Mike Halford

leafscent
Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs, Wings unveil Centennial Classic jerseys

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The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will play outdoors on Jan. 1 — at Toronto’s BMO Field — and we now know what the two teams will look like.

First up, the Leafs unis:

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Next, Detroit:

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More on the Toronto gear, from the club:

“The NHL Centennial Classic will be a special moment in our year-long celebration of 100 years of Maple Leafs hockey and this new sweater offers a signature look for the occasion, combining important elements of our club’s past, but also our present and future as it features the new Maple Leaf crest,” said Brendan Shanahan, Toronto Maple Leafs President and Alternate Governor. “We look forward to this event being a memorable day for both our fans and our team and this unique sweater will be an important part of those memories.”

Several elements of the uniform pay homage to the team’s past. The words ‘Honour, Pride and Courage’ stitched into the back of the neck of the sweater, similar to the team’s new sweaters, are taken from a famous Conn Smythe quote and represents the values the franchise strives to represent. The horizontal singular band of white across the body of the sweater is reminiscent of the Toronto St. Pats sweater worn from 1922 to 1925, and as a tribute to the franchise’s origin, the pants are adorned with a white Toronto Arenas “T.”

And from the Wings:

The Red Wings NHL Centennial Classic™ uniforms pay homage to the beginnings of the franchise and the NHL’s 100th anniversary season. The color silver is used throughout the uniform as a nod to the League’s milestone season, most notably in a special version of the Winged Wheel front crest that incorporates silver tones into the normally white areas. Additionally, silver is found in the top stripe on both sleeves of the jersey, along with the trim in the uniform numbers.

The silver stripe found on both sleeves honors the 11 Stanley Cup® Championships in Red Wings franchise history. Each individual championship season is listed in the silver stripes, with five championship seasons honored on the right sleeve (1936, 1937, 1943, 1950, 1952) and six on the left sleeve (1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008). The four red stripes on both sleeves are a tribute to the original Detroit Cougars, which prominently displayed stripes in their jersey designs. The pants will also feature a version of the letter “D,” similar to the design worn originally by the Cougars during the team’s 1926-27 season.

Related: Blues, ‘Hawks unveil Winter Classic jerseys

Rangers claim former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Matt Puempel has a new home.

After being waived by Ottawa on Sunday, Puempel — the 24th overall pick at the 2011 draft — has been claimed by the New York Rangers, per Sportsnet.

Puempel, 23, has appeared in 13 games this year for the Sens, going scoreless with a minus-5 rating. In 52 career NHL contests, he’s scored just four goals and six points.

A former OHL standout, Puempel was a quality goalscoring winger in junior, and carried that over to the American League. In his first full year with AHL Binghamton, he found the back of the net 30 times in 74 games — but that form hasn’t translated to the big league level.

Regardless, there will be eyeballs on Puempel now.

Largely because of who claimed him.

Rangers GM Jeff Gorton has a keen eye for reclamation projects and diamonds in the rough. His offseason acquisitions included getting Brandon Pirri and Michael Grabner on the cheap, and all they’ve done since joining the Rangers is combine to score 16 goals and 24 points through 19 games this season.

Puempel will also give the team some depth at forward after center Mika Zibanejad suffered a broken leg over the weekend. Zibanejad is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with the injury.

Kunitz (lower body) week-to-week, placed on IR

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30:  Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Chris Kunitz, off to a nice start this year with 11 points through 18 games, will be out on a week-to-week basis with his lower body injury, Pens head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed on Monday.

In a related move, the Pens placed Kunitz on IR and recalled Jake Guentzel from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Kunitz, 37, was originally hurt in last Wednesday’s blowout loss to Washington, but returned to play this weekend — and actually picked up three assists in games against the Isles and Sabres. The club hasn’t revealed the nature or severity of the injury, but the IR and week-to-week designation suggest it’s more than simply being banged up.

With Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist out — the latter is dealing with a concussion, also suffered in the aforementioned Caps game — the Pens had a decidedly new look up front at Monday’s practice.

Conor Sheary jumped to first line duties with Sidney Crosby and Carl Hagelin, while Guentzel moved onto the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

The Pens are back in action tonight, when they host the Rangers at PPG Paints.

More good news for Columbus, as Jones comes off IR

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 20:  Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on March 20, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. Devils won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
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Everything is coming up Torts.

The Blue Jackets — 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and off to the best start in franchise history — got some terrific news on Monday, as Seth Jones was activated from injured reserve after missing the last six games with a hairline fracture in his foot.

Getting the 22-year-old back will be huge. Jones is the team’s anchor on defense — nobody on the team plays more minutes and, at the time of his injury, he lead all blueliners in goals while sitting second in assists.

Columbus is in action tonight (hosting Colorado), so it’ll be curious to see if Jones jumps right back into the mix. His original three-week recovery window was supposed to stretch until Nov. 28, meaning he’s a bit ahead of schedule.

For now, it looks as though the Jackets will carry extra blueliners. To make room for Jones, the club sent left winger Markus Hannikainen down to AHL Cleveland, meaning there’s still a glut of defensemen on the active roster.

Banged-up Bolts recall Condra

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Erik Condra (22) carries the puck around Detroit Red Wings center Brad Richards (17) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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A rash of injuries at forward has forced Tampa Bay to recall veteran Erik Condra from AHL Syracuse, the club announced on Monday.

“What I like about Erik is he’s a pro,” Syracuse head coach Benoit Groulx said, per BoltsProspects. “Every day he’s one of our best players on the ice. Whether it’s a game or practice, he is showing the way. I can’t say enough about him.

Signed to a three-year, $3.75 million deal on the opening day of free agency in 2015, Condra was a disappointment last season, with just 11 points in 54 games, and appeared to be in a battle for a roster spot throughout the preseason.

Just prior to the start of the campaign, the Bolts waived the 30-year-old.

A veteran of over 350 NHL contests, Condra has fared well in the AHL this year, scoring three goals and nine points in 13 games. And this recall could be a huge opportunity for him.

As mentioned above, the Bolts are dealing with major health concerns right now. Captain Steve Stamkos is out at least four months following knee surgery, while Jonathan Drouin — who only recently returned from an upper-body injury — took a shot to the head against the Flyers on Saturday.

Brian Boyle missed the Philly game entirely due to his upper-body injury, while veteran Bolts beat writer Erik Erlendsson notes that Cedric Paquette has taken a series of big hits lately, too.