Tag:New York Rangers
Posted on: December 30, 2011 11:07 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 1:41 am
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Kopecky punches Del Zotto leading to late scrum

By Brian Stubits

In the waning seconds of a 4-1 win by the Rangers over the Florida Panthers, as Ron Burgundy would say, that escalated quickly. I mean, that really got out of hand fast.

With just 10 seconds left and the outcome well in hand, the Panthers' Tomas Kopecky was trying to gain a footing in the crease alongside Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto. Del Zotto gave Kopecky a cross check and his stick hit Kopecky in the back of the head, so Kopecky responded with a blow to Del Zotto's head, unleashing a massive scrum.

The hit looked really bad and naturally it prompted a response from the Rangers, particularly Mike Rupp. He began circling around the fracas like a shark in the water, waiting for his chance at Kopecky. Despite the lineman trying to take Kopecky away from the pile, Rupp came in anyway and basically ripped Kopecky from the linesman's grasp and unloaded five haymakers to Kopecky's noggin. Both Rupp and Kopecky were assessed game misconducts (not a lot of punishment with 10 seconds left).

After the game, Rangers coach John Tortorella said called Kopecky's hit ''a cheap shot. With no honor.''

But Panthers coach Kevin Dineen stuck up for Kopecky.

"That's hockey. Some guy cross-checks you in the back and then follows through. He deserves a good smash in the face," Dineen said of Del Zotto. "He got what he deserved. Then guys who play five minutes a night, it's typical that they would go and try and grab our skill players. We'll see what the response is."

You can guarantee that this already has the full attention of Brendan Shanahan and the league office. This is one of the dirtiest plays you can pull in hockey, a sucker punch to an opponent. I have a feeling that not even Rupp's vigilante justice that is his right hand will be enough punishment for Kopecky in this case.

There is a little precedent for this under Shanahan, too. Remember back to the preseason when James Wisniewski of the Columbus Blue Jackets threw his own sucker shot on Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild. That earned the Wiz a suspension for the rest of the preseason and the first eight regular-season games.

Now Kopecky doesn't have the priors that Wisniewski had on his record, but I'd be surprised if Kopecky didn't earn himself an in-person hearing for this punch. That would mean that a five-games or great suspension would be in play. Rupp could have earned himself a phone call from the league as well.

Mark it down on your calendar now, these teams will meet again, and very soon. Next week, Thursday to be exact, the Panthers head up to MSG for the last meeting of the season between the two and Florida's Krys Barch will be ready for it.

“I’m sure we’ll have a meeting next week in New York,” Barch told the Sun-Sentinel. "You can’t allow that stuff to happen. … That’s just not allowed to go on in terms of a teammate getting jumped like that. We’ll take care of that next week."

More NHL Discipline News Here

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 2:06 pm
 

Rangers place Sean Avery on waivers again

By Brian Stubits

You could see this coming from a mile away. Ten miles even.

The New York Rangers placed Sean Avery on waivers on Friday, bringing an end to this chapter of his Rangers career. It clears the way for him to join another team -- if any are interested -- or go back to the AHL, where he started the season with the Connecticut Whale.

Avery was called up a few weeks into the season because of a host of injuries with the Rangers, most notably Mike Rupp. But now Rupp is back to being healthy and Avery hasn't played in nine games, a healthy scratch in each of them.

The Rangers started the season slowly -- which they obviously have remedied -- and it led to calls from Rangers fans to get Avery back with the team, they needed some spark. Avery was recalled and the team took off. It was more coincidental than anything, but it coincided with Avery's callup.

It could make for an interesting scene in 24/7, but I don't think it will get much of a mention. But that's one thing we've seen in HBO's Hard Knocks series, covering NFL teams in their training camps, seeing players get cut from the rosters.

So now what comes next for the 31-year-old winger who is more known for his antics and off-ice noise than his game? We'll have to wait and see. Larry Brooks of the New York Post reports that Avery's agent was given permission to seek potential landing spots with other NHL teams during the recent roster freeze. Considering he has gone through the waivers process unclaimed already this season, it doesn't seem likely a team will take a flier on him now.

