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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 5:36 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Bernier to start in goal for Maple Leafs

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Randy Carlyle didn't want to reveal his starting goalie for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but there was a dead giveaway standing only a few feet away from the Toronto Maple Leafs coach during his post-practice press conference Tuesday.

Jonathan Bernier was waiting to talk to the media, but he also felt the need to wait until Carlyle left the press conference area before he confirmed that he'll be the Maple Leafs starter against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on Wednesday.

"Let's wait until Randy leaves," Bernier said laughing. "Yeah, I found out before practice so obviously it's great. It's great that he gave me the nod and being part of this whole history, it's pretty amazing."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Record number of tickets sold to 2014 Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said Tuesday that the League has sold a record 105,500 tickets to the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The League expects to set a record for attendance at a hockey game Wednesday when the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs square off at Michigan Stadium.

The current attendance record for a hockey game is 104,173, which was set at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11, 2010 for The Big Chill at the Big House. A representative from Guinness World Records will be on hand Wednesday to verify the attendance at the Winter Classic to determine if the NHL beats The Big Chill record for attendance.

The tickets sold would suggest the NHL will break the record, but Collins is not ready to say that for sure.

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 5:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Paul Maurice eager to get back behind the bench

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Paul Maurice is excited to cover his first Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game as an NHL Network analyst, but the former coach of the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs could think of a better way to experience the League's marquee regular-season event.

"What would be even better is if I got paid to coach in one of these games," Maurice told NHL.com.

The 46-year-old Maurice is interested in potentially getting that chance next season. He is working as a part-time television analyst mostly for TSN this season, but his desire is to get back into coaching after taking a year away following his one season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Maurice has coached 1,084 NHL games and has 460 wins. In his first stint in Carolina, he led the Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final. He brought them to the 2009 Eastern Conference Final during his second stint.

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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 12:35 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Early reports positive on Winter Classic rink

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The cold weather and overcast skies here Monday are working in Dan Craig's favor as the NHL's Senior Director of Facilities Operations prepares the ice surface at Michigan Stadium for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

Craig said a group of workers were the first to skate on the ice late Sunday night and the reports were good. Craig was not at The Big House to watch the skate or participate because he was helping out at Comerica Park for the Ontario Hockey League doubleheader that was played there Sunday.

"It was solid," Craig said of the reports he received. "Nothing that we haven't dealt with before. It doesn't matter what sheet of ice you have, you want to skate it in. We want two or three days of skating, that's why we would have loved to have the day before as well as [Sunday] night, but we'll work with what we've got."

The sun that covered the rink for most of the afternoon hours Friday and Saturday didn't allow for the ice to be ready for a skate Saturday night, but that's why the NHL built extra days into the schedule to allow for some leeway.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winterizing Michigan Stadium a challenge for Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Winterizing Michigan Stadium to host what could be more than 110,000 people for a major event in frigid conditions is one major obstacle the NHL and University of Michigan officials had to clear to pave the way for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Michigan Stadium is typically shut down for the winter after the Wolverines' final home football game. The water is drained from all the stadium facilities and the plumbing and electricity are turned off for fear that the cold weather would force a pipe to burst.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Weather issues at a minimum for Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The NHL is still expecting a frigid day with a chance of light snow for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

NHL Executive Vice President of Events Don Renzulli receives updated forecasts twice a day and the one he got Sunday morning reflected no changes from the forecast he received Saturday afternoon.

Renzulli said the forecast for Wednesday is currently calling for mostly cloudy skies with a temperature between 8-15 degrees Fahrenheit, a 30 percent chance of light snow and northerly winds ranging between 5-10 miles per hour.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Staal resumes skating for Rangers

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal skated Saturday for the first time since sustaining the second concussion of his career on Dec. 7 against the New Jersey Devils. Staal felt good so he returned to the ice Sunday and was planning to go harder to get a better understanding of where he is in his recovery.

There is still no timetable for his return, but Staal is hoping to skate again Monday and continue his workouts through the three-day holiday break.

"The same workout I did last week that I had a tough time with, I did this week and got through it fine," Staal said Sunday morning before going on the ice. "It's a gauge and you just keep ramping it up as you feel better. That's what I've been doing."

Staal has consulted with Michigan-based neurologist Dr. Jeffrey Scott Kutcher, who has also treated Rangers forwards Rick Nash and Taylor Pyatt, but he said he never felt the need to meet with him in person.

"If I felt I was in serious trouble I would have been up there," Staal said.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 12:16 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Rangers coach Vigneault framing the positive

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault is keeping the glass half-full approach as his team slogs through a tough stretch in which it has started a franchise-record nine-game homestand with just one win and four points.

"I see a lot of hard work. I see good commitment from the group," Vigneault said Sunday morning in advance of the Rangers' game against the Minnesota Wild at Madison Square Garden. "Everybody is trying to find solutions. Everyone is sticking with one another. I see a lot of signs that we're going to start winning on a more regular basis."

Vigneault is pointing specifically to the Rangers' 5-on-5 play.

After breaking down the 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Friday, Vigneault said the Rangers had an 11-3 advantage in scoring chances during 5-on-5 play.

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Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 1:56 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Ducks' Getzlaf good to go despite facial injury

NEWARK, N.J. -- Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf will be in the lineup Friday against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center despite not participating in the morning skate.

Getzlaf was receiving treatment stemming from the facial injury he sustained Tuesday, when he went face-first into the corner boards thanks to a shove by Detroit Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey, who was called for boarding and issued a game misconduct.

Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed Getzlaf will not miss any time because of his facial injury.

"I wasn't nervous when he went in [to the boards] until I saw his face when he came out," Boudreau said of Getzlaf, who was bleeding after making contact with the boards. "He's a very tough player. He doesn't stay down because of injury. When he's along the boards or getting hit I have a lot of faith that he's old-school tough."

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Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 1:49 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Final meeting for Ducks' Selanne, Devils' Jagr?

NEWARK, N.J. -- It's been almost 26 years since Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr played against each other for the first time. The last NHL meeting between the two legends and future members of the Hockey Hall of Fame could take place Friday at Prudential Center.

Selanne, 43, is retiring at the end of the season and the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Ducks won't play against each other again in the regular season. The only way the game Friday won't be the last time Selanne and Jagr play against each other is if the Devils and Ducks make the Stanley Cup Final or one of them gets traded.

There's no way the Ducks trade Selanne and it seems remote that 41-year-old Jagr would be available at the NHL Trade Deadline on March 5 because he's the Devils' leading scorer and the team figures to be in a race for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Anaheim leads the Pacific Division with 53 points, and the Devils are two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers for the final automatic playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division.

"You never want to let go of heroes," Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think both of them doing great is good for the game. Both very popular players, both well loved by the home fan bases and across the League, quite frankly. I'm glad they're both playing well."

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Quote of the Day

Your team is going to want to recapture the feeling. What they're going to have to figure out is they're going to have to rewrite the story. Because you're going to rewrite the story doesn't mean you want a different end. It's just that you're going to have to learn that there's different challenges to get there, and if you're going to try and tap the same feeling, it ain't going to happen.

— Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi on maintaining their success from last season