These reunions are always a little awkward, aren’t they? Steve Yzerman being the GM of the Lightning and former captain of the Red Wings helps spice up tonight’s game (7:30 p.m. ET) between two non-rivals that rarely meet.
Of course, Yzerman’s presence is merely as an executive but that won’t stop Wings fans from being torn about seeing “Stevie Y” coming back to town. Lost in all that hoopla is the fact that this game features a metric ton of forward talent. Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier for the Lightning going up against Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen for Detroit.
Making this game all the more fun is the fact that both teams ride in playing well of late. Detroit has won three in a row while the Lightning are winners of two of their last three after getting bumped off by the Wild Monday night.
Where tonight’s game gets curious is in goal. Jimmy Howard has been showing that him being left off the All-Star ballot was probably a big mistake. Meanwhile, Tampa’s gotten things right with Mathieu Garon playing well lately.
Will the Lightning’s 1-3-1 defense fluster the Red Wings’ potent attack or will it spur them on into attacking a Lightning team that’s had issues keeping the puck out of the net? Expect the Wings to bring the attack to them and show Steve Yzerman the way things used to be when he was there.
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: