Toews matched Crosby's feat a year later and climbed to the top of the NHL mountain a second time in 2013. He and Crosby have been two of the premier players in the League for years. They're considered two of the best captains in the NHL and have been collecting individual and team honors at various levels of hockey for the past decade.
One thing Crosby and Toews have not done is play against each other. That will change Saturday when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks meet at Soldier Field in a primetime Coors Light 2014 NHL Stadium Series matchup (8 p.m. ET; NBC).
"It's kind of weird that it's taken this long," Crosby said. "I think I've been hurt for a few games, but I think just knowing that either we're going to go head-to-head or if not, I think he's a guy who's pretty competitive. That whole group of guys that I've played with for the last few weeks are pretty competitive guys and have a lot of pride, so I'm sure they'll be up for this one."
CHICAGO -- When Nicholas Skretkowski showed up to Soldier Field on Friday night, the 4-year-old had his own stall inside the Chicago Blackhawks locker room.
It was located next to his favorite player, Jonathan Toews, and there was a Blackhawks uniform just his size waiting for him. His number was 19, like Toews, but his last name was written across the back of his jersey.
Then came the biggest thrill of all in his Make-A-Wish evening as a teammate of Toews. Assisted by a pass from his hockey idol, Nicholas scored a goal with a redirection into the net.
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks enjoyed themselves practicing under the lights of Soldier Field on Friday night, but they will be more businesslike Saturday.
The defending Stanley Cup champions host the Pittsburgh Penguins in the final game of the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series (8 p.m. ET; NBC), and they can't get swept up in the festive atmosphere.
Not only do the Blackhawks know the feeling of losing an outdoor game, 6-4 to the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, but they need points in the midst of a tight race in the Western Conference.
"We talked about it in the locker room, [and] coming back from the Olympic break we want to start strong and finish the season well, regardless of all the stuff going on and who we're playing against," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "We don't see this team too much, but it will be a good matchup for us. We'll try to enjoy the moment as much as we can but find a way to win a game."
The Buffalo Sabres made the 2014 NHL Trade Deadline a lot more interesting in one fell swoop Friday night.
As expected, the Sabres moved one of the biggest assets on the market in goaltender and franchise icon Ryan Miller, setting off a potential feeding frenzy before the March 5 deadline.
The destination and the haul for the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner are likely to make the next five days even more interesting. It's also a safe bet that the Sabres will remain one of the primary players in whatever drama develops in the coming days.
Miller and Buffalo captain Steve Ott were sent to the Blues in exchange for goalie Jaroslav Halak, power forward Chris Stewart, prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in 2015 and a conditional pick that the Sabres say could net them the Blues' first-rounder in June if St. Louis makes the Western Conference Final or Miller re-signs with his new team.
In moving Miller to the Blues, the Sabres may well have set off a chain reaction in the Western Conference by becoming markedly better without losing much from their current depth. Miller has had a Vezina Trophy-caliber season with the struggling Sabres. He could be a significant upgrade playing for Ken Hitchcock, a defensive-minded coach, and in front of a better, more experienced defense corps.
"We just think this gives us a better opportunity to have success this year and it also allows us to keep our prime assets," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "There's a few players that were discussed we wouldn't part with, some of our signed players that are currently with our team. We wanted to keep the guys like Jake Allen, Dmitrij Jaskin and maybe one or two other players. When we were able to keep those players, it seemed like a deal that made sense for us."
Sutter spent seven years in the Windy City when his father Brent Sutter played for the Blackhawks in the 1990s.
"I went to one Bears game and it was my first football game; I didn't think too much of it at the time but now looking back, it has changed so much," Brandon Sutter said Friday. "I had some great times in Chicago. I remember my dad playing and seeing the transition of the downtown area. We lived in the suburbs. I know my mom is very excited to be back, and it's great to see some old friends I haven't seen in a while."
Sutter, who turned 25 on Valentine's Day, was asked if he remembered Chicago Stadium, where the Blackhawks played their home games prior to United Center.
"Yeah, I remember I had to put cotton balls in my ears for the national anthem all the time," he said with a smile.
ST. LOUIS -- General manager Doug Armstrong felt the opportunity was there to improve the makeup of the St. Louis Blues, particularly in goal, and was willing to pay the price.
It was a large price, but Armstrong pulled the trigger Friday on a trade with the Buffalo Sabres for goalie Ryan Miller and forward Steve Ott. The cost was goalie Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a conditional pick that could turn into the Blues' first-rounder in June if St. Louis advances to the Western Conference Final or Miller re-signs with his new team.
"We're looking to improve our team any way we can," Armstrong said via conference call before the Blues' road game against the Anaheim Ducks. "The thought of getting the grit and determination of a Steve Ott, and Ryan Miller is a name that speaks for itself."
Miller and Sabres captain Steve Ott were traded to the St. Louis Blues on Friday for goaltender Jaroslav Halak, forward Chris Stewart, forward prospect William Carrier, a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, and a conditional third-round pick in 2016.
"I'm just thankful to everybody in Buffalo," Miller said at First Niagara Center, where he was scheduled to play against the San Jose Sharks. "Friends, fans, the organization top down, management over the years that believed in me; (owners) Terry and Kim [Pegula], who came in and did a nice job making this a continuing tradition of making this a great organization. I'm looking forward to what they can do here and their new direction."
VANCOUVER -- Ask Dan Hamhuis about skating outdoors and he doesn't have to think all the way back to his childhood.
The Vancouver Canucks defenseman took his family to his hometown of Smithers in northern British Columbia during the past two Christmas holidays, and skating on the lake behind his house was a big part of the trip.
"I spent a lot of hours out there by myself," said Hamhuis, who began skating there at age 4. "It's a great place just to tinker around with different skating moves or different stickhandling moves and spend a few hours on your own, in your own little world, and just skate."
VANCOUVER -- Shortly after updating its private suites and concessions in the first phase of a major renovation, BC Place hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The global events were a landmark for the city. But for Vancouver's largest local venue, the best was yet to come.
Following the Olympics, the stadium was shut down to undergo the second and final phase of its reconstruction. When that was completed in 2011, the original building was replaced by a revitalized, state-of-the-art facility. That building will be on full display Sunday when it plays host to the 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
"We have an amazing retractable roof you can actually color to reflect the event you have in the building," said Graham Ramsey, BC Place director of sales and marketing. "For example, when we hosted Paul McCartney here last year we did a large Union Jack on the roof, so when he was flying in to Vancouver he looked at BC Place and saw the Union Jack. You'll see some of that leading up to the Classic here in Vancouver."
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