NHL Morning Skate – Oct. 1, 2013

NEW YORK – The Chicago Blackhawks will take the ice this evening in hoisting the banner for the 2013 Stanley Cup. One can only imagine the roar from the Chicago faithful.

The thrilling part of the Fin2013 face off logoal in Chicago was the in-person exposure to the rallying spirit of the fans in the United Center. Having never witnessed a Stanley Cup contest in Chicago before last season it was an exceptional experience.

Washington has the unenviable task of visitor this evening in Chicago.

In the other two matches tonight the Maple Leafs visit Montreal and Winnipeg visits the Oilers.

Let the puck drop.

SNEAK PEEK AT TUESDAY’S ACTION

All Times Eastern

Toronto @ Montreal, 7:00 p.m., CBC, RDS

Washington @ Chicago, 8:00 p.m., NBCSN

Winnipeg @ Edmonton, 10:00 p.m., CBC

TORONTO @ MONTREAL

The Maple Leafs and Canadiens meet for the 720th time in the regular season. Montreal (340-283-96, 776 points) leads the all-time regular-season series versus Toronto (291-331-97, 679 points), but lost last year’s season series (2-3-0).

All-Time Record in Season Openers

Toronto: 37-41-17 (13-19-5 on the road)

Montreal: 49-29-17 (34-14-10 at home)

WASHINGTON @ CHICAGO

The Blackhawks, fresh off receiving their 2013 Stanley Cup rings, will raise their championship banner prior to facing off against the Capitals, who have not visited United Center since March 18, 2012 (a 5-2 Chicago victory). Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner, is back with the club after carrying the Olympic torch in Greece this weekend.

All-Time Record in Season Openers

Washington: 18-18-2 (6-13-2 on the road)

Chicago: 36-31-19 (20-9-12 at home)

WINNIPEG @ EDMONTON

The Jets, new members of the Western Conference under the League’s realignment, visit the Oilers for the first time since Feb. 19, 2011 (a 5-3 Edmonton victory). The Oilers anointed Andrew Ference, who signed a four-year contract with the team this offseason, as their 14th captain in franchise history on Sunday.

All-Time Record in Season Openers

Winnipeg: 5-7-1 (1-2-0 on the road)

Edmonton: 19-10-4 (16-6-3 at home)

OPENING-NIGHT NOTES (Courtesy of Elias)

* Since the 1927-28 season, the reigning Stanley Cup champion is 50-21-14 in its season opener.

* The Avalanche/Nordiques franchise (18-8-7, .652) has the highest points percentage among active NHL teams in season openers. The Lightning (12-6-2, .650) and Oilers (19-10-4, .636) rank second and third, respectively.

* The Lightning, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Sabres, Sharks and Stars have each won their last three season openers, tied for the longest active streak in the NHL. The all-time longest winning streak in season openers is nine, accomplished by both the Blues (1978-86) and Canadiens (1953-61).

* The Maple Leafs (4-0-2) have secured at least one point in their last six season openers, the longest active streak in the League. The longest all-time streak for points in season openers is 17, set by the Canadiens from 1963-79 (13-0-4).

Only three active players have recorded hat tricks in their team’s season opener: Teemu Selanne (Winnipeg, 1993), Paul Stastny (Colorado, 2007) and Derek Stepan (NY Rangers, 2010).

* The record for most goals in a team’s season-opening game is five, achieved by three players: Babe Dye (1922), Harry Hyland (1917) and Joe Malone (1917).

* Pittsburgh’s Kevin Stevens holds the all-time record for points in a season opener – he recorded 2-4—6 in the Penguins’ season-opening defeat of the Capitals in 1990.

* New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr (11-24—35) has the most career points in season openers. He’s followed by Ray Bourque (9-21—30), Wayne Gretzky (9-18—27) and Joe Sakic (11-16—27).

* Florida’s Kevin Dineen (2-0-0, 1.000) leads active NHL coaches in points percentage in season openers. San Jose’s Todd McLellan (4-1-0, .800), St. Louis’ Ken Hitchcock (9-2-3, .750), Pittsburgh’s Dan Bylsma (3-1-0, .750) and Montreal’s Michel Therrien (4-2-0, .667) round out the top five.

2013 MOLSON CANADIAN NHL FACE-OFF

The 2013 Molson Canadian NHL Face-Off, the League’s free hockey, entertainment and community festival, is set to take over Place des Festivals in Montreal this afternoon. The celebration begins at 3:00 p.m. ET and features musical performances by Grammy award-winning band Kings of Leon, Montreal hip-hop group Loco Locass and Toronto indie rock band The Beaches; interactive hockey attractions as well as numerous community and fundraising activities, presented by the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation; prizes and giveaways; and special appearances by Canadiens alumni Guy Carbonneau, Vincent Damphousse and Chris Nilan as well as team mascot Youppi. The event culminates at 7:00 p.m. ET with the live telecast of the season-opening game between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs on giant video screens. Visit NHL.com/FaceOff for more information.

HYBRID ICING APPROVED

The NHL and NHLPA announced on Monday that hybrid icing will be implemented for the start of the 2013-14 regular season. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly appeared on NHL Live to discuss the decision.

The newly-approved icing rule, Rule 81.1 – Icing, now reads:

“For the purpose of this rule, the center red line will divide the ice into halves. Should any player of a team, equal or superior in numerical strength (power-play) to the opposing team, shoot, bat or deflect the puck from his own half of the ice beyond the goal line of the opposing team, play shall be stopped. For the purpose of deflected pucks, this only applies when the puck was originally propelled down the ice by the offending team.

“For the purpose of this rule, the point of last contact with the puck by the team in possession shall be used to determine whether icing has occurred or not. As such, the team in possession must “gain the line” in order for the icing to be nullified. “Gaining the line” shall mean that the puck, while on the player’s stick (not the player’s skate) must make contact with the center red line in order to nullify a potential icing.

“For the purpose of interpretation of the rule, there are two judgments required for “icing the puck.” The linesman must first determine that the puck will cross the goal line. Once the linesman determines that the puck will cross the goal line, icing is completed upon the determination as to which player (attacking or defending) would first touch the puck. This decision by the linesman will be made the instant the first player reaches the end zone face-off dots with the player’s skate being the determining factor. Should the puck be shot down the ice in such a manner that it travels around the boards and/or back towards the end zone face-off dots, the same procedure shall be in effect in that the linesman shall determine within a similar distance as to who will have touched the puck first.

“For clarification, the determining factor is which player would first touch the puck, not which player would first reach the end zone face-off dots.

“If the race for the puck is too close to determine by the time the first player reaches the end zone face-off dots, icing shall be called.

“The puck striking or deflecting off an official does not automatically nullify a potential icing.”

HOCKEY FIGHTS CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

The 2013-14 NHL season marks the 15th anniversary of Hockey Fights Cancer, the NHL and NHLPA’s joint charitable initiative dedicated to raising money and awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research. Over the course of 31 days this October, the NHL and NHLPA will distribute more than $200,000 in grants to national and local cancer organizations in all 30 NHL markets, bringing the total amount Hockey Fights Cancer has raised for this important cause to approximately $13 million since its inception in 1998.

With NHL press release

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