U.S. rallies vs. Canada to win first-ever outdoor World Juniors game

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The United States and Canada packed more than 44,000 people into the Buffalo Bills’ New Era Field on Friday for a World Juniors showdown, and with snow falling, it only makes sense that a flurry turned the game.

Canada generated a 3-1 lead, but Brady Tkachuk and the U.S. team rallied back for an eventual 4-3 shootout win. The 3-2 and 3-3 goals happened within a minute of each other.

More than a few people compared the scene to the first Winter Classic between the Penguins and Sabres, which was also in Buffalo. Not a bad warm-up for the upcoming 2018 Winter Classic, eh?

NHL legacies ended up factoring into this one, as both Tkachuk and Kieffer Bellows scored during regulation and in the shootout. Casey Mittelstadt was also a considerable factor, collecting an assist on all three of America’s goals. (Mittelstadt was named the player of the game on the U.S. side, while goalie Carter Hart was Canada’s.)

Tkachuk & Co. justified people traveling in treacherous conditions, and plenty of people had fun with the blustery scene.

Brady is described by some as the more explosively talented Tkachuk, which is saying something because Matthew is already a very effective NHL player. If moments like these are any indication, he might have at least some of his brother’s knack for agitating:

This was a helpful win for the U.S., with the preliminary round of play concluding with a Dec. 31 match against Finland. As TSN notes, the U.S. has gotten the better of Canada at the World Juniors lately:

The Americans have owned their northern neighbour of late – at least at World Juniors. Friday was Team USA’s fourth straight win over Team Canada in tournament play since 2015, including last year’s gold-medal game. Team Canada has missed nine consecutive shootout attempts against Team USA.

Maybe these two teams will meet again during a higher-stakes moment in the tournament? Either way, memories were forged at the first-ever outdoor game for the World Juniors, which set an attendance record.

Speaking of that first Winter Classic, recall it here:

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.

Joe Louis Arena auction gives you chance to own Al the Octopus

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Now that the Detroit Red Wings are comfortably inside their new home at Little Caesars Arena, it’s time to clean out The Joe and sell off what’s left inside.

Beginning on Saturday through Dec. 16, fans will have the opportunity to bid on various pieces of Joe Louis Arena memorabilia. Some of the items available include full player lockers, various arena signs, banners and photos, and a puck freezer.

But the coolest item up for auction — aside from this players’ lounge toaster which may have been used to toast bagels by the likes of Steve Yzerman and Nick Lidstrom — is definitely what hung above the ice for oh, so many years.

That’s right — you can own Al the Octopus.

If you’re going to pony up and give Al a new home there’s a “removal & handling” fee of $300, but if you’re already putting out the cash for the giant Red Wings’ mascot, what’s another couple hundred bucks? And you’ve gotta pick it up yourself. Fortunately, the octopus comes in parts, so you’ll just have to worry about finding enough rope to tie down his head to the roof of your car.

Al would make a great addition to any backyard rink, neighborhood rooftop or local hill to scare outsiders away. It’ll pair nicely with the San Jose Sharks’ mascot head they skate through before games should that ever become available.

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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.

The Buzzer: Byron nets hatty, Wedgewood blanks former team

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Players of the Night:

Paul Byron, Montreal Canadiens:

Byron notched his first career NHL hat trick as the Canadiens annihilated the Detroit Red Wings 10-1. He now has nine goals on the season, well on pace to eclipse his career-high of 22 he set last season. Bryon was claimed off waivers by the Canadiens from the Flames on the day before the 2015-16 began. He’s exceeded expectations, to say the least.

Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins:

How’s this for a replacement for Matt Murray? Two wins, one shutout, one goal allowed in 120 minutes of play. Jarry has been sensational since Murray went down with a lower-body injury and the Penguins are reaping the rewards.

Scott Wedgewood, Arizona Coyotes: 

Wedgewood stopped 26 shots from the New Jersey Devils en route to his second-career shutout against the team that he recorded his first with. The Devils had yet to have been shutout this year prior to Saturday.

Highlights of the Night:

Wedgewood did this to Stefan Noesen:

Byron’s hat trick goal came off a nice snipe:

Ryan Miller did his best Domink Hasek:

Viktor Arvidsson was instrumental in a pre-game proposal:

Streak-ender of the Night:

The Buffalo Sabres finally scored. Jason Pominville, mercifully, fired home in the third period against the Penguins, the first goal for the club since Nov. 24, some 233:19 of game time.

Factoids of the Night:

A couple from the night of destruction in Montreal:

Alex Ovechkin moved himself up the all-time goal-scoring list again. Ovechkin is tied with Nikita Kucherov, who scored twice on Saturday,  for the league-lead in goals at 19.

