Spokane Chiefs dismantle Kootenay Ice 11-2 in WHL’s ‘Rockstar Outdoor Hockey Classic’

It didn’t have the world record breaking attendance of “The Big Chill” between Michigan and Michigan State nor did it feature a contest between hockey’s two biggest stars like the 2011 Winter Classic, but the WHL put on an outdoor game of its own tonight. They even attracted an energy drink sponsor, as the event was titled the Rockstar Oudoor Hockey Classic.

Sure, the sold out crowd of 7,075 fans who watched the Spokane Chiefs dominate the Kootenay Ice 11-2 would be a mere drop in the bucket for those aforementioned outdoor games, but if everyone enjoyed it* then why not?

* – People associated with the Kootenay Ice might be the exception judging from the score of that game, though.

The event took place at Spokane’s Avista Stadium, included appearances from former minor league hockey players and featured typical attractions for big events including a fireworks display. Here are some more details.

Former Allan Cup Champions Don Schereza and Dwight Carruthers, who played for the Spokane Jets and Flyers respectivley in the 1970’s, were joined by former Chief Joe Cardarelli at center ice. The pre-game was atmosphere was puncuated by a flyover from the 92 Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild Air Force Base.

Near perfect weather and the scoring output by the home club kept the capacity crowd involved through all 60 minutes. A fireworks spectacular presented by TicketsWest highlighted the post game ceremonies.

Following the game, fans were treated to three different giveaways, a commerative ticket, a poster of the opening ceremonies presented by Washington Trust Bank and The Rypien Foundation, and a coupon for a Chalupa at Taco Bell thanks to Spokane scoring more than five goals.

Nothing says “crowd pleaser” quite like a nine-goal win and some free artery-clogging fast food, right?

Larkin will start season with Red Wings

Dylan Larkin
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Dylan Larkin — despite being just 19 years old — will begin the season on the Detroit Red Wings, a team not normally accustomed to having teenagers in the lineup.

Coach Jeff Blashill confirmed the news this morning. Larkin could apparently start on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader.

Larkin, the 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft, had three goals and one assist in five preseason games. A natural center, he’s shown the potential to one day step into the kind of “big-time” role that Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk have played for so long in Detroit.

“You have to give our scouts credit,” former coach Mike Babcock told ESPN in May. “We got a great pick where we picked. How high end is he? How soon?”

Related: Coaching change ‘one of the reasons’ Larkin signed with Wings

Preseason stats: Five goalies with good numbers, five goalies with…not

Anders Nilsson
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Yeah, yeah, it’s a small sample size and it’s just the preseason, but here are some goaltending stats anyway.

Five goalies with good numbers

Anders Nilsson, Edmonton — zero goals on 53 shots. His solid play a likely factor in the decision to waive Ben Scrivens, who actually wasn’t that bad in the preseason (4 goals on 56 shots).

Martin Jones, San Jose — three goals on 100 shots. The Sharks are rolling the dice on a couple of cheap goalies. Jones and Alex Stalock have a combined cap hit of just $4.6 million.

Jacob Markstom, Vancouver — three goals on 79 shots. Can he finally get over the NHL hump? If so, he could make it a real competition with Ryan Miller.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus — five goals on 122 shots. The Blue Jackets have scored a ton of goals in the preseason, but there remain questions about their blue line. Bobrovsky has the ability to make a so-so defense look good.

Anton Khudobin, Anaheim — two goals on 67 shots. A good early sign for the Ducks, who have Frederik Andersen in the starting role and want to give young John Gibson more time to develop in the AHL.

Five goalies with bad numbers

Thomas Greiss, Islanders — 14 goals on 94 shots. Has to be a bit of concern in Brooklyn. The Isles got below-average backup play last season from Chad Johnson. They wanted to fix that with the Greiss signing.

Robin Lehner, Buffalo — 11 goals on 95 shots. Tim Murray paid a hefty price to get the 24-year-old out of Ottawa. With the aforementioned Johnson in the backup role, the goaltending story is worth watching.

Jeff Zatkoff, Pittsburgh — 11 goals on 74 shots. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury and Matthew Murray weren’t particularly sharp either. The Penguins conceded 28 goals in eight games.

Kari Lehtonen, Dallas — 15 goals on 84 shots. For a Stars team that desperately needs better goaltending, that has to be worrying. Antti Niemi wasn’t a whole lot better either, allowing eight goals on 65 shots. Fair question to ask — how many of all those goals were attributable to poor defensive play?

Pekka Rinne, Nashville — 12 goals on 91 shots. Has earned the benefit of the doubt, but thought we’d point it out anyway.