Earlier today, Mike passed along word that the United States bludgeoned Finland 5-0 to make the quarterfinals of the 2012 World Championships. The Dallas Stars might have “lost” just as much as Finland in the grand scheme of things, though.
Mark Stepneski reports that workhorse goalie Kari Lehtonen suffered a knee/lower-body injury after Bobby Ryan bumped him while crashing the net:
As Stepneski notes, Lehtonen didn’t return to the contest but there wasn’t much time left and Finland was already well behind. That wasn’t the only nail-biting moment for Stars brass on Sunday, however, as Alex Goligoski also was boarded, as you can see in this video:
As disturbing as that hit looked, Goligoski reportedly didn’t miss a shift. Naturally, things could change once he gets examined again (the Stars might want to insist on as much) but that’s a positive sign.
It all goes to show that many NHL teams probably root for good luck with health more than gold medals and developmental confidence-boosters when they see their players perform in international tournaments. Lehtonen and Goligoski’s issues don’t sound serious – Goligoski might not even be “injured” – yet it shows how much things can change for a team in a single game (even when those players aren’t wearing your sweater).
So, let’s assume that the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets will eventually play in the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field on Sunday.
Every indication is that Cam Talbot and Connor Hellebuyck shall get the nods for their respective teams. Most assume, with the firepower on hand, that this could be a high-scoring game.
Hellebuyck isn’t flustered about all the goals the Jets have allowed so far, as he told NHL.com.
“It’s not something you’re really worried about,” Hellebuyck said. “It’s early in the year, it happens to a lot of teams. If you look at the trends in the past 10 years, there’s always a lot of goals being scored at the beginning of the year.”
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.