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The Heroes of Motown roster has been announced.

Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios headlines the Detroit Red Wings alumni who have agreed to attend the 2020 edition of the Brockville Winter Classic. The annual hockey celebration weekend that raises money for Rotary Park features an exhibition game involving the alumni of an Original Six NHL team as well as the local Tim Hortons all-stars squad. The 2020 game will be held at the Memorial Centre on Sunday, Feb. 16.

Also on the Detroit roster that was announced on Monday are four-time Stanley Cup winner Darren McCarty as well as Todd Bertuzzi, Brad Marsh, Brad May and Brockville-area natives Randy Ladouceur and Todd Gill. Al Iafrate and Wayne Presley will also suit up with the Red Wings alumni; their NHL careers did not include Detroit, but both are from the Detroit area and have appeared at the Winter Classic.

“We’ve got a great crew in there,” said Winter Classic committee member Jeff Severson.

Landing Chelios is “great” for the organizing committee, Severson noted. He will be the fourth Hall of Famer to take part in the Brockville hockey celebration; the others are Guy Carbonneau, Ray Bourque and Denis Savard, who was part of the Chicago alumni who visited the city earlier this year.

“That’s pretty special,” Severson said of being able to bring hockey legends to Brockville and giving local residents an opportunity to meet them.

Chelios won two Stanley Cups during his decade as a player with Detroit. He started his NHL career with Montreal and was part of the cup-winning Canadiens team in 1986. Chelios was traded to Chicago in 1990 and played for the Blackhawks until he was traded to the Red Wings late in the 98/99 season. He retired at the age of 47.

Severson, a Montreal fan, recalled that his sister bought a Chelios jersey when they went to a Canadiens game when they were kids. It’s “awesome” that followers of Montreal, Detroit and Chicago will have a chance to see him in person in February.

Having two local alumni players in Gill and Ladouceur is also a plus for the classic, according to Severson. Ladouceur was with Detroit for three-plus seasons in the early and mid-’80s before going to the Hartford Whalers; Gill played for the Red Wings in the late ’90s and early 2000s near the end of his lengthy pro career.

The Winter Classic includes a hot stove gala with the alumni crew in the Memorial Centre community hall the night before the exhibition game. In addition to general admission tickets to the alumni game, there will also be dressing room passes that provide special access to the former NHL players during the first intermission.

This is the Winter Classic’s sixth year, and the fifth that features an NHL alumni team. Toronto is the remaining original six team; it will be featured in 2021.

The 2019 classic raised $58,000 for Rotary Park. Severson encourages local residents to visit the facility located at the west end of downtown Brockville and see for themselves how far the park enhancement project has progressed.

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In a lab in Lowell, Massachusetts, there is a belief in a better way to clean without using potentially dangerous chemicals.
“There is still a perception that the stronger it smells, the better it works, the stronger the bleach, the more it will kill the germs,” Liz Harriman, deputy director of UMass Lowell’s Toxics Use Reduction Institute, said Thursday.

The work done in TURI’s labs taking on renewed urgency in recent weeks after two chemical reaction incidents in the Boston area.

On Nov. 7, Ryan Baldera, 32, died after he was exposed to a dangerous chemical reaction at the Burlington Buffalo Wild Wings, where he worked as general manager.

Then, earlier this week, three were taken to the hospital as a precaution after a chemical reaction forced the evacuation of a Red Robin in Woburn.

“Very sad, there is no reason that sort of thing should happen today,” Harriman said. “It certainly wakes up everyone that there is something that needs to be done.”

Inside the TURI lab, researchers and students work to create and test less dangerous cleaning solutions.

“What we have been doing over the years is validating those products that come out on the market now are as effective, if not more effective, than more traditional hazardous solvents,” said Dr. Jason Marshall, TURI’s lab director. “We have helped, on the industrial side, we have helped companies replace thousands of pounds of hazardous materials. On the consumer side, the households side, we have educated a lot of people on finding safer alternatives.”

The goal here is to show, not tell, those who need cleaning supplies that there are alternatives that don’t sacrifice quality or effectiveness.

“The alternatives that are out there are safer to the people who have to handle them everyday,” Marshall said. “They are safer for the environment when they get disposed of.”

Through the years, the lab has found traction. But there is still work to be done.

