Mike Halford

Kraft Hockeyville is back for 2016

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On the heels of last year’s incredibly successful campaign, Kraft Hockeyville is back.

Last year, Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, PA., became the first-ever winner of the Kraft Hockeyville contest, winning $150,000 of arena upgrades while getting the opportunity to host a preseason NHL game between the Penguins and Lightning.

This year, a new collection of rinks will compete for the title of Kraft Hockeyville. On April, 10 communities will be selected for a national round-robin vote and, throughout the month, the field will be whittled away until a winner has been voted in. In May, the winning community will be announced, and receive both $150,000 in arena upgrades and the chance to host a NHL preseason game in September.

Here at PHT, we’ll be profiling some of the communities chosen to participate. Be sure to check back frequently throughout the year to see if your local rink will take home the title.

For more details, please visit krafthockeyville.com.

Video: Desharnais opens Winter Classic scoring, just 74 seconds in

FOXBOROUGH — Didn’t take long for Montreal to get on the board at Gillette.

Just 74 seconds into the 2016 Winter Classic, Habs forward David Desharnais banged home his eighth goal of the season to give the Canadiens a quick 1-0 lead on the Bruins.

The nature of Desharnais’ goal was fitting — a lot of bounces, on a playing surface where the puck is, and will likely continue to, hop and skip a fair bit.

At 1:14 of the first period, the goal was also one of the fastest in Winter Classic history, though not the fastest. That came at the first-ever Winter Classic in 2008, when then-Penguins forward Colby Armstrong scored 21 seconds in.

WATCH LIVE: 2016 Winter Classic, Bruins-Habs from Gillette Stadium

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 31:  A Winter Classic puck is photographed perched on the dasher boards during the Montreal Canadiens practice at Gillette Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Happy New Year! Hope 2016 has been good thus far — and, if it hasn’t, hopefully things will improve by watching the Winter Classic between Boston and Montreal today, live from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

You can catch the game on TV (NBC, 1 p.m. ET), or watch online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.


Some relevant linkage for today’s affair:

With Gallagher’s return, Habs hope Winter Classic gets ‘dirty’

‘He’s an unbelievable teammate’ — B’s back Marchand after fourth suspension in four years

Looks like ideal conditions for the Winter Classic

Isles put Boychuk on IR after missing on Eichel hit (Video)


Johnny Boychuk‘s attempt to rattle Jack Eichel has proven costly.

After being shaken up on the above play in yesterday’s 2-1 win over the Sabres, Boychuk was placed on injured reserve, the Islanders announced.

Per the club’s Twitter, Boychuk suffered an upper-body injury on the play. His timetable for return won’t be determined until he meets with team doctors next week.

To replace Boychuk’s roster spot, the Isles called up Adam Pelech from AHL Bridgeport.

Losing Boychuk, regardless of how long, is a major hit for New York. The 32-year-old averages the third-most minutes on the team and is the Isles’ leading d-man scorer, with three goals and 14 points in 38 games.


Goalie nods: Surging Greiss makes third straight start in place of injured Halak

Thomas Greiss
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Thomas Greiss will look for his second straight victory tonight when the Isles take on the Sabres in Buffalo.

Greiss, currently holding down the Islanders’ starting job with Jaroslav Halak out injured, will make his third straight start — in his first, a 3-1 loss to Toronto, he stopped 35 of 37 shots for a .946 save percentage.

In his second, a 6-3 win over those same Maple Leafs, he stopped 30 of 33 shots for his 10th win of the campaign.

Overall, Greiss has been one of the NHL’s best backups this year, and a savvy offseason signing by New York GM Garth Snow.

The 29-year-old is 10-5-2 with a 2.09 GAA and .932 save percentage, and has given the Isles the kind of high-end backup goaltending the club hasn’t had in quite some time.

For the Sabres, Linus Ullmark will get the start in goal.


— Matt Murray, who’s started four of Pittsburgh’s last five games, will get the night off in Detroit as Jeff Zatkoff goes in goal. The Wings will counter with Petr Mrazek ahead of the struggling Jimmy Howard.

— Battle of the backups in Carolina: Philipp Grubauer for Washington, Eddie Lack for the ‘Canes.

— Marquee matchup in St. Louis as Devan Dubnyk and the Wild face Jake Allen and the Blues.

Semyon Varlamov will start yet again for the Avs tonight in Colorado. The visiting Blackhawks have yet to name a starter.

Antti Niemi, who came on in relief of Kari Lehtonen in Dallas’ ugly loss to Columbus, will start against Nashville. The Preds are expected to go with Pekka Rinne.

Karri Ramo starts his eighth straight for Calgary. The Kings look like they’ll be starting Jonathan Quick.

— After shutting out the Flames in his last start, John Gibson goes again as the Ducks complete their Alberta tour in Edmonton. Cam Talbot starts for the Oilers.

Connor Hellebuyck, coming off a 33-save win over the Red Wings, starts for Winnipeg in Arizona. The Coyotes are going with Louis Domingue, who has struggled recently (but so too has their other option, Anders Lindback).