Even though weather forecasts call for Saturday to be pretty warm, Stan Kasten isn’t worried about the ice conditions at Dodger Stadium.
“The NHL has supreme confidence in their ability to put the game on,” Kasten, the Dodgers’ president and CEO, told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “I would have been concerned if the weather was going to be too cold, but in Michigan, even that’s not a problem.
According to NHL ice guru Dan Craig, the important thing is to have temperatures at ice level stay at the 22-degree mark.
“That’s our focus, that’s what we want to be, that’s where we’ve always been,” Craig said. “The efficiency of the floor — I can tell you that it’s going to be 22, and the [ice-making] truck will be pushing at 20. Everybody says ‘well it’s 80 degrees outside.’ That’s how efficient that truck is.”
Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. PT, which should help prevent sunlight from hitting the playing surface. The teams will also practice the evening prior to get a better feel for ice conditions, and one player — Anaheim’s Saku Koivu — already expressed optimism about the event being a success.
“It’s going to be even more special now with the weather,” Koivu said, per the L.A. Times. “Playing in California … I don’t think anyone ever thought it’d be possible to do here. It’s going to be a great experience.”
Get set for the Heritage Classic with hot dog facts and more
The Winnipeg Jets host the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 Heritage Classic at Investors Group Field this afternoon. You can watch it on NHL Network, Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 or NHL.tv at 3 p.m. ET.
With that in mind, let’s get prepped with super-important stats about unhealthy food, interesting photos and fun facts.
Want to get an in-depth look at the rivalry between the Jets and the Oilers? NHL.com and Sportsnet both have some great retrospectives.
The CBC notes that there was rain ending in the morning but it’s expected to be cloudy. Overall, sounds like a nice climate for an outdoor hockey game. NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika wonders if the sun’s glare might cause some issues.
The Arizona Coyotes received (mostly) good news on Sunday: Mike Smith‘s injury isn’t believed to be “severe,” even if he’s considered week-to-week, according to reporters including TSN’s Darren Dreger.
While Louis Domingue and Justin Peters isn’t the sort of goalie duo that will make shooters think twice about firing the puck, they’re both at least fairly experienced netminders.
(Considering Smith’s struggles with injuries and inconsistency, it’s not surprising that Arizona invested in a little insurance in Peters.)
Domingue is slated to start in net for the Coyotes against the New York Rangers on Sunday. It’s been a bumpy start for him so far, but Arizona has at least a theoretical advantage in that the Rangers played on Saturday.
As far as when Smith will be back? Well here’s a slight idea.
Dave Tippett does not think Mike Smith will be ready for home game vs. Colorado on Oct. 29, but he is not far from getting back on the ice.
Chances are, plenty of hockey fans – and maybe some members of the Colorado Avalanche – were uttering that question after Saturday night.
Well, we know this about Shane Harper: he scored his first two NHL goals at age 27, helping the Florida Panthers beat the Colorado Avalanche 5-2.
You can watch both of Harper’s goals in the recap video:
Harper also drew enough ire from the Avalanche to get into a bit of a skirmish following a hit.
So, who is Shane Harper?
For one thing, he’s from Valencia, California and did not go drafted.
His best junior season came in 2009-10, when he scored 42 goals and 80 points for the Everett Silvertips. He’s become quite the seasoned AHL veteran since then, and while his numbers won’t wow you, he did do enough in 2014-15 to maybe turn a head or two. Harper scored 32 goals and 50 points for the Chicago Wolves that season.
You can tell his teammates were happy for him – gentle ribbing and all – when the media asked about his career milestone: