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

Bettman calls 2014 Winter Classic ‘everything we hoped for’

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?