Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Steve Keating of Reuters at WHTC,
The National Hockey kicked of 2014 with the biggest hockey bash ever on Wednesday, firing the opening salvo in a 'shock-and-awe' campaign designed to turn casual fans into avid ones.
An announced record hockey crowd of 105,491 braved brutal conditions to fill massive Michigan Stadium for the NHL's outdoor Winter Classic as the Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings.
Over the next three months the NHL will play outdoor games from Los Angeles to New York featuring iconic franchises in historic settings in an unprecedented push to claim more ground in an escalating battle for a larger slice of the North American sporting landscape.
Emboldened by a new 12-year $5.2 billion Canadian television rights deal, labor peace and increasing talk of expansion, a bullish NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has embarked on what one sport marketing expert described as a campaign of "shock-and-awe".
In my opinion, one of the most unexpected tweets of the day.
Hockey Night In Canada was allowed access to the Howe family party.
Author John U. Bacon with a look at the Big House.
The NHL Network is live streaming from Michigan Stadium from 10:00am - 1:00pm ET.
Watch it below...
update, live stream is over.
Leafs TV is streaming live from Michigan Stadium starting at 10:00am ET.
Watch it below...
update, live stream is complete.
from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The players and coaches have done their share of personal prep work for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, such as securing enough tickets and making sure their families got on the University of Michigan ice to skate.
However, such prep work pales in comparison to the ongoing efforts put forth by the hardest-working guys associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings these days.
The equipment managers and their staffs are in charge of making sure every player is comfortable enough to play at a top level and every coach is warm enough to work the bench the way they normally would in an indoor game.
Preparing their teams for the Winter Classic has been the equivalent of a second full-time job for Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer and Maple Leafs equipment manager Brian Papineau.
"For the last six weeks, it seems like your main focus is getting ready for this big event," Papineau told NHL.com as he watched the Maple Leafs practice Tuesday. "As excited as we are to be here and to be a part of it, it will be rewarding when it's over to look back at a lot of good memories."
Below watch Paul Boyer, equipment manager for the Detroit Red Wings, as he discusses all the preparations he has gone through for the Winter Classic.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Make no mistake about it, this year's game has an added ingredient thrown into mix: the absolute desperation of wanting those two points in the standings, knowing they could make the difference in making it come April. Neither one of these clubs has banked any kind of insurance in the standings.
"It's a huge game," veteran Wings forward Dan Cleary, eye-black dripping down his face, said Tuesday after his team's outdoor practice. "We understand it's a divisional opponent. We know where we sit. We know where Toronto sits. We need to get going."
There's raw tension to this matchup, pitting two clubs who have had their ups and downs -- mostly downs -- over the past while. Both Original Six rivals are tied with 45 points, each holding the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. It makes the New Year's Day tilt all the more enticing.
"I think that makes it even more important and special," said Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. "I heard some talk that it shouldn't be a division game, it should be East against West, but I think this is how it should be. It is two very important points on the line."
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So you arrive in Detroit — a.k.a. Murder City, a.k.a. Pottersville, a.k.a Bankruptcy USA — and you expect to see desolation and decay and decline, a city in chaos.
Except it isn’t that way at all.
Well, it wasn’t on Monday night, when a pleasant (if frigid) walk back from Comerica Park to the Renaissance Centre on the Detroit River, interrupted by a lovely dinner at a seafood spot with live music, took a couple of media folks through about 10 blocks of what seemed to be anything but a dead downtown.
There were Christmas lights, lots of them, and a variety of evening spots lit up for the evening. Nothing threatening, no sign of trouble. It was a walk you might not have recommended 15 or 20 years ago, but now felt more than safe.
In other words, anything but a bankrupt city hurtling downhill.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org