After months of waiting, the big day in Ann Arbor, Mich., is almost here. On Wednesday morning the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will face off in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS), and it should be an amazing scene in an amazing building.
When it comes to outdoor games, of course the biggest concern is almost always going to be the weather. Sometimes that can affect the game like the rain did in Pittsburgh three years ago and it will certainly impact players, but personally, that's what I love about games like this. I like the fact that it's not going to be perfect. I like the fact that there might be snow, and that you'll see guys with cold breath coming out of their mouths and steam coming off their heads. Those are the images that make the event. It's not perfect. It's not controllable. That's what makes this so exciting compared to a regular-season NHL game.
Every building in the League is exactly the same now. They all hold 20,000 people, they're all bright, they all have the same-sized rink and they all have good ice. When the Leafs and Wings take the ice at Michigan Stadium, it won't be controllable and there will be elements the players aren't used to. That's what makes it so great.