“There is clearly a need for better training, and better education, and hopefully, we can save lives down the road,” Harriman said.

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No player has scored 130 points in an NHL season since Mario Lemieux and Jaromír Jágr each achieved the feat for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1995-96. When they reached the milestone, the all-time greats became just the fourth pair of linemates — and the only pair of linemates that didn’t include a guy named Wayne Gretzky — to score 130 points or more in the same season in NHL history. Gretzky and Jari Kurri were the first pair to do it in 1984-85, when they scored 208 and 135 points, respectively, for the Edmonton Oilers; Gretzky and Kurri were arguably better the following season, when they scored 215 and 131 points, again for the Oilers. And in his first season after being traded away from the Oilers, Gretzky and Los Angeles Kings linemate Bernie Nicholls scored 168 and 150 points, respectively.1

Scoring 130 or more points in an NHL season is obviously difficult enough — it’s only been accomplished 49 times, and by just 23 players. Gretzky did it 13 times, Lemieux did it six times, Phil Esposito did it four times, Marcel Dionne did it three times — and no one else did it more than twice. Two linemates scoring 130 points or more in the same season is therefore vanishingly rare — and there have never been two teams with two linemates scoring 130 points or more in league history.

But that may change by the end of this season, especially if Brad Marchand and David Pastrňák in Boston and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in Edmonton have their say.

At the moment, Marchand and Pastrňák are on pace for 133 and 130 points, while McDavid and Draisaitl are on pace for 149 and 146 points, according to Hockey-Reference.com’s adjusted points totals.2 There is a lot of hockey left to play — the Bruins and Oilers each have more than 50 games remaining on their schedules — but none of the four players has showed any sign of slowing down to this point: Each player has scored a point or more in at least 74 percent of the games he’s played.

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The lesson of the past decade for Capitals fans is that sometimes it really is all worth it.

All of the heartache, the devastating playoff losses, the times you gave up and figured it would never happen during the Alex Ovechkin era, was wiped away with the incredible Stanley Cup playoff run in 2018.

Even 18 months later the high has barely worn off. Ovechkin is within striking distance of 700 career goals. He and Nicklas Backstrom just played their 900th game together last week. As a new decade approaches, the Capitals again have the best record in the NHL. A fourth Presidents’ Trophy is within reach and more memories are on the horizon.

Maybe it’s the Cup, but it’s easier to look back upon the past 10 years with some grace now. The shocking 2010 first-round loss to Montreal still stings. So does the image of Ovechkin sitting, shattered, at his locker after playoff exits to Tampa Bay in 2011 (second round) and against the Rangers in 2012 (second round) and 2013 and 2015 (second). And, of course, the back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy seasons ended by the Penguins in the second round of the 2016 and 2017 postseasons.

Maybe you’ll always wonder if there should be multiple Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters at Capital One Arena the way they do in Chicago and Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. But they can’t take away the one hanging there.

The past 10 years began with the height of the Young Guns era when Ovechkin and Backstrom and Mike Green and Alex Semin led Bruce Boudreau’s high-flying, entertaining teams. They began the decade in January 2010 with 14 consecutive wins, stomping teams nightly. It was pure fun, a jolt of energy in an otherwise dreary sports landscape where the Redskins and Wizards stunk and the Nationals were the worst team in baseball.

That streak finally culminated in the iconic Snowvechkin weekend. A blizzard dropped upwards of 30 inches on the D.C. area on Feb. 5-6, 2010. The Capitals played two games that weekend: A 5-2 Friday night win against the then-Atlanta Thrashers when the snow began and the 5-4 overtime win against the Penguins on NBC as the city dug out on Super Bowl Sunday. Down 4-1, Ovechkin scored twice and Mike Knuble had the OT winner. Not even the Montreal loss can take away that memory.

The decade was full of moments like that. The Winter Classic in 2011 when an estimated 25,000 Capitals fans proved once and for all the city had fallen for its hockey team. They made the drive up to Pittsburgh and saw Washington take a 3-1 win in the drizzling rain at Heinz Field. The highway was crowded with cars sporting Capitals decals and flags on the ride back to D.C. the next day. The 2015 Winter Classic held at Nationals Park against the Chicago Blackhawks. The outdoor game at the Naval Academy during the 2018 Cup year against the Toronto Maple Leafs might have been most fun of all.

