Friday, August 24, 2007

Ice Bowl confirmed

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that the first NHL outdoor game since the 2003 Heritage Classic saw the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens compete at an outdoor Alberta rink, has been all but confirmed. As expected, the Buffalo Sabres will play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, on New Year's Day 2008. The game will be nationally televised on NBC, who reportedly commissioned the event as a result of failing to land a college football bowl game. This comes after the network attempted to arrange a meeting between the Rangers and Islanders at Yankee Stadium last New Year's, which was unsuccessful.

In other hockey-related news, Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated, who has been handing out grades to teams based on their off-season performance for a few weeks now, has a Pacific Division report card up. The Sharks receive a B- from Muir, which is understandable due to their relative lack of player addition, but the contract extensions to Joe Thornton, Milan Michalek and Craig Rivet (all but the Rivet deal arguably below market value, mind you) have to be taken into consideration. The Kings deservedly finish at the head of the Pacific Division class with an A-. While their horrendous goaltending situation will likely inhibit them from their first playoff berth in five years, what GM Dean Lombardi has been able to accomplish this summer without mortgaging the future (*cough*Kevin Lowe*cough*) is commendable.

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