With an enormous crowd on hand at Ann Arbor’s Big House, the 2014 Winter Classic was a huge success for the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and NHL on a whole. Commissioner Gary Bettman wasn’t shy about singing the event’s praises.
“The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic was everything we hoped for — the biggest and best New Year’s Day party in our history,” Bettman said in a press release. “The Red Wings and Maple Leafs gave our fans, here at ‘The Big House’ and all around the hockey world, a spectacular afternoon …”
While the Big House is known for the University of Michigan’s packed football games, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock pulled out a baseball metaphor to rave about the outdoor game.
“To me, today was a home run for hockey,” Babcock said.
Hey, a home run has a better ring to it than a touchdown or a “pick-six,” anyway …
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.
As was the case last season, Scott Gomez accepted a professional tryout offer because he went unsigned over the summer and once again he has used that opportunity to extend his career.
The St. Louis Blues announced that they have signed Gomez to a one-year contract. They didn’t disclose the financial terms, but it’s a two-way deal that comes with a base salary of $575K at the NHL level, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford.
In order to free up the space necessary to sign him, St. Louis moved Patrik Berglund to the long-term injured reserve list. Berglund had shoulder surgery in August and isn’t expected to be available until January.
Gomez, 35, is coming off of a resurgence campaign where he recorded 34 points in 58 games on a Devils’ team that finished near the bottom of the pack offensively. The two-time Stanley Cup champion will be bringing more than a 1,000 games worth of NHL experience to St. Louis.
He’s not the only veteran forward to make the team off of a PTO as the Blues signed Scottie Upshall on Monday.