Henrik Zetterberg

Blackhawks vs. Bruins: 2019 Winter Classic by the numbers

NBC’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the 2019 Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. Coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

0 – Total hat tricks in NHL outdoor game history. 

2 – Number of outdoor games that Brad Marchand has missed playing in due to various circumstances. He was in the AHL during the Bruins’ 2010 game at Fenway Park and he was suspended for the 2016 game at Gillette Stadium.

3 – The Bruins will take part in their third Winter Classic on Jan. 1. They previously participated in the event in 2010 (Fenway Park vs. Flyers) and 2016 (Gillette Stadium vs. Montreal Canadiens).

4 – Number of Winter Classics that have gone past regulation. Two of which (2008 – BUF-PIT and 2014 – TOR/DET) needed the shootout to determine a winner.

5Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook, and Duncan Keith are the only current Blackhawks who have played in all five of the franchise’s outdoor games. If they all hit the ice at Notre Dame Stadium they will be the only NHL players to play in six outdoor games.

6 – The Blackhawks are outdoor game veterans. They have played in six total outdoor games and the meeting with the Bruins will be their fourth Winter Classic. They are 0-3-0 in Winter Classics (2009 vs. Detroit Red Wings, 2015 vs. Washington Capitals, 2017 vs. St. Louis Blues) and 1-1-0 in Stadium Series games (2014 win vs. Penguins, 2016 loss to Minnesota Wild).

6 – All-time outdoor game points by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, second to Henrik Zetterberg’s seven.

6 – The NHL returns to Indiana for its sixth regular-season game in the state and first since 1992. The Blackhawks have played in all five previous matchups, including a 3-2 loss to the Bruins on Jan. 21, 1954 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in Indianapolis.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 1 P.M. ET – NBC]

10 – Record for goals scored in a Winter Classic, set by the Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in 2009 (6-4 Detroit win). The Red Wings’ six goals is the most by one team in a Winter Classic.

11 – This will be the 11th NHL Winter Classic and the second to be held in a college football stadium (2014 – Toronto vs. Detroit at Michigan Stadium). Six others have been held in baseball stadiums and three in NFL stadiums.

13 – Degrees in Fahrenheit of the coldest recorded temperature at puck drop for a Winter Classic (2014, Ann Arbor, MI).

19 Average low temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for South Bend, Ind. on Jan. 1, according to accuweather.com.

26 – This will be the 26th NHL outdoor game. The first outdoor game was the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton between the Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. Chicago vs. Boston is the first of two outdoor games this season. The Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 23 (8 p.m. ET, NBC) from Lincoln Financial Field.

32 – Average high temperature, in degrees Fahrenheit, for South Bend, Ind. on Jan. 1, according to accuweather.com.

36 – Total number of games in Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy’s NHL career, all of which were played with the Blackhawks, who drafted him in the first-round in 1983.

50 – Degrees in Fahrenheit of the warmest recorded temperature at puck drop for a Winter Classic (Pittsburgh, 2011).

84 – Number of Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey players drafted to the NHL, including four Stanley Cup Champions; Bill Nyrop (1976, 1977, 1978 with Montreal), Don Jackson (1984, 1985 with Edmonton), Ian Cole (2016, 2017 with Pittsburgh) and Bryan Rust (2016, 2017 with Pittsburgh) according to University of Notre Dame Hockey.

350 – Gallons of paint used to make the ice at Notre Dame Stadium white.

708 – Number of players and coaches who have participated in the NHL’s 25 regular-season outdoor games to date.

1995 – Year in which Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman graduated from Notre Dame University.

Mike Tirico will host the network’s Winter Classic pre-game coverage alongside the NHL Live studio team of host Kathryn Tappen, and analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick. Six-time Emmy Award-winner and La Fontaine, Ind., native Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member Eddie Olczyk, and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will have the call from Notre Dame Stadium.

Wednesday Night Hockey: Streaky Wings look to end losing skid vs. Blues

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Wednesday night’s matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Detroit Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. ET. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

The Red Wings season has been a rollercoaster so far. They started the year with 0-5-2 and through 10 games, they were the worst team in the NHL (1-7-2). But they followed that up by winning nine of their next 11 contests. Now, they’ve lost three games in a row. Who are the real Red Wings?

With Henrik Zetterberg no longer in the picture, Dylan Larkin has been forced into a leadership role. The 22-year-old has put together a solid season, as he has nine goals and 21 points in 24 games this season. The speedster still has some work to do, but he’s looked good.

“He’s gotta be a great defensive player in order to allow that production to be enough to be a great player,” said head coach Jeff Blashill. “Very few guys can outproduce their poor defense, let’s say … and I think what he’s done is whenever he’s had to he’s reset himself, and make sure that he knows he’s gotta check for his chances. … It appears to me just a little more — I don’t know if confidence is the right word, swagger’s the right word, controlling the play is the right word — he seems to really, really be on top of it offensively.”

Andreas Athanasiou (10 goals, 15 points in 20 games) and Anthony Mantha (nine goals, five assists in 24 games) have helped carry the load offensively.

The Wings have also received some quality goaltending from veteran Jimmy Howard, who the Blues are reportedly interested in, per TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger. Howard owns a 7-6-3 record with a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .922 save percentage.

As for the Blues, you can understand why they’d be interested in acquiring a proven goaltender. Both Jake Allen and Chad Johnson haven’t been able to carry the load. Allen has been better over the last little while, but we’ve seen enough of him to know that darker times are ahead. Johnson, who has always been a backup goaltender, can’t be relied upon to win consistently.

St. Louis has already made a coaching change this season, as they let Mike Yeo walk. They replaced him with Craig Berube, but the results haven’t been there for Berube so far. They’re 1-2-0 since he took over, including an embarrassing 8-4 loss to Winnipeg over the weekend.