I still think Avery can have some value to teams. He is a high-energy player who was on his best behavior in his time with the Rangers this season. It might be hard for you to believe, but Avery only took one minor penalty in his 15 games with the Rangers, scoring three goals. But he is a bit toxic from some of his past. I'd be surprised if somebody wanted to take a chance on him.

Let's put it this way: Would you want Sean Avery on your team?

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 30, 2011 1:25 pm
 

Weekend Preview: Central the center of the action

By Brian Stubits

Earlier this week, the St. Louis Blues visited Joe Louis Arena and battled the Detroit Red Wings in one of the better games of the season. In it, the Wings came back from a two-goal deficit and stung the Blues 3-2.

That was just on Tuesday. Apparently it was so good, they're going to do it again this Saturday, same arena and all.

Two teams playing each other twice in one week isn't rare in hockey. Happens a lot of weekends actually with home-and-home series. But playing twice in one week in the same city? Unless we're in the playoffs, not that common. But the Red Wings won't mind, I'm sure.

In hockey, home-ice advantage doesn't compare all that well to home-court advantage in the NBA, for example. Most teams fare better at home, but it's not as much of a lock as basketball. However for the Red Wings, it is. After beating the Blues on Tuesday, Detroit has won 11 consecutive games at the Joe. Overall this season, the Wings are 14-2-1 at home.

And they want to get rid of that place, huh?

Then again, it's probably a lot more about the team on the ice than where the ice is located, huh? I mean any team that has Pavel Datsyuk has to be good.

The three-time Selke winner and Russian stick wizard took the first-star honors after Tuesday's win, scoring a goal on a fantastic redirection and setting up Detroit's first goal of the game.

The year began a little slowly for Datsyuk -- he didn't score his third goal of the season until No. 19 -- but he's back to old tricks. For the most part, I mean that literally for that's what you think you're seeing when Datsyuk is playing the puck, trickery. He's been in the NHL since 2001 but he still leaves people amazed.

Detroit will be looking for a bit more of that amazing this weekend. Obviously their battles with the Blues have grown this season with St. Louis taking off under Ken Hitchcock. The two teams are separated by only one point in the standings and it sure seems like neither team will go away this season. So all of the head-to-head games are big with the points up for grabs.

If the rematch comes close to being a repeat of the meeting earlier this week, it might still be one the best game this weekend.

Friday night's alright in the Central

That's not the only big interdivision matchup in the Central Division this weekend. Both the Blues and Red Wings have massive matchups on Friday night, including the season's first Blackhawks-Red Wings matchup.

Hard to believe that the Oilers and Wild have already played each other six times while the Blackhawks and Red Wings have yet to renew acquaintances, but that's the case. Until Friday, at least.

This is the matchup in a very good Central. The two top dogs, big rivals and true Stanley Cup threats. It begins Friday in Chicago.

Meanwhile, the Blues will be tangling with the Nashville Predators in what has become a very nice -- or should I say not nice? -- rivalry in its own right.

These two Friday night showdowns pit four of the West's top six teams against one another (Nashville is tied with the Sharks and Kings with 42 points). More importantly, they are all fighting within the same division.

It's going to be a great weekend of hockey in the Midwest.

B's buzzing

At this point it's beyond absurd. The Boston Bruins are in the middle of one of the best stretches in the history of the NHL, and that's not hyperbole. In their last 24 games, Boston is an astounding 21-2-1, including the current seven-game win streak they take to Dallas.

In that time they have obliterated opponents. Eleven of those 21 wins were by a margin of three goals or more. By anybody's definition of dominant, the Bruins fit the bill.

Now they head to Dallas to face the Stars and get a glimpse of an old pal in Michael Ryder. The Stars forward was part of the Stanley Cup champs last season before migrating to Texas in the summer. The Bruins he played for were very good obviously, but not even that team was ever this great.

Of the many amazing things about the Bruins, one is the fact that not one of their players appears in the top 30 of the NHL in points. You have to go to No. 33 on the list to find Tyler Seguin. That's all in spite of the fact that the Bruins have the most productive offense in the league with 3.47 goals per game. Talk about balance. As Stars center Steve Ott would say "look at NHL.com."

Classic tuneup

While the Philadelphia Flyers are already back in the City of Brotherly Love and waiting to play in Citizen's Bank Park on Monday for the Winter Classic, their foes are making one stop in sunny South Florida first.

