Winter Classic Update

We are just three weeks away from one of the most spectacular events to ever be held in Buffalo, New York.  The Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Bills teamed up with the NHL to make a spectacular event that will be played on New Years Day 2008.  The anticipation is building and everyone is growing more and more excited.  They had an NHL exec. on the Versus telecast last night talking about it and that makes the anticipation begin.

There are a couple of tidbits coming from Sabres.com to wet your whistle regarding this amazing event.  The first is a story on how the equipment managers need to be prepared even more than they would be for a regular NHL contest.

"We had some (hats) for the players, but for before and after, obviously not during the game because they wouldn’t fit under their helmet," Gervais said. "Jose came to the bench and said; ‘I feel the cold on the top of my head.’ So, we decided to put that toque on. We used double-faced tape so it would stick on there."

Gervais, a 10-year vet of the NHL equipment wars, insists that there was no pre-planned agenda with the toque.

"Nobody ever thought about it," Gervais said. "At the moment, we had to do everything possible to make him comfortable to play the game. So, we just stuck the toque on and it became so famous. They sold how many toques? That’s kind of funny. But nobody ever really thought about it at the time."

If you remember the game being played that is probably your most vivid memory of that game.  Unfortunately I did not have "Center Ice" at the time, if it was even available so I relied on ESPN for my highlights and the image of Theodore in the toque is all I remember.

The second is regarding Ryan Miller who played in "The Cold War" between the Michigan State Spartans and the Michigan Wolverines.  Ryan Miller was the goalie for Michigan State at the time which means that he has more experience in this environment than any other player who will play in the contest except the Pittsburgh Penguins Adam Hall who was Miller's teammate with Michigan State.  

"I just remember the crowd and how overwhelming it was to be in front of that many people in that environment," Miller said. "It was pretty wild and pretty interesting. After that, you understand why football players are always pumped up. You know, 75,000 people is a lot of energy. And they were all focused on hockey."

It will be interesting to say the least when there are 70,000 plus fans cheering for both teams and even more so for the event.

"I thought the glass was going to be tall enough to block the wind," Hall said. "But it wasn’t. If the wind was behind you, you just felt like you had somebody behind you just pushing you along and giving you an extra burst of speed. Then, the next period, you are going into the wind and it felt like your feet were in quicksand."

This will be an interesting aspect of the game because the NHL chose two of the faster teams to play in this game in order to showcase the sport.  In one direction it will be the fastest NHL game ever while going in the other direction it will be the complete opposite.

What are your thoughts on the Winter Classic...good idea, bad idea...have you ever been to an outdoor game like this?  Let me know in the comments I am interested to hear.

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