Classic ice draws an A-OK from Craig

‘“It felt good,” said Craig. “Had a good feel to it, a good base to it. It was more for me just to get out there and get a feel for the atmosphere itself as much as the ice. There are a couple little zones in my mind that I wanted to make sure were fine, in front of one of the nets – the other night we had the rain and the wind and I put a little something there that I wanted, to make sure we were as solid as I thought we should be, and everything is good right now.”’

Quinn: We’re tough people in Buffalo

‘”We did a lot of smart things to make tickets more affordable,” Quinn said. “One thing we realized was that we had season-ticket holders sitting next to people who bought much cheaper tickets through promotions. We needed to find a way to build value into being a season-ticket holder, so we made a promise that season-ticket holders would never be undersold through promotions. We wanted to reward the fans who were the most loyal.”‘

They’re gonna drive the Zamboni

‘“Your original thought is there are going to be about 18,000 people looking at it, but this time it looks like 82 million people are going to be looking at it,” Bender told NHL.com. “It will be a little bit different as far as a viewing audience. Hopefully, I don’t choke when I’m driving.”’

Joe Crozier ready for Winter Classic

‘”I told you I’ve had a wonderful life in hockey,” Crozier said. “I’ve told them here four times that maybe I should quit and they ask me to keep working, if I want to. I talk about all those old hockey players that none of the young kids remember, but I also love to watch young players like Sidney Crosby, a nice hockey player, and that young man playing for the Oshawa Generals, John Tavares. It’s so nice to know that those types of people are carrying the load now. It’s nice to know that we have young guys like that, here now or coming up soon, who will be great hockey players for many years to come.”‘

Monday’s Rochester Coverage

Amerks shooters go missing in 4-0 loss (Rochester D&C)

Stewart a busy hockey player (Rochester D&C)

Amerk to visit Webster library (Rochester D&C)

Sestito comes up big as Crunch dumps Amerks (Syracuse Post Standard)

Amerks Shutout Again (RNews.com)

Rochester held scoreless by Crunch (Amerks.com)

Stewart, MacArthur returned to Amerks (Amerks.com)

Crunch Wrap Up the Year with a Win (SyracuseCrunch.com)

Amerks’ Funk working toward NHL dream (LetsGoSabres.com)

Amerks mired in slump for the month of December (LetsGoSabres.com)

NHL ice guru Dan Craig pulls it off yet again for NHL's second outdoor game

'"The rink itself looks fairly well ready to go," Craig allowed himself to say. "We're ready to go, let's drop the puck and play hockey."'

Miller prepares for another outdoor game, thinking of new ways to stay warm

'"I can't think of a real comfortable way otherwise," said Miller, who also played an outdoor game at Michigan State. "As a goalie, you get used to wearing your helmet a certain way. I don't know what I'm going to wear underneath that would make it feel the same and keep warm. That might be a good solution, get some of that carpet tape and tape the tuque to my helmet or something."'

A readers' guide to the Winter Classic

'There is a cartoon that depicts a man hanging upside down in a medieval torture chamber, screaming “Pain! More pain! I love it! I love it!” One of the torturers turns to an accomplice, points his thumb back at the suffering man and says, “Buffalo sports fan.”'

Rockin' Jocks

'Beginning at 7 p.m., Miller and Stafford are scheduled to team up with renowned Irish tenor and committed Sabres fan Ronan Tynan and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra during a program of Irish classics, holiday tunes and popular favorites. (Stafford’s recent head injury has him questionable to be in the “starting lineup” for tonight’s concert, and Sabres and BPO officials were unable to determine at press time if he’d make it to the stage.)'

Sabres’ offense frozen out

‘“He was pretty good tonight, but you can’t say he was great,” Roy said. “We didn’t have any scoring chances. A lot of the shots were from the outside and they were high, and he just smothered everything.”’

Winter Classic will have special rules

‘Sabres fans might be thinking, “It’s our home game, we should get some breaks.” That logic doesn’t hold true. The NHL purchased the home game from the Sabres, so it’s the league’s show.’

Party time at The Ralph

‘“What I’m thinking is everybody’s going out for New Year’s and probably not thinking tailgating, so we’re going to create a tailgate party for those arriving,” said Don Renzulli, National Hockey League senior vice president of events and entertainment.’

Enroth a Swedish sensation for Sabres

'The current Team Sweden goaltender at the World Junior Championships was drafted in the 2nd round, 46th overall and currently has other scouts scratching their heads on why they overlooked him.'

What's the point of the Winter Classic?

'Still, the underlying question through all of this is "What's the point?" There's lip service paid to things like tradition and fandom and all that good stuff, but the bottom line is that this is all a big publicity stunt for a league desperate for anything to do with TV ratings. But publicity stunts have come and gone before, and it's not like it actually accomplished anything.'

Frozen in time

‘It was followed by this quote from Wayne Gretzky: “It’s like the 1972 series. I don’t know that you can ever duplicate this. I can’t describe how magical it was. I don’t know that it could ever be special enough to be able to match this one.” Well, here we are. Now we find out.’