The New York Rangers, fresh off a 4-1 loss in Washington to the Capitals, would love to take a win with them into Philly for the game, so they'll take a crack at the Florida Panthers. It's the third meeting between the two teams this season, the most recent a Rangers demolishing of the Panthers in Madison Square Garden. The first meeting came in Sunrise and went to the Panthers.

The good news for Florida is that Stephen Weiss is a game-time decision. The top-line center has missed the past couple of games while the Panthers have made due with almost two lines worth of AHL forwards.

The game is just about as big for the Panthers as it is the Rangers. Florida has been atop the Southeast Division for most of the season, but the Winnipeg Jets have crawled to within four points of the 'Cats for the division lead.

Happy New Year!

Typically, the Winter Classic has been the first game played in the new year in recent seasons. Not this year.

Because of the final Sunday of the NFL season falls on Jan. 1, the Winter Classic -- and majority of the NHL schedule -- has been pushed back to Monday, Jan. 2. But one game will be played on Sunday.

The Calgary Flames will visit the Predators and the two will have the (meaningless) honor of being the first teams to play in 2012. Ring it in, boys.

We're going streaking!

Here are the streaks, good and bad, entering the weekend. Not a whole lot.

Bruins: As mentioned, take that seven-game win streak into Dallas.

Vancouver Canucks: The other Stanley Cup Finalist last season is almost as hot as the Bruins. The Canucks have won three in a row and seven of the last 10. They have a date with the Kings in L.A. on Saturday.

Phoenix Coyotes: Phoenix heads to face the Minnesota Wild as losers of four straight games. The good news? The fourth-place Coyotes are still only two points behind first-place San Jose in the Pacific.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 10:43 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Jagr leads Flyers to win in Pittsburgh

jagrBy: Adam Gretz

PITTSBURGH -- Jaromir Jagr heard the boos everybody expected him to hear on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

They were at their peak in the opening minutes of the game, and at times were deafening whenever he touched the puck, or, heck, had any sort of noticeable impact on the game. This was not a surprise. He's heard it from the Penguins fans every time he's returned to Pittsburgh in an opposing sweater, and this time he was doing it in the orange and black of Pittsburgh's biggest rival after deciding to sign with them instead of making a return trip to the Penguins over the summer during what was a free agency gong show.

He did his part to silence the boos on Thursday, and by the time the third period rolled around, with the Flyers well on their way to a 4-2 win and a key two points in the standings, they were definitely more subdued.

Jagr was arguably the best player on the ice from start to finish, scoring a goal, generating a number of scoring chances and even making a defensive play early in the first period that robbed Penguins forward James Neal of what looked to be a sure goal. And that was the play that seemed to make Jagr smile the most in the locker room after the game when it was brought to  his attention during what was his third different media scrum. He not only laughed, but also made it a point to call several media members back into the room and told them to remember that play when it comes to their Selke vote at the end of the season.

"Guys when you go to vote for Selke," Jagr laughed. "Selke. Right here."

"Somebody says I don't backcheck, show them that clip. I think it was the best play of my hockey career, I've never been so close to my own net. I have to go tell coach."

He was clearly joking about it being the best play of his career (the own net comment can probably be up for some debate), but it was definitely a pivotal play early in the game and kept the Penguins off the board. It was just one of a number of  highlight reel plays made by him over the course of the game, including his 12th goal of the season and numerous other scoring chances. He finished the game with two shots on goal while attempting five others, and some of his best chances were on the plays that didn't result in a goal or even a shot.
More on Jaromir Jagr, Flyers


During a shift early in the first period, for example, he was twice left wide open in front, only to whiff on one pass and fire a second one through the goal crease. Later he had another prime scoring opportunity on an odd-man rush as he took a pass between the circles and let go a quick wrist shot that was gloved out of the air by Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"I had so many chances today," said Jagr. "I think I probably had the most chances I had in any game I played this season. I probably could have had five goals if I would be good player. Fifteen years ago I would have scored five. Not anymore. That's the difference between Jagr now and Jagr 15 years ago."

In kind of a sour mood on Wednesday during his first interactions with the Pittsburgh media, Jagr was clearly more relaxed on Thursday night. Scoring a goal and getting a win probably didn't hurt.  But this night wasn't just about Jagr's return to Pittsburgh or his legacy among Penguins fans.

