Speculation over the location of the 2017 Winter Classic, Jarome Iginla seeks a milestone, Panthers re-sign Gerard Gallant and more in your NHL morning coffee headlines.
The Montreal Canadiens thump the Boston Bruins in the 2016 Winter Classic and the Vancouver Canucks edge the Anaheim Ducks in your NHL highlights.
Notable NHL Headlines.
ESPN.COM: Sources claim the Toronto Maple Leafs are the front runners to host the 2017 Winter Classic, though it’s not considered a done deal.
SPORTSNET: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league isn’t ready yet to reveal its plans for next season’s Winter Classic.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, staging next season’s Winter Classic in the year of the NHL’s one hundredth anniversary in the league’s biggest market makes sense. On the other hand, the Leafs are a rebuilding team and the league could prefer an established playoff contender as the host.
If the Leafs do host it, finding the right opponent is also crucial. Long-time rivals like the Montreal Canadiens or Detroit Red Wings make sense, but the Habs just played in this year’s game while the Leafs and Wings faced off in the 2014 Classic. The Buffalo Sabres or Ottawa Senators are natural rivals of the Leafs, but the Sabres are also rebuilding, while a Leafs-Sens game won’t be a big ratings draw in the United States. The Chicago Blackhawks or New York Rangers would make a match-up of original six teams, but the Blackhawks skated in the 2015 Classic and the Leafs don’t really have much of a rivalry against the Rangers. Same goes for the Boston Bruins, who hosted this year’s Classic.
MIAMI HERALD: In addition to signing GM Dale Tallon to a contract extension, the Florida Panthers re-upped head coaching Gerard Gallant to a two-year extension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: These moves should ensure long-term stability for the club. Tallon’s efforts to rebuild largely through drafting and developing young talent is paying dividends this season, while Gerard is doing a fine job coaching the Panthers, who are increasingly looking like a serious playoff contender this season.
CALGARY SUN: Colorado Avalanche winger Jarome Iginla seeks his 600th career goal tonight against his former team, the Calgary Flames.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Sharks defenseman Brent Burns is closing in on a franchise record for goals by a defenseman in a season. He currently leads the league’s blueliners with 15 goals, 11 shy of the Sharks record held by Sandis Ozolinsh.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: He’s also only 15 shy of 30 goals. The last defenseman to reach that mark in a season was Mike Green in 2008-09 with the Washington Capitals.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Oilers center Connor McDavid (broken clavicle) skated with his teammates yesterday in practice, but there’s still no date as to when he’ll return to action.
NEWSDAY: The New York Islanders placed defenseman Johnny Boychuk (injured left shoulder) on injured reserve.
NEW YORK POST: Despite a crack in his right kneecap. Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi is set to return to action.
THE TENNESSEAN: Nashville Predators center Cody Hodgson is struggling through what is considered a make-or-break season for his NHL career.
YAHOO SPORTS: Jen Conway remembers those the hockey world lost in 2015. Among the notables were Hall of Famers Al Arbour, Elmer Lach, Dickie Moore and Marcel Pronovost.