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The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 12/20/2013

A look at the past week in the NHL and a glimpse at what’s ahead:

The Numbers

28: The number of suspensions handed out by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety through preseason and regular-season games as of Dec. 19. The 25 suspensions cost the guilty a total of 121 games on the sidelines and more than $1.4 million in lost salary.

305: The ongoing home sellout streak of the Pittsburgh Penguins following last night’s win over Minnesota at Consol Energy Center.

$175,000: The estimated value of the resources and materials the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, along with DTE Energy, Johnson Controls and York, funded in extensive upgrades and renovations to the outdoor rink at Clark Park in Detroit. The donation was as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic legacy initiative. Clark Park’s rink received a new Zamboni and upgrades to its refrigeration and lighting systems, among other improvements.


Jan. 1: The roster for the 2014 U.S. Olympic team will be unveiled after the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Michigan Stadium, as was done with the Winter Classic at Fenway Park ahead of the 2010 Winter Games.


Sochi: Since the Nagano Olympics in 1998, the NHL has shut down its regular season for two weeks so players can participate in the Winter Games. Will the shutdown hurt this season’s momentum? If three long lockouts over two decades had no harmful effects on attendance and TV ratings, two weeks is merely a speed bump — especially if the U.S. and Canada compete for medals (as they did in 2010 in the gold-medal game).

General manager openings: Whom will Pat LaFontaine hire in Buffalo, and whom will Brian Burke hire in Calgary? Boston Bruins assistant GM Jim Benning is a strong candidate to land one of those jobs.

Coors Light Stadium Series: Will the quartet of games — two at Yankee Stadium, one each at Dodger Stadium and Soldier Field — be deemed a success? Between ticket sales (two sellouts so far), merchandise sales (all teams are wearing jerseys produced specifically for these games) and television ratings (the warm-weather game in Los Angeles draws curiosity), the bet here is, yes.

“NHL Revealed”: The league’s all-access look at players from the Stadium Series through the Olympics will undoubtedly provide top-shelf insight and entertainment, but will its viewings on NBCSN become the kind of appointment television (or DVR-ing) that HBO’s Winter Classic “24/7” has become? That will be a challenge.

The Coyotes: George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc and their partners saved Phoenix’s hockey club after four years of league ownership. Positive strides have been made with new sponsorship deals and a new local television contract, but the Coyotes are still last in the league with an average attendance of 12,600 per game. Don’t forget: The new owners have a clause in their deal that enables them to leave Phoenix after five years if they lose a total of $50 million or more.

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