Winter Classic

Minnesota, Colorado, St. Louis mentioned as future Winter Classic candidates


The NHL wants to bring outdoor hockey games to as many markets as possible.

Even Tampa Bay?

Well, never say never, but the league’s chief operating officer, John Collins, has a few other places in mind first.

In an interview with the Canadian Press, Collins mentioned Minnesota, St. Louis and Colorado as markets that “should be involved.”

Presumably he meant they “should be involved” as hosts, not just visitors.

“I think there are a lot of markets that would be fantastic,” Collins said. “I’d like to ultimately see these games not viewed as a regional matchup or a Canada game or a U.S. game, but really kind of a celebration of hockey. If you’re a hockey fan — whether you’re a Canadian hockey fan or an American hockey fan or a Flyers fan or Flames fan — these games are special and unique and you should be tuning in even if your favorite team isn’t playing in the game.

“It’s kind of that line that we use all the time: ‘Nobody ever canceled their Super Bowl party because they didn’t like the two teams that were playing in the game.’”

Collins makes a good point. Though for the record, if it’s Atlanta and Cincinnati in this year’s Super Bowl, party’s canceled.

Sabres waive d-man Donovan

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Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.

Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.

The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.

The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.

Stars to scratch Nichushkin after rough outing versus Avs?

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Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.

Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.

Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.

Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.

“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.

“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”

The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.

He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.