“There were missed coverages in a lot of areas,” Berube said. “We let that game slip away from us…I thought we lacked energy in that Winnipeg game, which I expected, but our brains kind of turned off too, which was not a good thing.”

Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.

PHT Morning Skate: Zetterberg on his injury; importance of Subban

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Welcome to the PHT Morning Skate, a collection of links from around the hockey world. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at phtblog@nbcsports.com.

• Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg talks about the injury that ended his playing career. [Detroit News]

• How smaller goalie equipment will impact scoring in the NHL. [Sportsnet]

• Gone are the days when top pairing defensemen are carrying heavy minutes. [TSN]

• Why P.K. Subban may be the NHL’s most important player. [Tampa Bay Times]

• IIHF president Rene Fasel plans to retire when his term is up in 2020. [TASS]

• Willie O’Ree, who will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month, gets the honor of having a street hockey rink named after him in Boston. [NHL.com]

• Examining the tough start for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ blue line. [The Leafs Nation]

William Nylander remains unsigned. So how might the Philadelphia Flyers fit in as a possible trade destination? [NBC Philadelphia]

• It’s been quite a road to 1,000 games for Buffalo Sabres forward Jason Pominville. [Buffalo Hockey Beat]

• A good read on the way New Jersey Devils head coach John Hynes balances coaching and using analytics. [NJ.com]

• If Bruce Cassidy broke up his top line, how would the Boston Bruins look? [Bruins Daily]

• The Vancouver Canucks are off to a good start, but there’s reason to be cautious and optimistic. [Pass it to Bulis]

• Why Tyler Myers should be on Jim Benning’s shopping list this summer for the Canucks. [Daily Hive]

• A look at Filip Chytil‘s start to the season with the New York Rangers. [Blue Seat Blogs]

• Finally, Patrik Laine talks about his hat trick on home soil Thursday vs. the Panthers:

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Zetterberg drops ceremonial puck before Red Wings opener

Much like with Pavel Datsyuk, it seemed like Henrik Zetterberg‘s retirement came along so abruptly.

Granted, Detroit Red Wings fans had to know that both players’ days were numbered, but neither enjoyed lengthy farewell tours. (Maybe, in part, because their Red Wings days ended before their contracts technically expired.)

Regardless, Zetterberg’s gone from suiting up to … well, wearing an actual suit, a reality that was driven home as the Red Wings opened the 2018-19 season. Zetterberg dropped the ceremonial puck before the Red Wings hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday:

It’s still hard to believe that his Red Wings days are really over, yet this was a nice touch for fans coming to grips with that truth.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

More NHL teams than ever are entering season without captain

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Over the past 24 hours Jack Eichel (Buffalo) and Anders Lee (New York Islanders) have been announced as captains of their respective teams. For the Sabres, Eichel will be their first captain since Brian Gionta wore the “C” during the 2016-17 season, while Lee will be filling the role that was left vacated when John Tavares signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency.

Even after those announcements there are still six teams in the NHL (approximately 20 percent of the league) that will be entering the 2018-19 season without anyone being designated as the “captain” of their team.

Those teams include…

  • The Vegas Golden Knights, who are going forward with the same leadership by committee approach they took during their expansion year (a “23 captains mentality as coach Gerrard Gallant likes to put it).
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs have not named a captain since Dion Phaneuf was traded during the 2015-16 season and will go forward with Tavares, Patrick Marleau, and Morgan Reilly as alternate captains.
  • After having just three captains (Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Steve Yzerman) over the past 32 years the Detroit Red Wings will not name a replacement for Zetterberg following the end of his playing career, instead going with four alternate captains in Dylan Larkin, Frans Nielsen, Niklas Kronwall, and Justin Abdelkader.
  • The New York Rangers are going with five alternate captains following the mid-season trade of Ryan McDonagh a year ago, naming Chris Kreider, Jesper Fast, Mike Zibanejad, Mats Zuccarello, and Marc Staal to the role.
  • The Ottawa Senators are not naming a captain following the trade of defenseman Erik Karlsson just before the start of training camp.
  • In Vancouver, the Canucks are filling the leadership void left by Henrik Sedin’s retirement with a quartet of alternates that includes Brandon Sutter, Bo Horvat, Alex Edler, and Chris Tanev.

In almost all of these situations the teams have opted to phrase it as a “leadership by committee” approach. While the majority of these teams are just starting massive rebuilding projects and just lost their long-time captain (either by trade, free agency, or retirement) within the past few months, Toronto and Vegas are playoff teams a year ago and both expect to be contenders for the Stanley Cup. Vegas was actually playing in the Stanley Cup Final just a few months ago without an official captain.

Regardless of the circumstances, it’s a unique situation because the NHL has never had a season where this many teams are entering the season without a captain. Just look at the past 25 years as the most recent example, where only once did the league have more than three teams without a captain … and that season was this past season when there were four such teams.

It is probably not yet time to say the role of the captain as we know it (a player having the letter “C” stitched on their jersey) is going away (how often do four teams lose captains in one four-month stretch), but it certainly seems teams aren’t as concerned about that letter being stitched on a player’s jersey as they used to be.

Just consider that since the start of the 2014-15 season (a stretch of only five years) there have been 16 teams to enter a season without an officially designated captain on their roster, including the six teams this season. In the 20 years prior to that there were only 19 such teams, or less than one per season on average.

At the end of the day everyone in a locker room knows who the leaders of the team are, whether they have a letter on their jersey or not. Everyone knows who is going to be the player to speak up, who is going to be the player to “lead by example,” and who is going to be the player to “hold everything together.” You should not need a letter to recognize that.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.