The 2019 NHL Winter Classic is still more than a month away and the 2019 NHL Stadium Series game even further, but that hasn’t stopped discussions about where the league could turn next for an outdoor game. Today, BSN Denver’s Adrian Dater reports that the Colorado Avalanche are likely to be an outdoor game host “sooner rather than later.” In talking with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, Dater learned that the league is very interested in placing a game at the nearby Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, where Falcon Stadium normally plays host to the Air Force football team and a capacity crowd of close to 47,000. Given the success of the NHL’s last foray into an outdoor game in Colorado – the 2016 showdown at Coors Field in Denver – and their special interest in games played at American military institutions, such as last year’s game at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, not to mention the successful Division I hockey program at Air Force, the school seems like a great fit to host a gme. For now though, the league remains focused on their next contest at a college football venue, when the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks square off at Notre Dame on New Year’s Day.
- The Pittsburgh Penguins hope that their team is in much better shape when they take part in their outdoor game later this season, a match-up with the rival Flyers at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on February 23rd. The team continues to struggle and, even after his acquisition of forward Tanner Pearson, GM Jim Rutherford remains open for business per numerous sources. However, the next move might not be just a simple one-for-one to land a role player. TSN’s Bob McKenzie raised the stakes on the latest “Insider Trading” segment, stating that “anything and everything is on the table” in Pittsburgh. McKenzie says that the Penguins’ list of untouchables is rather short – just Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. McKenzie believes that anyone else could be move, perhaps adding fuel to the fire of recent rumors that Phil Kessel, Derick Brassard, Olli Maatta, and Matt Murray are among the names that could be on the move if things don’t improve.
- The Penguins did make a noteworthy move today, announcing that legendary executive Craig Patrick has re-joined the team as a pro scout. The 72-year-old Hall of Famer served as Pittsburgh’s GM for 17 years, from 1989 to 2006. Patrick was the architect of the 1991 and 1992 Stanley Cup-winning Penguins teams and much of the 2009 championship team and beyond were the products of Patrick’s regime, including Crosby and Malkin. Many will also recognize Patrick as an assistant coach to Herb Brooks on the famed “Miracle” 1980 U.S. Olympic team, while he also served as both coach and GM for the New York Rangers over a nine-year span in the 80’s. The extent of Patrick’s role is unclear, but particularly in the midst of a difficult season, this is a great hire by the Penguins if only for the wisdom and guidance of an experienced hockey guru.