Canadiens must be careful with P.K. Subban’s minutes – for his sake and theirs

Adam Proteau
P.K Subban and Kyle Turris

When the Montreal Canadiens lost defenseman Alexei Emelin to an injury in the first period of Wednesday night’s game against Ottawa, the pressure on the team’s defense corps ratcheted up significantly. There was no immediate word on the severity of Emelin’s upper-body ailment, but in the immediate wake of losing the veteran and the 20 minutes he averages per game, head coach Michel Therrien leaned on a blueliner he’s been leaning on more of late: star P.K. Subban was on his way to playing more than 30 minutes for the third time in five games when he was forced out of the game late in the second period after blocking a shot. Subban returned to start the third and still finished the night with 30:45 of playing time, but it very easily could’ve been a higher number than that.

The Canadiens are already rumored to be seeking a defenseman on the trade market, and the injury scares to two of their veterans should be considered a warning shot across the bow to accelerate the process. Because while the 25-year-old Subban is clearly capable of being on the ice for more than half of every game, Therrien and GM Marc Bergevin must be delicate with his minutes. Just as an NHL GM must balance the needs of the now with the needs of tomorrow on the salary cap front, so too must he keep an eye on the big picture when it comes to the use of his star players. And because Subban is one of the NHL’s most marketable, personable and talented players, Bergevin needs to be aware of the demands that are going to be placed on him not only this year, but beyond. Read more

Outdoor game on track? Racecourse possible site for Canadiens

Jared Clinton
Carey Price at the Heritage Classic (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL has played in baseball stadiums and on football fields, but if the Montreal Canadiens get their wish and host an outdoor game, it could take place at a racetrack.

According to Guillaume Lefrancois of LaPresse, Canadiens owner Geoff Molson is working hard to secure an outdoor game. In order to do so, however, Molson will need to find a suitable venue for the spectacle. While some of the ideas make more sense – the CFL or MLS stadiums, for example – the most intriguing concepts involve hosting the event at the Montreal Hippodrome or Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Read more

Sick of Chicago playing outdoor games? Too bad

Ryan Kennedy
Chicago's Patrick Kane in Washington (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of several big announcements made by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Saturday afternoon was the slate of outdoor games for the 2015-16 season. Montreal will take on Boston at the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium, Detroit will travel to Coors Field to face the host Colorado Avalanche and Chicago will venture out to the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium to take on the Wild.

As soon as the Blackhawks were announced as competitors, the Internet crowd got a bit jealous. After all, there are still nine NHL teams that have never played in an outdoor game and don’t have one scheduled right now: Arizona, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Winnipeg. The Jets could have hosted a fourth outdoor game next year, but an agreement could not be reached with the CFL’s Blue Bombers over a stadium date (Bettman hoped that 2016-17 would work now).

The Hawks are already on outdoor game No. 4 now. So why Chicago again?

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Report: Minnesota, Colorado to host NHL outdoor games next season

The crowd at Chicago's Soldier Field for the 2014 Stadium Series game between the Hawks and Pens. (Getty Images)

The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild will each host outdoor games next season, according to a report Wednesday from TSN’s Bob McKenzie. The games will complement the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, which will take place in Boston’s Gillette Stadium and feature the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. Read more

Winter Classic success tied to revenue, spectacle, not just TV ratings

Stu Hackel
(Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

The successes of the 2015 Winter Classic included a superbly competitive game, excellent outdoor ice, a boost for the sport in Washington DC, a joyful experience for fans at Nationals Park and a lucrative payday for the NHL.

But things fell somewhat short with the U.S. national TV audience, which recorded its lowest audience figures on NBC since the event’s 2008 debut.

The final tally of 3.47 million viewers for the Blackhawks-Capitals game was a 21 percent decline over the Maple Leafs-Red Wings matchup a year ago at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, which drew 4.4 million, the highest ever posted for a Winter Classic matinee. Read more

The five best (and one of the worst) things of the 2015 Winter Classic

(Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

For a game that was said to be lacking the buzz of year’s prior, the Winter Classic went off without a hitch and ended up being quite the game.

Almost everything about the game was as good as one could have hoped. From the on-ice action to the atmosphere and the show the league put on, 2015’s edition of the annual outdoor game had some great moments, with one not-so-great one mixed in.

These are the five best (and one of the worst) things about Washington’s Winter Classic. Read more

Capitals, Blackhawks beat back glare to put ‘classic’ in Winter Classic

Jared Clinton
WC Ovechkin featured

The spectacle itself, the Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, didn’t start like many before it had. The pageantry was given a healthy bump thanks to the team entrances, and the game itself was one of the better outdoor contests the league has seen.

Though the first game will always be the most memorable – the snow falling in Buffalo while Sidney Crosby, the face of the league, scored the shootout winner – 2015’s Winter Classic will certainly be remembered as one of the outdoor games that stand the test of time. Read more