Again, he's been back several times as a member of the Washinton Capitals and New York Rangers.

That wasn't true for Max Talbot. Thursday's game was the very first time he played in Pittsburgh as a member of another team.

Talbot, of course, spent the first six years of his career with the Penguins and played a major role in some of the team's biggest games over the past four years. He was a playoff hero during the 2009 Stanley Cup run when he fought then-Flyers forward Daniel Carcillo during Game 6 of the conference quarterfinals and then made his now-famous gesture to the Flyers crowd, while he also scored the Penguins' only two goals in their Game 7 win against Detroit in the Stanley Cup Finals. He was not only a key role player on the Penguins' bottom two lines, he also scored five Stanley Cup Finals goals during the 2008 and 2009 postseasons, each one seemingly bigger than the one before.

While it was obvious as to what sort of reception Jagr was going to receive, there was quite a debate before the game as to how Talbot would be welcomed. He was a popular player, as well as an important one, but he too signed with the Pittsburgh's chief rival, inking a five-year contract the same day the Flyers added Jagr. During a video tribute early in the first period there was initially some boos, before he was ultimately given a standing ovation. Of course, he too scored a goal for the Flyers, clinching the win with an empty net goal late in the third period.

"I knew I was going to have a little tribute," said Talbot. "But when the puck dropped I totally forgot about it so I was kind of surprised by it."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:10 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Rangers success has Lundqvist shining brighter

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- Thanks to HBO, we all learned a little something extra about New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist: he plays in one awesome jam band.

In the second episode of the great behind-the-scenes show, Lundqvist was followed on a day off to a studio where he was seen playing right beside American tennis legend John McEnroe and Jay Weinberg, son of Max Weinberg, on the drums.

How does a Swedish hockey player end up playing alongside such a group of guys?

"You live in New York, play there a few years obviously you're going to run into people," Lundqvist said. "John McEnroe, I've been running into him a bunch of times. He's a hockey fan and I'm a tennis fan. So we've been talking about playing music together. I said finally this year, 'Let's do it, let's do something fun.' We're doing a charity event in February, rock it out a little bit.

"Then the drummer Jay Weinberg, I met him at a Bruce [Springsteen] concert in Sweden actually, when his dad was playing. It's fun. If you play in New York you get to meet a lot of interesting people, sometimes people that you admire and respect a lot, so it's a great place."

So add musician to things we already knew about Lundqvist, such as his stellar fashion sense. Oh, and the fact that he's a damn good goalie.

We know that because New York isn't just a great place to live, it's a great place to play when you're playing for a Rangers team like this.

"So far it's been a good year," Lundqvist said. "It's been fun, it's been fun."

That usually happens when you are fighting for the top spot in the conference with every game you play. Sure beats the alternative of the past few seasons where the Rangers were fighting for the eighth spot in the East instead of first.

Make no mistake about: The Rangers have grown as a team. They have a young core of players that is only going to get better -- as a side note, watch out if Brandon Dubinsky regains his scoring form that he's beginning to show again -- and they had a pretty notable upgrade to the scoring this summer with Brad Richards in free agency. They are a very good group of skaters.

But Lundqvist has been and still is the straw that stirs the Rangers drink. He has earned the right to be referred to as an elite goaltender, and not just because he plays in New York. He's been that good in recent seasons for the Blueshirts. Without him, you wonder if they make the playoffs as often as they have. OK, I'll save you the wondering -- they don't.

But now he has help.

"I mean the reason why we're in pretty good shape in the standings is not that we're that much better than everybody else," Lundqvist said, "but it's that we've been consistent in how we play and how hard we have to play, so that's been paying off for us."

One of the ways that they play is a commitment to blocking shots. Defenseman Dan Girardi has been near the top of the shot-blocking list in the league the last couple of seasons and team captain Ryan Callahan isn't afraid to get in the way of a puck either. In the first period of the Rangers' 4-1 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday, Callahan was credited with four blocked shots, one of them actually led to a Dubinsky goal, giving Callahan an assist. He then was a mad man during a later penalty kill, scrambling and diving all over the ice, getting credit for three blocks in one shift.