There were ups and downs over the years. Boudreau was the rumpled everyman whose teams took on his personality, but that group had run its course by the end of 2011. Capitals great Dale Hunter took over. The team changed. The up-and-down hockey was replaced by a nightly coin flip. Keep it close and hope the results fall in your favor.

Joel Ward’s stunning Game 7 goal at T.D. Garden on April 25, 2012 lifted the Capitals to a first-round series win against the defending champion Boston Bruins. Alas, two weeks later the coin landed on the other side in Game 7 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, a 2-1 loss to end the season and Hunter’s brief tenure.

If playoff success was elusive, Ovechkin provided plenty of “I was there” moments. He scored goals No. 500 in 2016 and No. 600 in 2018 at home . He won a third Hart Trophy in 2012-13. After a mid-career lull that saw him once drop to 32 goals, he topped 50 goals four more times during the decade and hit 49 another time for good measure. He became the all-time leader in points by a Russian player last season, surpassing his hero and former teammate Sergei Fedorov.

The Capitals have the most wins in the decade (464) by three over their rivals from Pittsburgh (461). They have the most points (1,018). The Penguins are second (1,002) there, too. Of course, Pittsburgh won two Cups in the past 10 years. That will always be the Penguins’ trump card.

When Washington missed the playoffs in 2014-15 it looked like the Ovechkin era might be fading. But owner Ted Leonsis made a tough call. He didn’t renew the contract of general manager George McPhee, the architect of all that winning. He and hand-picked coach Adam Oates were gone. Brian MacLellan, McPhee’s chief lieutenant, took over as GM because he confidently identified the issues holding the Capitals back and was willing to gamble to fix them.

MacLellan hired Barry Trotz, who was the first experienced NHL coach Washington had in the Ovechkin era. He’d been working wonders with undermanned teams in Nashville for 15 years. MacLellan then paid for two experienced defensemen in Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen in free agency that first summer of 2014.

A year later, after another gutting Game 7 playoff loss to the Rangers, MacLellan traded for winger T.J. Oshie and signed veteran Stanley Cup wizard Justin Williams. They arrived just as homegrown players like Braden Holtby, Evgeny Kuznetsov, John Carlson, Tom Wilson, Dmitry Orlov, Jay Beagle, Marcus Johansson, Philipp Grubauer and Andre Burakovsky were either thriving or growing into bigger NHL roles.

The Capitals had to say goodbye to some familiar faces. Other than Ovechkin, no one epitomized those Young Gun era teams more than defenseman Mike Green. But he was a free agent in 2015 and they let him go. Brooks Laich, who predated even Ovechkin as the main piece in the 2004 Peter Bondra trade, was traded in 2016 just as Washington was headed for another Presidents’ Trophy. Karl Alzner, a mainstay since he was the fifth pick in the 2007 draft, departed via free agency after the crushing 2017 loss to Pittsburgh.

Players like Knuble and Ward, who teamed up for the game-winning goal in that 2012 Boston series, came and went. Troy Brouwer (2011-2015) did the same. He was traded for Oshie a few months after scoring the game-winning goal against the Blackhawks in the Winter Classic game at Nationals Park. Matt Hendricks became a folk hero as a scrap heap pickup who was a key fourth liner – and surprising shootout specialist – for three years from 2010-2013. Jason Chimera arrived in 2009 and raced his way up and down the ice for seven seasons from 2009 to 2016. \

MacLellan’s moves almost all worked. The Capitals were a better overall team in 2015-2017 than they’d been with the run-and-gun group early in the decade or the veteran group they morphed into through Hunter and Oates’ three seasons and then Trotz’s arrival.

Trotz could be demanding, but he was a steady hand with an experienced staff of assistant coaches. And Washington continued to develop young players like 2013 first-round pick Jakub Vrana, who scored the first goal in the Game 5 Cup clincher against Vegas.

Just when it looked like it really was all over, after Alzner and Williams and Johansson and promising young defenseman Nate Schmidt departed in the summer of 2017 through free agency and the expansion draft, the Capitals found some magic.

