Happy New Year! Hope everyone had fun and stayed safe last night.
Above is the view from my hotel in Ann Arbor. As you can see, it’s snowing on the morning of the Winter Classic. We’ve got around five hours until the puck drops between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at the Big House (1 p.m. ET on NBC.)
According to the Weather Network, there will be a light snow falling when the game starts, with a temperature of 17F (-8C). The snow is expected to continue throughout the game.
What does that mean?
“A little bit of snow just adds to the romance of the game,” NHL chief operating officer John Collins told the Canadian Press yesterday. “Guys are set up for that. Right now it looks like it’s going to be an on-time start.”
But while the “snow-globe effect” may look good on TV, it’s not ideal for playing hockey in, especially if the snow builds up quickly on the ice.
“We always do shoveling during TV timeouts,” ice guru Dan Craig said. “We have 10 guys on skates, two guys shoveling snow off the other end and we’ll be done in two minutes.”
The NHL won’t want any delays, especially with so many people having to travel a fair distance home to Canada after the game. So at this point, expect the puck to drop on time, snow or no snow.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.