It looks like more people will be able to see, or not see, the Winter Classic at Ralph Wilson Stadium. If you don't know what the Winter Classic is, welcome back to the real world, it is a game featuring the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins that will be played outdoors at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.
WGR - Sports Radio 550 has learned that the Sabres will make 4,500 obstructed view seats available to the public. Fans will have to register for an on-line random drawing to have the opportunity to buy seats.
I'm sorry to say it but even though I really want to be there and so far it looks like I'll be shutout, I will not shell out money for seats that you can't see from. The price of the tickets is going to be like $10 but why go freeze to watch the game on TV? I guess you could always watch the game on the gigantic HD scoreboard in the Ralph and say you were there.
In addition, both the Sabres and the Penguins will wear throwback jerseys during the game. The Sabres will wear their original whites, while the Penguins will sport the uniforms they entered the league in...light blue.
Now this is really cool...I always loved the Sabres home whites...the Penguins blue jerseys aren't bad either.
In other Sabres news...Lindy Ruff held a press conference after practice today to talk about injuries and the state of the league. He addressed a number of different issues and updated the status of Nolan Pratt and Jaro Spacek, who both appear to be day-to-day.
I found this particular question to be interesting...
Q: Do you think it’s particularly tough for your group of players to adjust to where it seems the league has been going. They have had so much success the last two years as a wheeling and dealing, high-scoring team. It seems like the league is changing back to what it was before that success was here.
LR: I think all indications are pointing toward that. Look around the league at the good goal scorers in the league. A lot of good goal scorers have two, three, four goals. A lot of good players aren’t ripping it up. I think the tendency seems to be going toward that again. A: The discipline in the game is a lot better. You don’t see as many sticks on people. You almost have to look hard to get a stick on somebody.
On rare occasions you’ll have those nights where you will see five or six [penalties]. I think you’ve seen where our discipline has gone, from where it was very poor for a couple games to when we had a game where we didn’t take a penalty. We’ve had a couple games where it’s only been two penalties and that’s been eliminating the free hand and keeping your stick off people. Less power plays [means] less special teams [and] less scoring opportunities.
It seems that the "new rules" (truly just an enforcement of the old rules) worked to increase offense for awhile but now the coaches have figured out a new way to stop offenses. It would seem that the Sabres window of opportunity may have closed because they are not a team built geared towards the pre-lockout NHL. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the season progresses and what changes will be made to get scoring up again in the NHL.