As we speculated earlier, one of them is Jeff Blashill. Blashill is the former head coach for Western Michigan and also coached the USHL’s Indiana Ice after assistant coaching stints with Miami of Ohio and Ferris State. Blashill called Friday an “emotional day” and stated that he is “excited for the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream to coach in the NHL with the best organization in sports.”
Bill Peters will be the other Red Wings assistant. He spent three seasons with the Rockford Ice Hogs, the Chicago Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. Peters compiled a 122-97-7-14 record in that time and also won a Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs in 2007-08.
Puck Daddy promised to pledge $64 to Commodore’s favorite charity if he made the number change and encouraged others to do the same, raising a reported $3,456 (and counting?) if people stay true to their words and Commodore’s charity accepts the donations. Commodore discussed the possibility with Greg Wyshynski today.
About that decision: Commodore emailed us on Thursday to let us know a few things: His Twitter account was “blowing up” because of the campaign; he needs to talk to the Wings about the number, seeing as how he’s only spoken to Mike Babcock and Ken Holland so far and we doubt pop culture references to obsolete computers came up; and that he admitted “now there is pressure” on him to follow through.
This wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete evokes video game nostalgia, but let’s hope that things end up better for Commodore than they did for troubled Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Adam “Pacman” Jones and marginalized Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby.
‘John leaves a lasting mark’: NHL announces Collins’ departure as COO
One of the driving forces behind the NHL’s growth over the last decade is moving on.
John Collins, who’s served as the league’s chief operating officer for the last seven years, will be leaving his post to embark on a new business opportunity.
More, from the League:
Collins, who joined the NHL in November 2006, had been COO since August 2008.
“John leaves a lasting mark,” said Commissioner Bettman. “His energy, creativity and skill at building strategic partnerships helped drive significant revenue growth for our League. We are grateful for his many contributions and wish him the best in his new endeavors.”
Said Collins, “I’m grateful to Commissioner Bettman for his leadership and friendship over the past nine years. He had a vision for extending the reach of the NHL and supported us completely as we set out to make the game as big as it deserves to be.
“The NHL’s future is filled with promise and potential and I will admire and cheer the League’s successes to come on the global stage.”
Collins, 53, was regarded as one of main presences behind a number of the NHL’s most successful initiatives, including the Winter Classic and Stadium Series, the HBO 24/7 collaboration, the relaunched World Cup of Hockey, Canadian and American television deals and partnerships with companies like SAP, Adidas, Major League Baseball Advanced Media and GoPro.
During Collins’ tenure, the NHL was twice named “Sports League of the Year” by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily — once in 2011, and again in 2014.
Columbus will have some reinforcements up front when it takes on the Devils tomorrow in New Jersey.
Brandon Dubinsky, who’s missed the last six games with an elbow injury, and Alexander Wennberg — who’s also missed the last six games, but with a foot ailment — have both been activated from injured reserve, and should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)