The NHL is delaying the start time of the 2011 Winter Classic. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly broke the news on the NHL Network that the Winter Classic start time would be moved to 8 p.m. on Jan. 1 because of warm weather and the threat of rain. The possibility of a time change had been talked about all week and discussion picked up even more today when the weather forecast didn’t improve at all.
As for the competition the Winter Classic will now face in prime time TV, with it being college football bowl season, the main competition is the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma and UConn. While delaying the start of the game is a bit of a bummer, going up against that bowl game in particular is a bit of a blessing in disguise.
Rather than an early afternoon start, getting to play the game under the lights at Heinz Field offers the opportunity to make the rink and the game really shine on the big stage.
Las Vegas NHL team hires former Habs scout Karpan as director of player personnel
Craven will be responsible for establishing the club’s top minor-league affiliate in the American Hockey League, developing the practice facility in Summerlin, Nevada, building up facilities at T-Mobile Arena and overseeing projects at the request of general manager George McPhee.
Oh yeah, the Vegas franchise still doesn’t have a team name yet.
On Tuesday, the Senators announced they had re-signed the 22-year-old Ceci, a restricted free agent, to a two-year deal, worth a total value of $5.6 million.
The breakdown of the deal from the Senators states Ceci will receive $2.25 million in the first year of his new contract and $3.35 million in the second.
As per General Fanager, Ceci is slated to be a restricted free agent at the end of this deal, which means the Senators would have to match the salary Ceci made in the final season of the contract in their next qualifying offer to him two years from now.
• Other names in the mix include Vancouver property Travis Green (currently with AHL Utica) and longtime Barry Trotz assistant Lane Lambert (currently with Washington).
• Brad Larsen, currently one of John Tortorella’s assistants in Columbus and a former Avs player, won’t be getting an interview. Larsen’s name had apparently been floated earlier.
• And finally, if you’re wondering why so many guys with Columbus ties are in the mix, the Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline explained that former BJ’s assistant GM Chris McFarland now has the same job in Colorado under Joe Sakic.
So there you go.
Poll: What’s a realistic point total for the Sabres?
Last year, Detroit snagged the eighth and final playoff spot in the East with 93 points.
Two years ago, Pittsburgh did the same with 98.
In light of those totals, it’s not surprising to hear what Sabres head coach Dan Byslma pegged as the mark for the upcoming campaign.
“We should expect to be 95 points or higher than that,” Bylsma told NHL.com earlier this summer. “We think we’re better on defense. We think we’re stronger. We’re deeper. If you’re looking at expectations from within, we should be above 95 points at the end of the season.”
It’s a lofty goal, to say the least. Buffalo only had 81 last season.
But there is something to be said for Bylsma’s prediction, because his previous one worked out pretty well. In that same chat with NHL.com, the Sabres head coach said he and GM Tim Murray pegged last year’s club as an 80-to-85 point team, which proved accurate.
And if the last few seasons have shown anything, it’s that Buffalo is on the rise.
The Sabres had a meager 52 points three seasons ago, and made the slight bump up to 54 in ’14-15. Last year signified a huge leap forward — 27 points — which is probably why Bylsma is banking on a 14-15 point improvement (or more) this season.
Of course, this next push will prove more difficult.
For the Sabres to snap their five-year playoff drought, certain areas will need to improve. The club’s 25th-ranked offense needs to find the back of the net with more regularity, and the addition of prized free agent Kyle Okposo should help in that department.
In goal, Robin Lehner will need to stay healthy and appear in significantly more games (just 21 last season). And it remains to be seen what the ramifications from Evander Kane‘s controversial offseason will be.
So… what do you expect from Buffalo next season? Vote away.