Tyler Seguin played quite a bit tonight:

MISC:

    • The St. Louis Blues have lost three straight and four of their last five after dropping a 2-1 overtime decision against the Minnesota Wild.
    • So close, yet so far: The Oilers had a 6-1 lead early in the third period only to watch it get cut to 6-5 as the Calgary Flames stormed back after a brutal start. Alas, the Oilers held on to win their sixth game in a row against their Battle of Alberta rivals.
    • Radek Faska has five goals in his past three games for the Dallas Stars.
    • Elliotte Friedman said on Hockey Night in Canada that there is a “sense and a hope” that the salary cap in the NHL could reach $80 million next season.
    • On the same broadcast, Friedman touched on what it would take for the Sabres to trade Evander Kane. The asking price, of course, is high. Friedman said the returns bigger than those of what the Winnipeg Jets got for Andrew Ladd (Marko Dano, 1st round and conditional picks) and the Arizona Coyotes got for Martin Hanzal and Ryan White (1st, 2nd, 4th round picks) should be expected.
    • Furthermore, the Los Angeles Kings are going to make pending UFA Drew Doughty a priority when it comes to inking him to a long-term extension.

Scores:

Bruins 3, Flyers 0

Wild 2, Blues 1 (OT)

Canucks 2, Leafs 1

Canadiens 10, Red Wings 1

Lightning 5, Sharks 2

Penguins 5, Sabres 1

Capitals 4, Blue Jackets 3

Hurricanes 3, Panthers 2 (OT)

Coyotes 5, Devils 0

Predators 3, Ducks 2 (SO)

Stars 3, Blackhawks 2 (SO)

Oilers 7, Flames 5


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

McDavid, Gretzky, Toews to be enshrined in toast

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Ever wanted the face of (a hockey) God etched on the side of your toast as you awake from your nightly slumber?

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to give the gift of toast during the holiday season.

By some well-timed divine intervention, your prayers have been answered.

The Son of Hockey, McJesus (or Connor McDavid for those living under the meme rock) will be available to all who are willing to receive its breakfast blessings come Nov. 20 from Canadian Tire.

Canadian Tire has teamed up with McDavid, the ‘Great One’ Wayne Gretzky and ‘Captain Serious’ Jonathan Toews to #GiveAToast, and to help advertise the new face-on-toast engravers, three satirical (and quite frankly hilarious) commercials have been released on YouTube.

All proceeds from the sale of McDavid’s divine toaster, along with Gretzky’s ‘The Great Toaster,’ winner of four “Stanley Crusts” and Toews’ ‘The Toewster’ will go to help support Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart program, which “gives kids from families in financial need the same chance to participate in sport as their neighbours, their classmates and their friends.”

All three commercials are really well done, but Toews’ shines above the other two.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion claims his toaster studies the opponent in his commercial. He professes that he doesn’t even eat toast but that he uses it to toast the chia seeds he throws into his smoothies (it won’t actually toast chia seeds, or at least that’s what on-screen pop-up warns.)

It remains to be seen if these bread crispers turn into the next Furby or Tickle Me Elmo and cause mass hysteria.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Turris on Ottawa contract talks: ‘very apparent things weren’t going to work out’

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The negotiations were “healthy,” as Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion described, but while the team and the camp of Kyle Turris agreed on dollars, the term was a sticking point in trying to agree on an extension.

Turris was seeking the maximum term possible in eight years, but Dorion wasn’t too keen on investing in the player for that long.

“When it came to the contract negotiation, we just felt that there wasn’t going to be a lot of movement from 7-8 years,” Dorion said Monday morning. “Six years was never put on the table. At the same time, we’re OK with that.”

Turris confirmed during a conference call that six years wasn’t discussed at all by either side. “It was very apparent that things weren’t going to work out in Ottawa,” he said.

Six years, $36 million was what Turris ended up signing for after the three-way trade with the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators was completed on Sunday. When Predators GM David Poile was asked about any hesitance inking a 28-year-old to a long deal like that, he said they felt comfortable with the length.

[Breaking down blockbuster Matt Duchene, Kyle Turris trade]

Turris only had a few hours to process and agree to a contract with the Predators, so after talking it over with his wife they agreed that Nashville would be a good fit.

“We’ve heard so many great things about the city, the people there, the neighborhoods, the school systems and obviously, the franchise is in such a great place,” he said.

The biggest deal of the young NHL season wouldn’t have been consummated, however, if Turris didn’t sign that extension. Poile said he started talking with Turris’s agent after the three teams agreed to the trade, and that the whole thing wouldn’t have gone through unless he had the center’s signature on a contract.

Turris, who likely won’t debut with his new team until the weekend, was in the final months of a five-year deal he signed with the Senators in 2012. Poile said that after the dust settled during free agency over the summer and he saw how the 2018 unrestricted free agent center market was shaping up, that’s when Turris jumped onto their radar.

This move strengthens the Predators down the middle adding Turris to a group that features Ryan Johansen, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok. Depending on how head coach Peter Laviolette sets it up, Bonino could move to a top-six wing spot, according to Poile.

MORE: Turris trade shows Predators are going all-in for Stanley Cup

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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.