Midway through that following season they somehow put their grief behind them. They won the Metropolitan Division for the third year in a row. And, finally, they got some luck in the playoffs. Columbus hits a post in overtime of Game 3 already up 2-0 in a first-round series. Lars Eller, another veteran player MacLellan brought in to fix a hole in the lineup, scored instead.

Eller was acquired as a third-line center, but he proved more than that filling in for an injured Backstrom in a top-six role against Pittsburgh in the second round and Tampa Bay early in the Eastern Conference Final. His eventual winning goal in the Stanley Cup Final clincher will stand for all time. Michal Kempny was on the ice for that goal. His acquisition at the trade deadline from Chicago, where he was buried in a limited role, solidified the blueline at the perfect time. He’s become a key part of their continued success.

Brett Connolly’s initial shot was the one that slipped past Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury so that Eller could sneak in and slam it home. Connolly was more MacLellan magic. He gave the former first-round pick a third chance after Tampa Bay and Boston gave up on him. Connolly arrived the same year as Eller, in 2016, made the team and increased his career-best point totals from 23 to 27 to 46. He had 52 goals in three seasons – and six more during the Cup run – before leaving for a bigger role in Florida last summer.

Nor will Capitals fans forget the unsung heroes of that championship spring, which ended with players swimming in fountains and partying with fans across the city. Devante Smith-Pelly and Alex Chiasson and Nathan Walker and Travis Boyd all contributed to that title. Only Boyd remains from that group.

Maybe the Cup helped ease the pain from all those losses, made those years seem better than they felt back then. But it’s more likely that even without that banner, time alone would have done that. It would be difficult to toss aside all that winning, all those personalities, all those memories even if 2018 hadn’t happened.

Fans got to see one of the greatest players ever in Ovechkin, a trusty future Hall-of-Fame sidekick in Backstrom, a Vezina Trophy winner in Holtby, a dynamic defenseman in Green, a world-class talent in Kuznetsov.

Carlson is the early favorite for the Norris Trophy this season. Oshie is wildly popular, a U.S. Olympic hero with ridiculous skill who can also slam beers through his t-shirt. So is Wilson, the bruising winger hated in so many other NHL cities for his physical play who has tempered his image as a brash goon by becoming a legitimate top-six player.

It will all come to an end at some point, of course. Ovechkin will retire and most of the core players will depart. Maybe the Capitals can extend this run well into the next decade, but at some point management will make mistakes it can’t fix, stars will age, new prospects won’t materialize.

When that finally happens, when the Stanley Cup playoffs become a pipe dream and dreary, dull, losing hockey is played before half-interested crowds, the magnitude of this past decade will stick with those who got to see it all in person. A fan can still enjoy the game under those circumstances, keep an eye on a young hotshot prospect – maybe the next Backstrom or Carlson or Holtby – and hope for a better future.

But, inevitably, the eye at some point will wander toward the rafters, where the Stanley Cup banner hangs along with ones for Presidents’ Trophies and division titles and retired numbers, a reminder of happy, youthful days that passed so quickly but linger still.

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A virus swept through the Ducks’ dressing room, leaving team captain Ryan Getzlaf in such rough shape that coach Dallas Eakins kicked him off the ice during Friday’s practice at Prudential Center. Getzlaf’s availability for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders was uncertain.

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It could create a difficult challenge for the Ducks when they face one of the NHL’s top teams.

Or it could create an opportunity for one of their young players.

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The Ducks didn’t recall Isac Lundestrom from their AHL team in San Diego to sit in the press box munching popcorn while his teammates actually play the games. They summoned Lundestrom, a 20-year-old rookie center, to the NHL to learn, to grow, to contribute and to play a vital role.

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“Lundestrom has been really solid down there,” Eakins said of his play in San Diego, where he’s had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 21 games. “He’s played well. I thought he was one of our better forwards, if not our two or three best forwards the other night.”

Eakins referred to the Ducks’ 3-1 loss Wednesday to the New Jersey Devils. Lundestrom played 18:37 after playing Tuesday for the Gulls in a shootout loss to Grand Rapids in San Diego, then awaking early to fly cross country to join the Ducks only a few hours before they faced the Devils.

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Lundestrom skated with fellow Swedes Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg to start Wednesday’s game and was credited with two shots, one that was on target and one that was blocked. Lundestrom won five of nine faceoffs (56 percent).

