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Report: Just two outdoor games next year?


Interesting note here from Sportsnet’s John Shannon:

During the Stanley Cup playoffs, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed there would be less than the six outdoor games held this year — the Winter Classic at Ann Arbor, four Stadium Series games at Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium and Soldier Field and the Heritage Classic in Vancouver — but more than the one already confirmed, the 2015 Winter Classic in Washington.

“This year we used those games in a variety of ways. Part of it was promoting us going into the Olympics, part of it was promoting it coming out. And doing it in New York [around the Super Bowl] with two games…we had to do lots of stuff,” Bettman explained. “Our people did an extraordinary job, but we really taxed things to the limit. But also, interestingly enough, the Olympic break let us set up for more games.

“So, it’ll be more than one and less than six next season.”

If Shannon’s report is accurate, next season’s other outdoor game could very well be in the Bay Area. Two weeks ago, reports that San Jose was expected to host a game (possibly at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants) surfaced; what’s more, Wild beat writer Mike Russo recently wrote that Minnesota’s proposed outdoor game “might not come to fruition” this year.

Video: Eichel’s first career NHL goal

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Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.

The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.

Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.


Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.