pittsburgh

While the players, coaches, and staff at Heinz Field are busy preparing for the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, there’s another group that’s already well into the game and doing their best off the ice.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The Feds seized shipments of counterfeit Winter Classic merchandise that was on its way to Pittsburgh to be sold around the city for the New Years Day event. If this seems like it’s not that big of a deal, you’d be very wrong.

In the past month authorities in Pittsburgh scanned incoming packages for counterfeit goods and intercepted shipments from overseas of almost 800 fake items. The counterfeits included NHL and National Football League jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other souvenirs worth an estimated $100,000, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.

Recently, the NHL shared information saying that over 38,000 Winter Classic jerseys alone have been sold in advance of the game and after walking around Pittsburgh the last couple of days, I almost think that number is grossly under reported. Much like a rock concert or any other big pro sporting event, there’s always going to be some shady characters selling questionable merchandise for well under market value in the vicinity of the venue. It is, however, good to see that the number of brutal fakes will be less than anticipated.

There won’t be a shortage of places to get Winter Classic gear at Heinz Field as there’s numerous booths inside and outside the stadium including this truck from Dick’s Sporting Goods that’ll be setting up shop next to the stadium.

If you want the real stuff, just stick to the guys selling from the booths. If you want shoddy, sketchy merchandise I’m willing to bet there’ll be guys with duffle bags and cardboard boxes to feed your need.

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: