This time it seems like our hopes to see “The Great One” take the ice in Philadelphia for the Winter Classic alumni game are dashed again.
CSNPhilly’s John Boruk tweeted last night that Wayne Gretzky will not be participating in the alumni exhibition at Citizens Bank Park and has told folks with the Winter Classic as much. Boruk’s sources indicate that if the game was held in New York City he would have played in the game.
Considering that Yankee Stadium is hosting a college bowl game for the next couple of years, if we’re going to see Gretzky suit up for an alumni game we’re going to have to hope for St. Louis or Los Angeles to host one in the meantime. That’s… Not very likely to happen we’d assume.
While it’s disappointing to see that 99 won’t be playing, the number of other greats and Hall Of Famers that will be playing is off the charts. Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber, and Eric Lindros playing for the Flyers and we’re likely to see a host of former 1994 Rangers suit up as well including Mark Messier and with Mike Keenan coaching the team, that will make the event a fun one.
Still, this has been the best opportunity to get Gretzky out there for an event like this and after seeing Mario Lemieux play for Pittsburgh last year, getting that megastar touch to the game would’ve made it nostalgia perfect.
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…