‘Sabres coach Lindy Ruff, not one to mince words even at a league event said: “I loved it. On breaks, I made sure to look around and take it all in, there didn’t seem to be an empty seat. I thought it was very good for the game. I may be dating myself here, but for most players (outdoors) is where it all started. I thought it was good for the game; it brought us back to our roots. It maybe wasn’t the best game (conditions) what with the snow, but the atmosphere was terrific. I’d love to do it again.”‘
Archives for January 1, 2008
‘The fans were on their feet before the pre-game warm-up to welcome the players from both teams as they made the long trek from the football dressing rooms, through the tunnel and out to the rink. The ovation sent chills, just another reminder that the biggest crowd in NHL history made this such a special day. The players could feel the moment as well, unable to wipe the smile off their faces as they battled the snow-covered ice surface in warm-up. They were kids again.’
‘Given the choice of which goal to defend, both Miller and Conklin picked the West end to avoid the heavy snow that swirled and poured in toward the right.’
‘There were 71, 217 hockey fans in attendance at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Years Day to enjoy the AMP Energy Winter Classic.’
‘Buffalo’s Ales Kotalik scored in the first round of the shootout and the Penguins tied it in the second round when Kristopher Letang lifted a backhander home. After Pittsburgh goaltender Ty Conklin stopped Maxim Afinogenov’s backhander, it came down to Crosby and the NHL’s brightest star delivered. He skated in on Ryan Miller, who went for a poke-check and missed. Crosby quickly slipped the puck through the five-hole to win it.’
‘If anyone’s in the mood for pizza, he’s got that cooking in the top shelf of an office filing cabinet. And there’s a bar set up for those interested in having a shot of Polish cherry liqueur poured out of the thumbhole of a bowling ball. “I call it my 16-pound shot glass,” Johnson said. “It actually tastes like crap. I don’t know why people drink it. But I go through 12-14 bottles of this a game.”‘
'It was gameday at the Ralph today all right, but not for the Buffalo Bills. This was Buffalo Sabres country.'
'Whether they came in pick-up trucks, school buses or stretch limos, tailgating parties – a regular occurrence at NFL games – broke out for a hockey game today in Buffalo.'
‘”This is awesome,” said Kasniak, swigging from a can of beer. “Since the Bills never do anything good, let the Sabres have their day.” Shirts, hats and other merchandise was selling quickly in tents set up around the stadium and at concession stands inside. Displays, face-painting, ice sculptures, a band — fans mulled around taking it all in before the gates opened.’
‘“That many people, it’s a lot of energy, a lot of noise and a lot of excitement out there,” Miller said. “Your job is to control yourself and do your job.”’