Report: Bettman gets contract extension

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Gary Bettman’s reign as NHL commissioner appears as though it will continue on into the next decade.

According to a report from Hall of Fame scribe Michael Farber, Bettman has signed a contract extension that will keep him in his current post through 2022.

Bettman has been commissioner of the NHL since Feb. 1, 1993 when he was hired from the National Basketball Association. Bettman was the NBA’s senior vice-president and general counsel before moving over to the NHL. He became the league’s first commissioner after replacing Gil Stein, who was its last president.

Should Bettman fulfill the terms of his extension, he would rank as one of the longest-serving first-in-commands in professional sports history.

His new deal takes him months shy of his 30th anniversary as commissioner. Sportsnet’s John Shannon notes that NHL president Clarence Campbell worked one year longer. Bettman’s former NBA boss David Stern was commissioner for exactly 30 years when he stepped down in February 2014.

Under Bettman’s watch, the NHL has expanded to 30 teams from 24 and more could be on the way. The league is reviewing applications for new franchises in Las Vegas and Quebec City, although he noted repeatedly Saturday there is no timeline on a decision. NHL players have also participated in the Olympics since 1998 and outdoor games went from a trial event to becoming commonplace.

However, he has governed during three lockouts, including the one that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season. The NHL and NHLPA both have the option of opting out of the current collective bargaining agreement before the start of the 2019-20 season.

Toronto’s rooftop rink is sticking around a little longer, being opened to the public — for a fee

Ian Denomme
(Ian Denomme/The Hockey News)

TORONTO – When Molson Canadian built a hockey rink atop a skyscraper in downtown Toronto, it created the considerable buzz they were going for. So much buzz, in fact, that the rink is remaining open for an extra month and being opened to the public.

Initially part of Molson’s #AnythingForHockey campaign, that contest closed on Dec. 10. But after photos of the rink circulated and the public became interested, they decided to keep it open to let more people experience the rink with sprawling views of Toronto and the CN Tower.

At rooftoprink.ca there is another ongoing contest to let more fans on the rink. There’s also the option of simply buying ice time on the rink. But to do so, you better indeed be willing to do ‘anything for hockey’ – an hour of ice time for 20 people costs $2,000.

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NWHL announces Denna Laing suffered ‘significant spinal injury’ at Outdoor Women’s Classic

Jared Clinton
Denna Laing (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The NWHL announced Friday evening that Boston Pride forward Denna Laing suffered a significant spinal injury at the Outdoor Women’s Classic Dec. 31 at Gillette Stadium. Laing has limited movement of her arms and no feeling in her legs, per a release from the NWHL.

Laing, 24, was injured when she went headfirst into the boards of the outdoor rink late in the first period of the contest between the NWHL’s Pride and the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes. Laing had to be stretchered off the ice.

“Our prayer going forward is that Denna can be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a Rehabilitation Center and continue to fight every day with her trademark grit and resolve,” Laing’s parents, Jerilyn and Dennis, said in a statement. “With respect to her long-term prognosis, right now there are more questions than answers. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from countless friends and family members while we try to navigate this overwhelming situation. We are eternally grateful to everyone who continues to offer support as we take on this challenge together.” Read more

Rink spotted on top of building in downtown Toronto

Jared Clinton
(via TripTime1965/Instagram)

Anyone who has grown up in Canada can tell you that there’s almost countless places they’ve thrown on a pair of skates and played hockey. There’s outdoor rinks at community centers, frozen-over ponds and lakes and even the lucky ones who’ve had a backyard rink to play on until they’re frozen solid. One place no one has played, though, is atop a building in downtown Toronto, but that’s about to change.

Instagram user TripTime1965 posted a photo Monday of a rink on top of a building in Toronto’s Financial District, and it appears to be a full-size NHL rink complete with boards and a crisp, clean sheet of ice: Read more

Winter Classic in photos: 10 great images from battle between Canadiens and Bruins

Jared Clinton
WC Team Entrances

Though the premise of the Winter Classic hasn’t changed over the past several seasons, the event always manages to feel special and produce some of the most breathtaking photos in all of sports. The 2016 event between the Montreal Canadiens and hometown Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., was no exception.

With nearly 70,000 people in attendance, the game was a spectacle, and the photographers on hand captured the event in all its glory. Take a look at 10 of the best images from the 2016 Winter Classic: Read more

Gallagher scores in return as Canadiens show off incredible hand-eye at Winter Classic

Jared Clinton
Brendan Gallagher (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Brendan Gallagher made his return to the Montreal Canadiens lineup Friday for the Winter Classic after missing the past 17 games due to two broken fingers, and he didn’t waste time making an impact.

In his return to action, Gallagher skated the third highest ice time among Canadiens forwards and had the primary assist on a third-period insurance goal by Montreal captain Max Pacioretty. But Gallagher’s best moment of the game came at the tail end of the second period when he scored with some incredible hand-eye coordination.

The Canadiens were working the puck around the Boston zone when a cross-ice pass went from Tomas Plekanec to Pacioretty. When the puck hit Pacioretty’s stick, it popped into the air and fluttered into the air. Pacioretty reacted quickly by batting the puck toward the front of the net where it was smacked out of mid-air by Gallagher and right over the shoulder of Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. Take a look: Read more

Ranking every Winter Classic game, from worst to best

Matt Larkin
The 2014 Winter Classic. (Getty Images)

The eighth Winter Classic is upon us, and it’s a doozie of a matchup. Foxboro, Mass., will host the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, placing hockey’s greatest rivalry outdoors. Yes, please. Given the history of bad blood between the two squads, the 2016 Classic immediately has a chance to go down as one of the best.

Which Winter Classic is the king of them all so far? It’s time to rank all seven, from worst to best. An important note: quality of hockey isn’t paramount. Indoor NHL rinks with standardized ice conditions treat us to higher-quality hockey every night of the week. So a good Winter Classic is about entertainment value above all else, and while good hockey helps, the entertainment can also include intangibles. Let’s begin.

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Bruins’ Rask goes all in on Patriots mask for Winter Classic

Jared Clinton
The top panel of Tuukka Rask's Winter Classic mask. (via Sylabrush)

Canadiens goaltender and Massachusetts native Mike Condon chose not to go with a mask design that paid homage to New England Patriots — Condon’s hometown NFL team and the team that plays on the very grounds that will host the Winter Classic. But if Condon was hoping to win some cheers from the notoriously tough Boston crowd, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask may have killed that hope.

Rask’s unveiled his lid for the 2016 Winter Classic game, which will be played at noon E.T. Friday, and he isn’t just tipping his cap to quarterback Tom Brady. Instead, Rask is putting four major Patriots players on display. While Brady is one of the four, Rask’s mask also features tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Julian Edelman and kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Check it out: Read more