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.
Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.
“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.
“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”
7 hours of back and forth legal speak…otherwise known as the Wideman appeal has concluded in NYC.