PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon gave their winnings from the 2015 IIHF World Championship to promote youth hockey in their home of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. They were both members of Canada’s gold medal winning team. (NHL.com)
Sun Devil Athletics are teaming up with the Arizona Coyotes to bring college games to Gila River Arena. (Coyotes.nhl.com)
Examining Sean Couturier and Jake Voracek’s contracts. (CSN Philly)
Devin Slawson sees Edmonton, Washington, and Columbus as three teams that have the potential to take a big leap forward this season. (The Hockey Writers)
Speaking of the Oilers, here’s a look at what Connor McDavid means to the franchise in the short and long-term. (CBS Sports)
Patrick Sharp sees similarities between the Dallas Stars and what the Chicago Blackhawks were like when they were on the cusp of breaking out. (Dallas Morning News)
Minnesota’s Thomas Vanek is feeling good after undergoing hernia surgery in June, according to the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo. The 31-year-old forward has resumed skating and is expected to be ready for training camp.
The injury was bothering Vanek for a lot of the second half of the 2014-15 campaign, according to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher. Despite that, Vanek was fairly consistent in the regular season in terms of his offensive production.
He had 21 goals and 52 points in 80 games in 2014-15, with 30 of his points coming in his final 45 contests. He also never had a scoring slump last more than four games. In the playoffs, he registered four assists in 10 contests.
That was the first season of Vanek’s three-year, $19.5 million contract with Minnesota.
Since the Winter Classic began in 2008 with a game against Pittsburgh and Buffalo in Ralph Wilson Stadium, outdoor games have been a highlight of the NHL’s schedule. However, with six outdoor games being held in 2014, two occurring in 2015, and another three slated for 2016, some have suggested that there’s been too many lately.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t in that camp. He argued that outdoor games are “far from being overdone or oversaturated,” per the Canadian Press.
There are plenty of franchises that have expressed interest in outdoor games and holding multiple ones in a single season is a way to accommodate that. It also allowed for the NHL to experiment with hosting such an event in markets that might not have gotten the Winter Classic, such as San Jose and Los Angeles.
Beyond that, it’s worth noting that not all outdoor games need to draw national attention as some of them can be more of a major event for the region itself. And at the end of the day, these games draw crowds as every outdoor game thus far has been strong from an attendance perspective.
Next season the Boston Bruins will host the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1 for the Winter Classic. The Stadium Series will feature the Minnesota Wild playing against the Chicago Blackhawks at TCF Bank Stadium on Feb. 21 and the Detroit Red Wings battling the Colorado Avalanche at Coors Field on Feb. 27.
The New Jersey Devils have traditionally been against any player wearing the number 13, to the point where Mike Cammalleri had to switch to No. 23 after being signed to a five-year, $25 million contract last summer.
“I just showed up and No. 23 was in my stall,” Cammalleri told NJ Advance Media last year. To be fair, he didn’t ask for No. 13, but he had been wearing it since he was seven with the exception of times when it wasn’t available to him.
“Signing in New Jersey and all the respect I have for Lou [Lamoriello], that’s not a conversation you have, what number you wanted to wear,” Cammalleri explained, per the Devils’ website.
With Lou Lamoriello gone though and Ray Shero now in charge, Cammalleri took the opportunity to become the first player in New Jersey’s history to claim No. 13. Including the franchise’s time prior to being relocated, Cammalleri will become the second player after Robin Burns.
Jordin Tootoo will also switch from No. 20, which he wore last season, to his more common No. 22. That leaves 24-year-old Eric Gelinas, who wore No. 22 last season, with No. 44.
The Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks will take their battle outdoors on Feb. 21 as part of the Hockey Day in America tripleheader that will be featured on NBC and NBCSN. As part of those festivities, there will be an alumni game on Feb. 20, but Chicago will have to face more than just the Wild’s veterans, per NHL.com.
Former members of the Minnesota North Stars, which moved to Dallas in 1993, will join forces with the Wild franchise that made its debut in 2000. That means that players like Hall of Famers Dino Ciccarelli and Mike Modano will participate in the contest alongside former Wild forward Andrew Brunette.
Chicago’s squad will feature Ed Belfour, Jeremy Roenick, and Denis Savard.
The alumni game and Stadium Series contest will both take place in the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium. The two franchises have met for three consecutive years in the playoffs and are gearing up to once again compete against each other in the competitive Central Division.
Avs-Red Wings alumni game to feature Sakic, Forsberg, Shanahan, Lidstrom
Gillette Stadium will host Bruins-Habs alumni game ahead of Winter Classic