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

Canadiens’ Brendan Gallagher will suit up for Winter Classic

Jared Clinton
Brendan Gallagher (Olivier Samson Arcand/NHLI via Getty Images)

Brendan Gallagher has missed the past 17 games after breaking two fingers on his left hand, but the Canadiens winger is going to be back in time for the marquee regular season contest of Montreal’s season.

The Canadiens announced Thursday afternoon that Gallagher will be back in the lineup Friday for the Winter Classic game against the Boston Bruins. The 23-year-old has received full clearance to play in the outdoor contest and said he didn’t want to come back just to play because it was the Winter Classic.

“I can’t thank the staff enough for what they did for me to be ready to play this game,” Gallagher told media Thursday. Read more

Canadiens’ Mike Condon tips cap to NFL’s Patriots on Winter Classic mask

Jared Clinton
Mike Condon's Winter Classic mask (via DaveART/Facebook)

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Mike Condon is in the interesting position of being a born and raised Massachusetts boy playing for the Bruins most hated rival. But even if he’s making his name playing for what most in Boston would consider the enemy, that doesn’t mean Condon can’t still pay tribute to his roots when he heads outdoors for the Winter Classic in his home state.

When Condon hits the ice for the Canadiens Friday, his mask will at first glance look like it’s keeping with Montreal’s classic theme. The front and sides of the mask are covered with Canadiens logos and even include the globe, which signifies the ‘World Champion’ jerseys Montreal is paying homage to for the Winter Classic. But it’s the back panel of his mask that’s most interesting. Read more

Bruins’ Brad Marchand suspended three games, will miss Winter Classic

Matt Larkin
Brad Marchand

Boston Bruins left winger Brad Marchand was all but guaranteed a multi-game suspension for his hit Dec. 29 on Ottawa Senators defenseman Mark Borowiecki. The NHL Department of Player Safety made it official following a phone hearing with Marchand Wednesday, suspending him three games, one of which will be the Jan. 1 Winter Classic, hosted by his own team at Gillette Stadium.

Marchand had far too many strikes against him to escape discipline. For one, the hit itself was obvious cause for suspension. As outlined in the DOPS’ explanatory video, Borowiecki was not eligible to be checked on the play, as he wasn’t engaged with the puck. Marchand took a clear, deliberate and unnecessary route to hit Borowiecki, and the collision itself, in which Marchand got low to upend Borowiecki at the legs, was a clear case of clipping.

Once the league decided the hit was worthy of supplemental discipline, Marchand’s past history factored into the sentencing. Being a repeat offender can’t get a player suspended again on its own, but it can make his punishment more severe once the league decides a given play is suspension-worthy, and that’s what happened to Marchand. He’s been suspended three times (this one makes it four) and fined twice. His previous bans were for slew footing, clipping and slew footing. The league considered him a repeat offender because the latter infraction happened in the past 18 months and because he has repeatedly earned discipline for dangerously low hits. Here’s the full explanatory video from the NHL:

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Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt not singing anthem at Winter Classic

Jared Clinton
Rene Rancourt (Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bruins anthem singer Rene Rancourt holds a special place in the hearts of Boston faithful. His exuberance after singing The Star-Spangled Banner has made him a fan favorite and a mascot of sorts. But Bruins fans hoping to hear Rancourt and watch his furious fist pumps before the Winter Classic are going to be sorely disappointed.

The NHL announced the lineup for the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Winter Classic and it turns out Rancourt won’t be singing the anthem before the game begins. Instead, the honor will go to Jordan Smith, the vocalist who won season nine of NBC’s singing competition ‘The Voice.’

Smith’s performance of the anthem will be accompanied by the Boston Pops, the famed orchestra. The 22-year-old Kentucky native will follow American Authors, who will serve as pre-game entertainment for the contest. Nate Ruess, of fun. fame, will perform during the first intermission. Read more

Wild alumni go with North Stars throwbacks for Stadium Series game

Jared Clinton
(via NHL/Minnesota Wild)

The Minnesota Wild are paying tribute to part of the state’s hockey heritage as the alumni team that is set to play Feb. 20 in a game against former Chicago Blackhawks ahead of the 2016 Stadium Series game will wear Minnesota North Stars throwback jerseys.

Minnesota unveiled the uniforms Monday evening ahead of their game against the Dallas Stars, which happens to be the team that shares a history with the North Stars. In a 58-second video on WildTV, the Wild showed off some of the former North Stars greats, including Mike Modano and Neal Broten, both of whom also suited up in Dallas. Read more

Report: Maple Leafs to host 2017 Winter Classic at BMO Field

Jared Clinton
BMO Field (Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images)

The Toronto Maple Leafs could be celebrating their 100th anniversary with one of the league’s signature events. According to a report, the 2017 Winter Classic could be coming to BMO Field, the stadium that plays host to MLS’ Toronto FC.

While nothing has been confirmed, Howard Berger reported Monday that “a source with many years of connection” to the NHL has told him the league is likely to place the 2017 Winter Classic at BMO Field on Jan. 2, 2017.

Should Toronto be awarded the game, it would be the second time the Maple Leafs were involved in an outdoor game and the first time they’ve played host to the event. Previously, Toronto took part in the 2014 Winter Classic at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the Detroit Red Wings. The Maple Leafs won that Winter Classic 3-2 in a shootout, and the game was the most well attended outdoor game in league history with more than 105,000 fans taking in the event. Read more

Blunder over women’s game at Winter Classic has NHL scrambling

Hilary Knight of Boston (left) battles Elana Orlando of New York (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Sources tell that the NHL is scrambling to find a way to the solve a potential debacle that has materialized over a women’s hockey showcase game at the Winter Classic in Boston.

As was reported by Bob McKenzie of TSN earlier this week, part of the Winter Classic festivities were to include a game between the Montreal Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Boston Pride of the first-year National Women’s Hockey League. The game was to be comprised of two 15-minute periods and was to be played prior to the game between the Canadiens and Bruins alumni teams on Dec. 31, the day before the Canadiens and Bruins face off in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxoborough, Mass.

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