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Justice? Joffrey Lupul fined $10K maximum for Winter Classic cross-check

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Joffrey Lupul of the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul will pay for besmirching a record Winter Classic with his dastardly stickwork. (Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

It’s hard to tell who was more stunned after the latest cheap shot in the NHL. Was it Patrick Eaves, the recipient of a two hander to the side of his head during the Winter Classic on Wednesday, or the legions of hockey fans who were left to wonder how a flagrant foul committed by repeat offender Joffrey Lupul didn’t draw a suspension from the Department of Player Safety?

Not that the Toronto forward got off scot-free after his lumber delivery. Lupul was fined $10,000 by the DOPS today. That’s the maximum fine allowable under the CBA and roughly what he makes over the course of three shifts.

Doesn’t quite feel like enough, does it?

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  • Published On Jan 03, 2014
  • Snowy 2014 Winter Classic enchants, but game was the worst one yet

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    Wintry conditions hampered the quality of play for both the Maples Leafs and the Red Wings. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    Wintry conditions hampered the quality of play for both teams, but they battled through them. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Winter? Sure. The NHL’s game of the year was postcard pretty, with the falling snow clashing brilliantly with the bright red and blue sweaters of the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs.

    But a classic? Not quite.

    Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit at the Big House was heavy on the spectacle that draws in the casual viewer — which, of course, is the primary focus of the event — but it was a miserable display of hockey. For most of the contest, this was two middling teams playing to prevent goals rather than score them. Even the Red Wings’ sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk was reduced to playing dump-and-chase rather than showcasing his skills in front of the largest crowd in NHL history and a massive TV audience.

    ROSENBERG: Biggest Classic proves NHL’s winning formula | The scene in tweets and photos | Outdoor games gallery

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  • Published On Jan 01, 2014
  • Classic stuff from the Big House

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    Fans at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium

    Many fans had a long, hard slog to Michigan Stadium in the snow, but the atmosphere was festive. (Getty Images)

    By John Rolfe

    Selected tweets and visual wonderment from the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, an exciting 3-2 win by the Maple Leafs over the Red Wings in a shootout. You can find game observations from’s Allan Muir here.

    Fireworks at the 2014 NHL Winter Classic

    A spectacular end to a snowy spectacle and great game. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

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  • Published On Jan 01, 2014
  • Taking the NHL Outside: The making of stadium hockey

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    By Tim Newcomb

    It doesn’t take a meteorologist to know that a sheet of NHL ice outdoors — in stadiums that seat more than 100,000, no less — offers both an aesthetically pleasing visual effect and plenty of challenging weather questions. Just ask NHL ice guru Dan Craig.

    The league has expanded its outdoor program from one or two games per year to six across five North American stadiums — including Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles — presenting Craig with his biggest and most difficult job yet. The scariest part? All of his efforts in the widely varying locales will be at the mercy of the elements, which will ultimately determine the final quality of the ice.

    GALLERY: The NHL’s Outdoor Games

    The 2014 outdoor series begins with the Maple Leafs against the Red Wings at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Jan. 1. Craig tells Sports Illustrated that he’s hoping for a “party house,” and he may get one. “Michigan, because it is the Big House, it will be absolutely amazing to stand out on that field and have 110,000 screaming fans,” he says. “I can’t imagine that, as a hockey player. They will get jacked right up.”

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  • Published On Dec 31, 2013
  • Sneak peek: Jonas Gustavsson’s stunning 2014 Winter Classic mask

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    Detroit Red Wings goalie Jonas Gustavsson's 2014 Winter Classic mas.

    The Monster’s mask for the big game in the Big House looks pretty classic. (Detroit Red Wings via Twitter)

    By Allan Muir

    With Jimmy Howard’s sprained knee putting his availability for the Winter Classic in jeopardy, all eyes have turned to his backups to see what special equipment they might wear for Detroit’s New Year’s Day date with the Maple Leafs at the Big House.

    Petr Mrazek generated a lot of buzz when revealed his snowman pillows earlier this week. And now we get our first look at the mask that Jonas Gustavsson commissioned for the event.

    It’s a beauty, adorned by the Winter Classic logo, an old-timey Red Wings wordmark, some snowflakes and his jersey number. Not sure it’ll pop for the folks in the cheap seats, but it’ll look great in the TV close-ups.

    His new pads, though? We’ve seen this vintage look done better. Maybe he can talk Mrazek into a trade …

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  • Published On Dec 18, 2013
  • Jimmy Howard out 2-4 weeks, may miss Winter Classic and Olympics

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    By Allan Muir

    The last time the Red Wings skated in the Winter Classic, they relied on their backup goaltender against an old rival.

    Looks like it could happen again when they face-off against the Maple Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day.

    Detroit GM Ken Holland confirmed this morning that Jimmy Howard suffered Grade 1 sprain of his MCL in practice on Wednesday. The injury could keep him out of the Wings’ lineup for 2-to-4 weeks, putting his participation in the Winter Classic at risk.

    MUIR: Injuries hurt Red Wings, but may be golden for HBO’s 24/7 series

    A lengthy stay on IR won’t help Howard’s chances to earn the No. 3 job for Team USA in Sochi, either. The Americans will announce their roster on Jan. 1, after the Winter Classic. Howard hadn’t done his candidacy any favors during the last month (2-4-5, .903 save percentage), but his experience and personality had kept him in the running.

