Big crowd planned at Big House

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke called it "Hockeytown vs. the Center of the Hockey Universe."

As reported by the Star Tribune in November, Red Wings-Leafs at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., will take place next New Year's Day in front of possibly 115,000.

"The league asked me if we could sell 40,000 tickets and I said give us 48 hours," Burke said. "The league asked me if we could sell 50,000 tickets and I said give us 72 hours."

Most cool about the event may be the Winter Festival at Comerica Park in Detroit. It should provide a sneak preview of what the Wild hopes to do when it eventually lands a game. That rink will feature youth games, high-school games, sled-hockey games, AHL games, OHL games and college games.

A different point of view

Sabres coach Lindy Ruff broke three ribs when accidentally taken out in practice by former Gophers defenseman Jordan Leopold.

He watched the next game from the press box as assistant James Patrick manned the bench. Asked about the change of perspective, Ruff said, "I see why you guys are so critical."

Finally figuring it out

In Chris Phillips' 1,000th game for Ottawa, the 1996 first overall pick scored his first two goals of the season, including the winner, against Nashville on Thursday.

"To be in my 1,000th game and then top it off with a couple of goals and it ends up being the game winner, you can't write that stuff," Phillips said. "It just took me 1,000 games to find my offensive side of the game."