2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings

NHL wins big at SportsBusiness Journal Awards


Remember that whole lockout thing? Well, it appears the National Hockey League has rebounded quite nicely since the labor dispute came to an end in January of 2013.

These Stanley Cup playoffs, now into the conference finals, have been lauded for the speed and skill on display, as well as the factor that anything has been possible, with comebacks upon comebacks.

On Wednesday, while the Chicago Blackhawks and L.A. Kings did battle in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final, the NHL took home hardware at the SportsBusiness Journal Awards.

In all, the league earned three awards:

“Usually I’m standing with a trophy and getting booed. It’s strange to be receiving one and be cheered,” said commissioner Gary Bettman.

“Our athletes are the best in team sports. We wouldn’t be standing here tonight without the players,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, as per the SportsBusiness Journal Twitter account.

The NHL took home the award for the second time in four years, according to the league’s website.

Bettman said this year’s Winter Classic was “the biggest and best New Year’s Day party in our history.” It was a huge success in terms of television ratings and the league sold more than 105,000 tickets to the event at the Big House, which provided a beautiful setting on a snowy afternoon for a match-up between two historic Original Six rivals, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

As per the NHL’s public relations department, the 2008 Winter Classic in Buffalo also won for this award.

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?