Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while hoping the people in St. Louis get some good hockey weather today.
*Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock has been behind the bench in an outdoor hockey games before, but it was at a prison rather than at a Winter Classic venue.
*The Centennial Classic slipped through the fingers of the Red Wings, much as their season appears to be slipping through their gloved hands as well.
*The Colorado Avalanche are getting phone calls from other teams about their players as the Avs are already far out of a playoff spot just a few days into January. As mentioned before, Gabriel Landeskog would be an intriguing power forward winger-type possibility for the Bruins if he’s dealt away from Colorado, but one would image Joe Sakic and the Avalanche would ask about local Colorado Springs product Brandon Carlo going back to the Avalanche as part of a package for Landeskog. I’d be more tempted to think about this than when Carlo was mentioned in Jacob Trouba trade rumors, but I still wouldn’t trade a 20-year-old D-man that’s already playing top pair minutes in the first year of his entry level deal. You just don’t trade those guys.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Adam Vingan sits down with Habs defenseman Shea Weber for a wide-ranging discussion about his return to Nashville.
*Jack Eichel is tired of the poor play in Buffalo, and he wants to see some improvement to a team that’s watching their season go down the drain if they don’t do something about it.
*PHT writer Adam Gretz has Auston Matthews enjoying the kind of rookie season for the ages that we all expected him to have after he was selected No. 1 overall.
*Coyotes player Anthony DeAngelo has been suspended for three games after a physical incident with on-ice officials.
*For something completely different: Mariah Carey had a trainwreck of a New Year’s Eve performance on live TV, and now says she was “sabotaged.” Okay then.
Amidst the current turmoil at the NHL level, the Bruins delivered a little good news about the future today . . . with more potentially to come.
The Bruins announced the signing of a pair of prospects/former draft picks -- Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson -- to entry-level contracts that will kick in next season. There will likely be another wave of signings with the Bruins from the amateur ranks once players like Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are finished up with their college teams in the NCAA tournament, though it remains to be seen exactly which players end up taking the NHL plunge.
There was some uncertainty as to whether Fitzgerald would definitely sign with Boston after completing his senior season at BC, but he will immediately join the Providence Bruins on an amateur tryout agreement after signing a two-year deal. Johansson will join the Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement with a three-year entry level deal that kicks off next season.
The 5-foot-10, 177-pound Fitzgerald was an alternate captain for BC in 2016-17, with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 34 games with 56 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. Fitzgerald is also the son of Billerica native and former Bruins forward Tommy Fitzgerald, who took to Twitter on Friday to voice his overwhelming pride over his oldest signing an NHL contract. He was a fourth-round pick by the Bruins in 2013.
Johansson, 20, completed his first season with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17, establishing career highs with 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points with 26 penalty minutes in 49 games. The B's selected him in the seventh round in 2014.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruns got back to work on Friday, but were without their No. 1 goaltender for practice at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of their biggest game of the season Saturday night against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center
Tuukka Rask was given a maintenance day after playing three games in four days, and Matt Beleskey was also missing “on family leave." The off-day for Rask could have very well about getting away from the rink mentally as it was physically; he has a 3-6-0 record during the month of March.
Interim coach Bruce Cassidy said after practice that he wouldn’t be making a decision on his starting goalie in Brooklyn until Saturday, but it would be stunning if Rask didn't play.
“We’ll see how things clear up . . . and see where we’re at,” said Cassidy of any Bruins lineup changes against the Isles. “We’ll know by then. [The starting goalie] will be determined tomorrow. I don’t want to get out in front of it, to be honest with you.”
Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Friday’s practice, with Cassidy uncertain of any changes he might make between now and Saturday night:
C. Miller-K. Miller