Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while the NHL summer recess is pretty much upon us.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details of an eight-year contract extension between the Lightning and Nikita Kucherov that will pay the Hart Trophy candidate a sum of $9.5 million per season. It’s a reasonable deal for a superstar in the prime of his career, but one wonders if this kind of deal precludes Tampa from also locking up Erik Karlsson to a theoretical long-term contract as well. It’s reasonable to think the Lightning could afford Karlsson for the upcoming season, but much less clear how they’d be able to do it for the long term.
*If your name is Joseph Patrick Haggerty, then the chances are pretty bloody good that you’re going to like next season’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish-themed Winter Classic logo for the Bruins/Blackhawks game.
*Interesting piece on goalie Chris Darling working hard this offseason to try and bounce back from a horrendous first season with the Carolina Hurricanes.
*The Hockey News isn’t expecting a hangover second season from the Vegas Golden Knights after they made it all the way to the Cup Final last season.
*A group of NHL stars talk about their pet peeves on the ice in this NHL-produced video.
*For something completely different: It was great to hear that all of the soccer players and their coach got out of the cave safely in Thailand. There were many heroes involved whether it was the Navy SEAL divers that did the rescuing, the one Navy SEAL that gave his life in the escape efforts or this Australian doctor that consulted on the rescue mission.
The Bruins will once again be taking things outdoors and participating in their third Winter Classic in franchise history, but for the first time they won’t be hosting the NHL’s centerpiece event. The B’s announced on Saturday afternoon that they’ll be facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic that will be played at iconic Notre Dame Stadium. Both the Bruins and Blackhawks aren’t exactly strangers to the outdoor showcase, and per usual the Black and Gold are happy to be part of a big deal event for the league.
“The Boston Bruins are excited to be playing in the 2019 Bridgestone Winter Classic against another storied Original Six franchise, the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Bruins President Cam Neely, in a press release. “The rich history of Notre Dame Stadium is well documented, and our team looks forward to playing at such an iconic venue. We hope that by participating in these large scale and unique NHL events we can bring Bruins fans new hockey experiences, and that we can use these opportunities to help grow our great game and attract new fans.”
There will be some natural storylines for the game including the rematch of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final participants, and a return to Notre Dame for Fighting Irish forward Anders Bjork after playing three seasons in South Bend. The Bruins/Blackhawks Winter Classic matchup was first reported by Barstool Sports almost two weeks ago, but it wasn’t until Saturday that any of the officials involved were ready to confirm the game.
The Bruins will be in their third Winter Classic after hosting the Jan. 1 outdoor game at Fenway Park in 2010 in an overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and at Gillette Stadium in 2016 in a blowout loss to the Montreal Canadiens. It is a league-most fourth Winter Classic appearance for the Blackhawks, who hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in 2009, took on the Washington Capitals at Nationals Park in 2015, and most recently played the St. Louis Blues at Busch Stadium in 2017.