Antelope Valley Press

NHL Winter Classic is going back to Wrigley Field for Blues at Blackhawks


CHICAGO — The NHL Winter Classic is going back to Wrigley Field.

The league announced Wednesday night that the Chicago Blackhawks will host the St. Louis Blues at the iconic ballpark for the next edition of one of hockey’s marquee events. The second Winter Classic was played at the home of baseball’s Chicago Cubs on Jan. 1, 2009.

The date for the Blues-Blackhawks game was not announced. There are three College Football Playoff quarterfin­als scheduled for Jan. 1, so the NHL could stage the event on another day in search of a bigger TV audience.

The Kraken beat the Vegas Golden Knights 3-0 in this year’s Winter Classic at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park.

Chicago has struggled this season, but Connor Bedard is one of the NHL’s young stars. The 18-year-old center is out with a broken jaw, but the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games.

The Blackhawks are hosting the Winter Classic for the third time and playing in their fifth one overall. They are still looking for their first win in the event.

Chicago lost 6-4 to Detroit in 2009 at Wrigley. It lost 3-2 to Washington at Nationals Park on Jan. 1, 2015, and 4-1 to St. Louis at Busch Stadium on Jan. 2, 2017. It last played in the Winter Classic in 2019, falling 4-2 to Boston at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Blackhawks also have played outdoors twice as part of the NHL Stadium Series. They beat Pittsburgh 5-1 at Soldier Field on March 1, 2014, and lost 6-1 to Minnesota on Feb. 21, 2016.

Wrigley Field is joining Boston’s Fenway Park as the only venues to host multiple Winter Classics. Fenway hosted the 2010 and 2023 games.

St. Louis is playing in the Winter Classic for the third time. In addition to the 2017 game against Chicago, it beat Minnesota 6-4 on Jan. 1, 2022, at Target Field. Santa Anita postpones Friday’s card in wake of historic rains in Southern California

ARCADIA — Santa Anita has postponed Friday’s nine-race card to give time for horses to return to a normal routine after training was suspended since last weekend.

Regular training will resume Friday and racing will be held Saturday. This Friday’s races will be run on Feb. 15.

“We got over 10 inches of rain since Sunday afternoon, but the forecast looking forward is very good,” said Nate Newby, the track’s general manager. “We’re confident that the main

track and the turf course, especially with the improved drainage that was installed last year, will be in excellent condition ready when racing resumes on Saturday.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. wins record $19.9 million in salary arbitratio­n against Toronto Blue Jays

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Vladimir Guerrero Jr. won a record $19.9 million in salary arbitratio­n on Wednesday when a three-person panel picked his request rather than the Toronto Blue Jays’ $18.05 million offer.

Scott Buchheit, Walt De Treux and Jeanne Charles made the decision a day after listening to arguments. Players have a 6-2 lead in hearings this year with 10 cases pending.

Guerrero topped the previous high awarded from a hearing — the $14 million Seattle outfielder Teoscar Hernández received after he lost last year.

A three-time All-Star first baseman, Guerrero hit .264 with 26 homers and 94 RBIs last year, when he had a $14.5 million salary. He is eligible for free agency after the 2025 season.

A son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, the younger Guerrero turns 25 next month. He has a .279 average with 130 homers and 404 RBIs in five seasons with the Blue Jays.

Guerrero’s best season was in 2021, when he tied for the major league lead with 48 home runs and hit .311 with 111 RBIs. He earned a Gold Glove in 2022 and won last year’s All-Star Home Run Derby at Seattle, matching the feat of his father in 2007 at San Francisco.

Utilityman J.D. Davis went to a hearing Wednesday, asking for a raise from $4.21 million to $6.9 million rather than the San Francisco Giants’ $6.55 million offer. A decision by Joshua Gordon, Margaret Brogan and Brian Keller is expected Thursday.

Davis hit .248 with 18 homers and 69 RBIs last year in his first full season with the Giants, who obtained him from the New York Mets on Aug. 2, 2022. A third baseman, first baseman and outfielder, Davis is eligible for free agency after this year’s World Series.

Jets’ Brenden Dillon suspended 3 games for a hit to the head of the Penguins’ Noel Acciari

NEW YORK — Winnipeg Jets defenseman Brenden Dillon has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Noel Acciari, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced Wednesday after a disciplina­ry hearing.

Dillon hit Acciari in the head with his left shoulder four minutes into the second period of the teams’ game Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. Dillon was given a match penalty and ejected, while Acciari left the game because of an injury and did not return.

“He’s doing OK but being evaluated right now,” coach Mike Sullivan said of Acciari after his team’s 3-0 win. “Our major concern is Noel and his health.”

Dillion will forfeit $60,938 in salary and miss upcoming games at Philadelph­ia and at home against Pittsburgh and San Jose. It’s his second career suspension after getting one game for slashing in 2017 while with the Sharks.

The league in a video explaining the length of the ban said head contact was avoidable. While the 5-foot-10 Acciari was bent forward, the league determined he did not change the placement of his head in the seconds prior to the hit from Dillon, who’s 6-foot-4.

“Dillon chooses an angle of approach that cuts across the front of Acciari’s body, missing his core and picking his head,” the league said. “If Dillon wants to deliver this hit, he must choose an angle that hits through Acciari’s shoulder and core, rather than one that makes the head the main point of contact.”

Nick Saban joining ESPN’s ‘College GameDay’ road show

Nick Saban is joining ESPN’s “College

GameDay,” the long-running Saturday pregame road show he appeared on as a guest so frequently during his 17 seasons as Alabama coach.

The network announced Wednesday that Saban will be an on-set analyst for “GameDay,” joining host Rece Davis and regulars Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and Pat McAfee.

Saban, 72, retired last month, ending a 28-year career in college coaching that included seven national championsh­ips. He won six titles with Alabama and one with LSU.

“ESPN and College GameDay have played such an important role in the growth of college football, and I’m honored to have the opportunit­y to join their team,” Saban said in a statement. “I’ll do my best to offer additional insights and perspectiv­es to contribute to College GameDay, the ultimate Saturday tradition for college football fans.”

The network said Saban will also be part of ESPN’s NFL draft coverage and make appearance­s at SEC Media Days in July. His first assignment will be announced at a later date, according to the network.

Heat forward Haywood Highsmith involved in car crash, not with team Wednesday

MIAMI — Haywood Highsmith of the Miami Heat was away from the team Wednesday, one day after he was involved in a car crash where others were injured, the team said.

The incident happened after Miami’s game against Orlando on Tuesday night. The Heat listed Haywood out for Wednesday’s game against San Antonio for personal reasons.

“Our hearts go out to those who were injured,” the team said in a news release.

Highsmith was not injured, and there was no listing in the Miami-Dade court system of any charges being filed in relation to the crash. A request to police officials for any incident reports related to the crash was not immediatel­y answered.

Highsmith is averaging 5.8 points this season for the Heat.

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