In a photo provided by National Hockey League Images and taken with a fisheye lens, a record crowd watches the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs play in the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/NHLI, Noah Graham)

2014 Winter Classic ties ratings record


The 2014 Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs in Michigan Stadium was a close game, in the snow, and with a massive crowd. Now we know that it was also one of the most viewed Winter Classics to date.

With a 2.9 overnight rating on NBC, the match tied the high set by the 2009 version of this event and, for that matter, a regular season contest in general.

It’s success is particularly noteworthy as it was also the first Winter Classic to feature a Canadian team. Toronto eked out a 3-2 shootout victory over the Red Wings. It also means that the two most viewed outdoor games featured Detroit, which earned a 6-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field in 2009.

Detroit was the leading market for yesterday’s contest with an 18.0 rating. Buffalo and Pittsburgh earned 7.2 and 7.0 ratings respectively.

For more information, head to NBC’s press release.


Discuss: Leafs beat Wings in the 2014 Winter Classic

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Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks

Torres apologizes to Silfverberg and Sharks


A statement from Raffi Torres:

“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”

A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:

“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”

Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.