"Guys take a lot of pride in that [blocking shots]," Lundqvist said. "You have a style. We have to play hard and we have to block shots, it's part of our game. Guys are doing a great job of that.

"To play well as a goalie you want to feel the support from the team in front of you. It helps if you have a good structure, you know what's going on and what type of chances are going to come up."

Well, it's working, because Lundqvist is playing as well as he ever has. In his case, that's saying something. Through 26 games this season, Lundqvist is on pace for career bests in save percentage (currently .936) and goals against average (1.95 per game).

Maybe that has something to do with coach John Tortorella's plan to play Lundqvist less this year, too. Only once in the past five seasons has Lundqvist played less than 70 games -- last season with 68. He was up there with the likes of Miikka Kiprusoff for biggest workhorses in the league. Now backup Martin Biron is being asked to and is carrying some more of the load. Rather well, too.

Before he took the loss against the Caps, Biron had a 7-1-0 record in his spot duty with a 1.84 GAA and .933 save percentage. That makes it a lot easier for the Rangers to stick to the plan this year and play Lundqvist around 65 games or so, possibly even a few less.

"I'm trying to get used to not playing as much. Last few years the plan was for me to play around 65 games, around there. It hasn't turned out that way," Lundqvist said. "We're [he and Biron] a good team. Benny [Rangers goaltending coach Benoit Allaire] and Marty work well together, push each other to work hard."

Well whatever it is, it's working.

The funny thing this season is that everything seems to be coming together for the Rangers. The spotlight was turned up on them this season anyway thanks to the Richards signing and all else they are experiencing this year.

"It's been a fun year. It's been an interesting year starting in Europe and then HBO and the Winter Classic coming up," Lundqvist said. "It's been a lot of ... I don't want to say distractions ... fun things going on. Things we don't normally see in a normal regular season. It's been a fun experience. I think we all look forward to the Winter Classic here as well.

"But it's good for us to have these different things happening during the year, learn to deal with it. It could be a distraction, it hasn't been one for us. We've been focused on what we have to do, with all the travel starting the year, the HBO, Winter Classic coming up. So, it's a test for us to maintain our focus on the games."

As he said, they've done that. He's done that.

But they're all hoping to have a lot more fun by season's end.

"It's still so early, but I'm happy with the way I've been playing so far, but there's a long way to go here," Lundqvist said. "We definitely raised the bar this year though. Our goal is to play in June. That's our goal."

If this is the Rangers' year, maybe Lundqvist can get the band together for a big show on the streets of Manhattan this summer.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 29, 2011 12:04 am
Edited on: December 29, 2011 12:09 am
 

24/7: Flyers-Rangers Episode 3

By: Adam Gretz

When Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and Dallas Stars forward Steve Ott had their little "shoving" match after the first period of a recent game the first thing that popped into my mind was, "I can't wait to hear what was actually said on the next episode of 24/7."

As it turns out, and it's probably not much of a surprise, the actual encounter was pretty lame and consisted of nothing other than Ott telling Laviolette to wait for the remainder of the Stars bench to head into the locker room, and Laviolette telling Ott to "go [expletive] yourself" two times. WIth a couple of shoves thrown in for good measure. In other words, it was just another day at the office for Steve Ott as you can be darn sure that's not the first time those words were spoken to him by an opposing player or coach during a game.  

It's no wonder the NHL didn't fine either participant: nothing happened.

Episode 3 of HBO's 24/7 probably wasn't one of the best ones in the series over the past two seasons. We had an opportunity to see a lot of the players hanging out with their families over the Holiday break, including Rangers forward Brian Boyle as he went home to spend time with his 12(!) brothers and sisters. There was an ugly sweater party, probably not unlike the ones you've had at work, and we also watched as Marian Gaborik awkwardly carried a massive Christmas tree over his shoulders through the streets of New York in an effort to get it back to his pad.

Three moments that stood out

1) Episode 3 focussed the Flyers-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden last week, which the Rangers won, and we were able to get a good listen to all of the trash talk that takes places on the ice and on the bench during a heated rivalry game. The best line of the night came from Rangers forward Brad Richards in response to Flyers call-up Tom Sestito, whom had been chirping the Rangers bench and talking about how he was going to knock all of them out. Said Richards, "This is fantasy camp for you," an obvious jab at Sestito's status as a call-up from the American Hockey League.

