You have to love the Associated Press. Not only do they snap a fabulous photo of the crew working on the ice at Wrigley Field, but they also manage to catch five of the major sponsors of the event in this photo. While I realize that this game presents a ton of opportunities to generate revenue for the NHL, why can't this game be about the game instead of about dollars and cents? And while I'm sure no else is going to complain about the massive Winter Classic logo in the middle, was it really necessary to emblazon it with Bridgestone? C'mon, NHL. You're better than this. Or at least I thought you were.
On to other news to distract me from the Corporate Classic...
- The news surrounding Alexei Cherepanov's death just keeps getting worse. Russian investigators released a report today that states that Alexei Cherepanov was using performance-enhancing drugs "for several months". If this is true, this is a giant black mark on the KHL and its teams. Obviously, the training staff at Avangard Omsk had to have known about this. If they claim they didn't, they're either blind or lying. And if they did know about it, that would make them part of the problem. Something stinks here. Personally, I feel bad for the Cherepanov family and his friends. This just opens an already festering wound once again. More information is needed, and someone needs to break this story wide open so we can put these allegations behind us and mourn the loss of a fantastic, young hockey player.
- If you happen to be on the road in Washington, you better come prepared to play. The Washington Capitals are an incredible 15-1-1 this season on home ice. While their 8-10-2 away from the Verizon Centre is nothing to be proud of, winning at home will continue to bring the fans out, and that's good for business.
- Not to be outdone, the team ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings - the Boston Bruins - are an impressive 13-1-1 at home. To give you an idea of how good that is, Boston would have 27 points on the season if they had lost every game on the road thus far. That would still put them one point ahead of the New York Islanders, and one point behind the Atlanta Thrashers for the season.
- San Jose still holds the standard for a home record this season. The 18-0-2 Sharks have not lost in regulation at the Shark Tank yet, and they have also compiled a pretty good road record in their 10-4-2 mark. They're currently two points ahead of Boston for the best record in the league.
- Phil Hecken, of the fantastic Uni Watch Blog, has asked me for some thoughts on the Winter Classic, so I'll be contributing on that front as well. I'll cross-post the excellent piece here, and I hope a few of you will check in here and over at UW Central.
- WJC News: Canada defeats Germany 5-1; Sweden bombed Latvia 10-1. Last night's results included a 15-0 win for Canada over Kazakhstan; Russia defeating Finland 5-2; Sweden defeating Slovakia 3-1; and the USA defeating the Czech Republic by a 4-3 score.
- Spengler Cup News: Canada defeated ERC Ingolstadt of Germany 5-2 today. Dynamo Moscow of the KHL continues to roll as they blew past ERC Ingolstadt 7-1 yesterday. It appears that these two teams might meet for the Spengler Cup Championship if they continue their winning ways. However, Canada meets the Russian squad tomorrow at 9am EST time with huge results for the standings. If Canada loses and HC Davos wins, Davos advances to the final against Dynamo Moscow. Any combination of a Canada win or a Davos loss will mean that Canada advances to the final against Dynamo Moscow. Davos plays the 0-3 ERC Ingolstadt tomorrow. Moscow guaranteed themselves a place in the finals with a 4-3 win over Energie Karlovy Vary of the Czech Republic today.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!