Between the 2009 Winter Classic and last year’s Stadium Series win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, one can call the Chicago Blackhawks borderline “veterans” of outdoor games. They still seem pretty excited about facing the Washington Capitals in the 2015 Winter Classic, even if CSNChicago.com passes along word that they’re unsure it will top Chicago hosting an outdoor contest.
“It was fantastic, just being out there. Just arriving at the stadium and realizing what kind of weather it was going to be,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “During the game it was pretty funny actually, I thought it was hilarious to play like that. Tough to explain, but it’s surreal. Coming out before the game, seeing all the people there and all the snow coming down. That was definitely one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.”
“So I’m looking forward to next year, but I don’t think it’s going to be as fun as it was in Chicago. It’s going to be pretty tough to beat, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Consider the gauntlet thrown down on the Washington Capitals and D.C. in general to top that “snow globe” atmosphere in Chicago, then … or at least found some other way to add their own.
Either way, the hockey world will be watching.
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
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.