2) That game also gave us an opportunity to get a quick glimpse at the War Room in Toronto that keeps an eye on every single game taking place in the NHL and handles all of the questionable goal reviews that come up in a given night. During the second period of the Rangers-Flyers game Ruslan Fedotenko's goal had to be reviewed to make sure the puck actually went in the net (it did) and we managed to get a look at what can only be described as a dream job for a hockey enthusiast: a wall of massive HD flat screen TV's with nothing but hockey games taking place ... and one TV that, for reasons unknown, happened to have a close up angle of a dog.

3) The unquestioned star of the first two episodes, we had to wait nearly 49 minutes before we had our first real look at Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, and like many of the players, was seen celebrating the holiday with his wife, two children and his now-famous (after the previous episode in the series) Husky that he referred to as "a hot girl, man."

I'll say this, he wasn't lying about the dog: it is a sharp looking animal.

More 2012 Winter Classic News Here
24/7 Flyers-Rangers Episode 1
24/7 Flyers-Rangers Episode 2

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 28, 2011 2:58 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Empire State Building dons Flyers, Rangers colors

By Brian Stubits

The Empire State Building is getting a mini makeover for one night in the name of the Winter Classic.

If you are around Manhattan on Wednesday night, take a look to the sky. New York's most famous building will take on the colors of the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers just a couple of blocks from the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.

Philadelphia will have a tinge of the Classic too.

Here's the description from the NHL.

NEW YORK -– As the countdown to the 2012
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues, the New York City and
Philadelphia skylines will shine in celebration of the much-anticipated
outdoor match-up between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers on
Wednesday, December 28.

     The Empire State Building’s world-famous tower lights will shine in
Rangers and Flyers colors on Wednesday evening.  The east/west sides of the
building, with west facing Madison Square Garden, will be lit in the
Rangers’ Blue, Red and White, while its north/south sides, with south
facing the City of Philadelphia, will be lit in the Flyers’ Orange and
White.

     In Philadelphia, the PECO Main Office Building’s iconic Crown Lights,
which display scrolling text around the top of the 23rd and Market Street
building, also will celebrate the Rangers, Flyers and 2012 NHL Bridgestone
Winter Classic on Dec. 28 with scrolling text in recognition of the outdoor
match-up between the two storied teams.  The Crown Lights will also display
2012 NHL Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic text on Thursday, Dec. 29 and
Monday, Jan. 1.

Pretty cool and it's good exposure for hockey in New York City, literally a billboard high in the skyscrapers of Manhattan and Philadelphia. Now if the could just put the Winter Classic logo below it on the Empire State Building they'd really be on to something.

The timing is a slight bit odd. Might have made more sense to change the colors last Friday when the Flyers and Rangers played their tuneup down the street. But it does coincide with the third episode of HBO's 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic tonight.

Plus, far be it from hockey people to complain about any kind of attention.

More Winter Classic News Here

Photo: NHL.com

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 26, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Winter Classic weather forecast isn't promising

By: Adam Gretz

Worrying about a weather forecast a week in advance isn't always the best idea. Weather changes, forecasts change (or are wrong) and what's projected today might be completely different later in the week. But if you have tickets for next Monday's winter classic in Philadelphia between the Rangers and Flyers you should probably start digging out your ponchos and umbrellas.

According to the latest weather forecast for Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 2, we're looking at the possibility of temperatures in the low-to-mid 40's and a 60 percent chance of rain.

Excited yet?

And this, of course, is the largest (some would argue only) problem with scheduling an outdoor hockey game in January. Especially in a region/climate like Pennsylvania. It could be in the single digits with snow, or it could be in the 40's or 50's with rain, which is what we went through last year during the New Years Day game in Pittsburgh between the Penguins and Capitals.

That game had to be pushed back from a 1:00 PM ET faceoff to a primetime drop of the puck because of rain. Much of the game was played through a steady rain shower and the conditions were far from ideal (not that an outdoor hockey game in a baseball or football stadium would ever produce ideal conditions).

Again, we're still a full week away, but it's a situation worth watching, and it sounds like Dan Craig, the NHL's ice guru, is once again going to have his work cut out for him.

More Winter Classic News Here

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com