    Now? The best-case scenario for him would be a return in time for Detroit’s games on Dec. 28 in Florida and Dec. 30 in Nashville. If Howard heals any slower than that, his Olympic audition is over.

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  • Published On Dec 13, 2013
  • Pressure forces Sochi Olympics hockey roster deadline changes

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    Seth Jones of the Nashville Predators in Team USA's bubble for the Sochi Olympics.

    A later Olympic roster date will help bubble players like Predators defenseman Seth Jones. (Mark Zaleski/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    Turns out Vladislav Tretiak was right after all.

    Just days after Tretiak’s claims that the Olympic roster deadline would be moved from Dec. 31 were refuted, Pierre LeBrun is now reporting that the head of The Ice Hockey Federation of Russia was right and that the deadline will now become either Jan. 6 or 7.

    Apparently pressure from several European countries, including Russia, led the NHL, the NHL Players’ Association, and the IIHF to make the change.

    What does it mean? Well, bubble players will now have a few extra games to make an impression…and fans will have a few more days to speculate on who those final slots should go to.

    MUIR: Team USA/Team Canada Sochi Goalie Power Rankings: Week 8

    Team USA already has plans in place to reveal its roster on Jan. 1 during the Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, MI, and given the high profile of that event, and the fact that NBC has a nice bit of broadcasting synergy in play between that game and the Winter Games, it was unlikely that would change. No other nation has confirmed when it will make its announcement, but most are expected to use the extra time to extend their evaluations.

    UPDATE: USA Hockey has reaffirmed it will announce the full rosters for both the men’s and women’s teams at the Winger Classic.

    USA Hockey Sochi Olympic roster press release


  • Published On Nov 27, 2013
  • Team USA to announce Sochi Olympic roster at 2014 Winter Classic

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    NHL players at USA Hockey Olympic Orientation Camp

    Twenty-five lucky individuals frl\om this group will earn a trip to Sochi. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    USA Hockey announced today that it will reveal the roster for its Olympic team during the NHL’s Winter Classic broadcast on January 1.

    The game, set for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, will feature the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    The 2014 Olympic tournament starts just five weeks later on Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia. Each nation will be allowed to select 25 players, up from the 23 used in Vancouver. That will allow some flexibility for roster construction, although it’s expected that the Americans will take three goalies, eight defenders and 14 forwards.

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  • Published On Sep 30, 2013
  • Report: Washington Capitals to host 2015 NHL Winter Classic

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    Nationals Park in Washington, DC

    Nationals Park is the most likely venue for a Capitals outdoor game. (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    It wasn’t long after Washington owner Ted Leonsis promised a major announcement at Saturday’s Capitals Convention that speculation narrowed to two possibilities: a jersey retirement or the Winter Classic.

    Better bring a scarf, kids, ’cause the Caps are playing outside.

    Katie Carrera of the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the 2015 Winter Classic is coming to Washington.

    The team isn’t commenting on the report, of course. No reason to spoil tomorrow’s official unveiling.

    But that silence leaves two obvious questions hanging: who are they playing and where will it take place?

    There’s no word on Washington’s opponent yet, but we’ve seen the drill before. Big market, superstar-laden teams only need apply, so don’t be surprised if it’s Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston or the New York Rangers.

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  • Published On Sep 20, 2013
  • Source: Rangers to play Islanders, Devils at Yankee Stadium in 2014

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    Yankee Stadium will feature a bit more ice next season when it plays host to two NHL matchups. (John Iacono/SI)

    By Allan Muir

    If one outdoor hockey game each year is special, the NHL is banking that six is even better.

    Multiple sources are reporting that the New York Rangers will skate in a pair of outdoor games next year at at Yankee Stadium. The Blueshirts will play the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26 and the New York Islanders on Jan. 29.

    The timing might seem odd, but it plays out as a genius act of coat-tailing. With the Super Bowl slated for the following weekend, the largest media contingent of the year will be descending on New York City that week. What better way to fill their downtime–and help promote the sport–than with a pair of hockey spectacles.

    The games will complement a burgeoning outdoor schedule that already features the Red Wings and Maple Leafs facing off in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1. Other matches in the works include Pittsburgh vs. Chicago on March 1 at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, along with the expected return of the Heritage Classic on March 2, when Vancouver will host Ottawa at BC Place. There also are reports that the Los Angeles Kings will to host the Anaheim Ducks at Chavez Ravine on Jan. 25.

    You can expect cries of overkill from some corners, but the league is gambling that the public’s appetite for these outdoor spectacles is nowhere close to being sated. Odds are they’re right. You can bet the games will sell out and draw huge numbers on TV.

    And that’s why it’s not just the paying public that’s excited by this news. These games will provide the league a chance to soothe any ill will that lingers with sponsors in the wake of the lockout. NBC Sports, the network that invested heavily in the league almost two years ago to the day, will gain five new appointment dates on its schedule. There will be five new title sponsor deals, like the one that’s worked out well for Bridgestone, and five new opportunities for the rest of the league’s affiliates to line their coffers.

    We’ll have more as the story develops.

  • Published On Apr 16, 2013