Canucks GM is confident Heritage Classic at BC Place will sell out


The sun was shining and the temperature was around the freezing mark. If today was the date of the 2014 Heritage Classic, it would’ve been ideal conditions for outdoor — well, quasi-outdoor — hockey in Vancouver.

But today isn’t March 2, so fingers are still crossed that the rain will stay away and the retractable roof of BC Place will be open when the Canucks host the Ottawa Senators that Sunday.

Here’s an NHL rendering of what the stadium might look like during the game:


While Canucks general manager Mike Gillis called it “incredibly exciting” at today’s promotional press conference, the idea of an NHL game at BC Place, in front of over 50,000 fans, hasn’t been met with total enthusiasm. Wrote columnist Tony Gallagher in The Province when the event was announced in July:

This is really a test, an examination of the hockey market here that everyone knows is pretty strong. They want to find out just exactly how stupid and gullible people are when it comes to NHL hockey, and it’s pretty clear they are betting a fair bit of money that you fans are literally as dumb as a bag of hammers.

So yeah, Tony’s not really on board.

Whether the fans get on board remains to be seen. Tickets officially went on sale to the public this morning, and Gillis expressed confidence that the game would sell out.

“Absolutely,” he said.

The Heritage Classic has been held twice, first in Edmonton (2003), then in Calgary (2011).

The 2014 edition will be shown on NBC Sports Network in the United States and CBC in Canada.

Other outdoor games will be held this season at Michigan Stadium (Winter Classic), Yankee Stadium, Soldier Field, and Dodger Stadium.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
Getty Images
Leave a comment

It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.