General view of Dodger Stadium as Dodger players warm up in left field and the grounds crew prepares the infield dirt and home plate area before the game between the Colorado Rockies and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
(August 26, 2011 - Source: Jeff Golden/Getty Images North America)

LA outdoor game could lead to more ‘non-traditional market’ matches


The NHL has confirmed that Dodger Stadium will be the host of an outdoor game between the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings at 7:00 p.m. PT on Jan. 25, 2014.

If all goes well, this could lead to more outdoor games in markets that would be considered “non-traditional” for a Winter Classic, NHL COO John Collins said.

“We’re trying to get this event to more markets, to give more people an opportunity to tailgate and celebrate around hockey,” NHL COO John Collins said in a LA Kings Insider report.

When people hear about an outdoor hockey game in Southern California, they usually wonder if the weather will be a problem. The average January temperature for Los Angeles is typically between 48 and 68 degrees in January.

“We don’t anticipate any issues. We had pretty strong sun in Philadelphia before that game,” Collins pointed out. “I think if you took a temperature right by the boards, it was up to the low, mid-70’s with the sun beating directly on it. That’s where (NHL facilities operation manager Dan Craig) first made use of the thermal blankets to really protect the ice.”

The ice will also be constructed at night and shielded from the sun during the day. The NHL will also have contingencies in place in case it rains around the scheduled start time.

The game at Dodger Stadium is part of a series of outdoor games that will take place in 2014. The Blackhawks will host the Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1 and we’re likely to hear the dates and locations of other outdoor games confirmed in the coming weeks.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.