“His first look this time around has been a very favorable one,” Eakins said. “Again, (Friday) in practice, really, really good. He’s detailed. He’s competitive. He was executing. So, he’s earning everything he’s getting right now. This isn’t just a given.”

No question, Lundestrom and Max Jones, a 21-year-old left wing, might be with Gulls rather than with the Ducks if not for injuries to right wing Troy Terry and center Derek Grant earlier this week. The Ducks needed help and Lundestrom and Jones were recalled from San Diego.

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Terry, 22, is another young player who had earned a significant role with the Ducks. He’s expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks after breaking his fibula right below his right kneecap following a knee-to-knee hit from Nicolas Aube-Kubel of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Lundestrom played 15 games with the Ducks last season, after they selected him on the first round of the 2018 draft (23rd overall). He also played 12 games with the Gulls before returning to play with Lulea in his native Sweden, then returning to play seven games in the AHL playoffs.

Eakins certainly was impressed during his limited time with Lundestrom in San Diego. Eakins coached the Gulls for four seasons before the Ducks hired him to be their coach, after Randy Carlyle was fired last February and general manager Bob Murray assumed the coaching duties himself.

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“As much as we would have liked to have had him in San Diego or with the Ducks last year, he did go play in a man’s league,” Eakins said of Lundestrom’s decision to play in Sweden last season. “That Swedish league isn’t some kids’ league. It’s a very, very good league.

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What does Eakins like most about Lundestrom?
“He’s got really good habits,” Eakins said. “Like, real good pro habits. Sometimes it takes guys a while to develop that when they’re that age. He already has them. To me, the good pros are the ones who come in every day and they do everything that’s been required and then do more.

“Take practice, it’s not just, ‘OK, I’m out here practicing,’” Eakins said. “There’s a compete level. There’s an execution level that not only are we looking for, but the player has his own standards, as well. We can ask, we can push, we can pull as a staff, but it always comes down to what are your standards? What are your self-imposed standards?

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“His standards are high.”

The New Jersey Devils are one of the worst teams in the league, both from a standings perspective and a shot metrics perspective. What many believed was the team that won the offseason last summer have now fired their coach they extended last year and have traded their best player, Taylor Hall, to the Arizona Coyotes. It makes sense that, given the good overall play of the Anaheim Ducks in recent weeks, that the Ducks should win this game.

I’m here to tell you that dreams are meaningless and wins in hockey are apparently a myth.

The Ducks dropped the second game of their back-to-back last night by a score of 3-1. While they weren’t as dominant as they were in Philadelphia the night before, they certainly played a better game than the Devils did. Unfortunately, the continuing theme of not being able to finish their chances and isolated defensive and goaltending lapses meant that Anaheim wasn’t able to turn the run of play into a win.

Before the game, fans received news that Troy Terry would be out with a broken bone below the kneecap for 10 weeks, Derek Grant (somehow the Ducks’ 5th leading scorer) would miss 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, and Jacob Larsson would be day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury. While the loss of these players certainly hurts, they’re not exactly the difference between the lottery and playoffs.

The only Ducks goal of the game came on a perfectly executed 2 on 0 rush from a completely blown breakout by the Devils. Ondrej Kase got in on goaltender McKenzie Blackwood and fed a perfect cross ice pass to Adam Henrique who one-timed it into the open net, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead in the first period.

That would be it for the offense, however, as the second period saw Michael Del Zotto cause a turnover for Jesper Bratt who delivered it to former first overall pick Nico Hischier streaking towards the net for the goal and the 1-1 tie game.

The Devils took the lead later in the period when former Duck Kyle Palmieri pulled it in and used Fowler as a screen while taking advantage of Miller being off his angle. While Miller didn’t see the puck, that’s a goal he probably wasn’t thrilled about, as a shot from the circles at that distance should be covered by proper positioning.

The Devils put the nail in the coffin in the third period on a goal from none other than Sami Vatanen in a night where all but one of the goal scorers for both sides formerly played for their opponent. Vatanen’s point shot deflected off of Korbinian Holzer and past Miller, essentially icing the game for the Ducks.

Up next: The Ducks continue their road trip against the New York Islanders at 10 AM PST on Saturday.