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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 7:47 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Van Riemsdyk creates new memories at the Big House

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Making his third appearance in the Winter Classic and his first with the Toronto Maple Leafs, forward James van Riemsdyk already had plenty of outdoor experience before Toronto beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in a shootout at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Wednesday.

It may have been van Riemsdyk's first time playing at the Big House, but it's a building he was already very familiar with before becoming an NHL player.

As a member of the United States National Team Development Program under-18 team, van Riemsdyk lived in Ann Arbor for two years. While developing the skills that would one day take him to the NHL, he attended Pioneer High School, which is located down the street from Michigan Stadium. So it was slightly surreal to prepare to play in a game at the stadium as hundreds of revelers tailgated in the Pioneer High School parking lot.


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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 6:58 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Buzzer in OT a buzz kill for Red Wings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Perhaps the outcome would have been different for Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings had they not had to change sides halfway through overtime Wednesday.

Playing in snowy, windy conditions at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium, the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs took turns skating into the wind during the overtime period. As the game clock wound down to 2:30 in the overtime session, Zetterberg poked a loose puck in the neutral zone past Maple Leafs defenseman Cody Franson and appeared to be set to go in on a breakaway.


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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 2:57 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Actor Perry enjoying Winter Classic experience

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Actor Matthew Perry is used to grand spectacles. The famous actor is accustomed to the glitz and grandiosity that can occasionally come with film premieres and award shows. Still, none of it prepared him for what he's experienced this week at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

"It's such an overload, it's too much. I don't even know the score in the game, there's too much going on," Perry said while attending the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium. "I went to the alumni game [Tuesday]. It was fun seeing those guys. A lot of them look like they haven't lost a step."

A diehard Los Angeles Kings fan, Perry is used to attending big sporting events. He was a fixture at Staples Center when the Kings enjoyed a deep playoff run that resulted in the franchise's first Stanley Cup win. But he had never been to an outdoor hockey game, so when a friend invited him to the Winter Classic this year he knew he had to experience the spectacle firsthand.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 1:34 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Alfredsson in Winter Classic lineup for Red Wings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson is playing in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday, but center Darren Helm is not. Gustav Nyquist is playing in Helm's spot.

Alfredsson's status for the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was in question because of back spasms that prevented him from playing Monday against the Nashville Predators.

Helm was a late scratch after skating in warm-ups. He reportedly has a sore groin and is day to day.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 1:11 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winter Classic a family affair for Jimmy Howard

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Since the details of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic were first announced, players on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings have been fielding numerous ticket requests from friends and family. But for Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard, the big game at Michigan Stadium will be a huge moment for his family that could potentially be made even more special after the game ends.

Howard lived in Ann Arbor while playing with the United States National Team Development Program as a teenager, so he'll have plenty of old friends in attendance. But the Big House will also host four generations of Howard's family for the Winter Classic. Howard's grandfather, James Howard I, will be in attendance, along with his father, James Howard II, and his two-year-old son, James Howard IV.

For Grandpa Howard, known as J-one among friends and family, it's an incredible event that he didn't exactly envision when the Detroit goalie was a child. A wrestling coach at Oswego State University in western New York, the eldest Howard had different plans for J-three.

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 12:36 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Tailgaters go all out for Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan is used to hosting tailgaters for Wolverines football games every year, but the Michigan Stadium grounds usually lie dormant on New Year's Day. So it was quite a scene to see the area surrounding the stadium suddenly flooded with countless hockey fans who packed up the RV, set up the grill and, in some cases, started a spirited game of floor hockey.

Clearly, it was the day of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs were just hours away from facing off.

"We have the bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, we're going to do some nice burgers and we have lots of beer," said Windsor native Sarah Kilbourne, a Detroit Lions season ticket holder who is used to spending the day tailgating. "When we're doing the Lions, we change [the menu] week by week. This week we figured let's make it easy. We did burgers, hot dogs, keep it simple."

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Posted On Wednesday, 01.01.2014 / 11:20 AM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Spectator Plaza adds ambience to Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Toronto native Neil McNeil picked up his son at a New Year's Eve party at 2:30 Wednesday morning and immediately hit the road to make the roughly five-hour drive to Michigan Stadium, anxiously awaiting the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic to watch their Toronto Maple Leafs face the Detroit Red Wings.

Little did McNeil know when he secured his tickets that the scene would be as picturesque as it was Wednesday morning, between the live music and the fan experience at Spectator Plaza, along with a light snowfall. It truly is a winter wonderland.

McNeil, who dressed appropriately and topped his outfit with a referee's bathrobe, is spending the morning simply absorbing it all. The Spectator Plaza footprint included beer and food vendors, live music and various hockey-related games.

"This is perfect," said McNeil, who works for a couple of hockey rinks in Toronto. "We were prepared for the worst, but walking around today, it's very comfortable. If this is the worst it gets, it's going to be an amazing day. Little bit of flurries, but not enough to shovel the ice too much. It really lends to the ambience. We've heard about games in the past where they were worried about the ice being soft, [but] that won't be the case today."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 8:15 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Domi enjoying retirement, start of son's career

DETROIT -- Tie Domi was a fan favorite during his playing days, when he racked up 3,515 penalty minutes in 1,020 NHL games.

Nearly eight years have passed since the 44-year-old played in the NHL, and Domi has moved on. Instead of dwelling on how much he misses the old days, he's turned his attention to his family. And while he won't be playing, Domi could find himself back in NHL rinks soon. Only this time, he'll be watching his son.

Domi is the father of 18-year-old Max Domi, who was a first-round selection (No. 12) of the Phoenix Coyotes at the 2013 NHL Draft. The 5-foot-9 center is in his third season with the London Knights in the Ontario Hockey League, where he has 46 points (18 goals, 28 assists) in 30 games this season.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:52 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Red Wings linemates enjoy reunion at alumni game

DETROIT -- The Steve Yzerman-led Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup three times in six seasons. When numerous players from those championship teams participated in an alumni game doubleheader Tuesday at Comerica Park, it was a special opportunity to revisit those winning memories.

And on a team that was known for specific line combinations, it was a unique chance to recapture some of that old chemistry.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:30 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Nieuwendyk has fun in Alumni Showdown

DETROIT -- Joe Nieuwendyk hasn't played in an NHL game since the 2006-07 season, but he was able to get the competitive juices flowing Tuesday.

Nieuwendyk represented the Toronto Maple Leafs in the second game of the Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park, where the Leafs rallied from a 5-1 deficit before suffering a 6-5 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

The 47-year-old was one of many Hall of Fame players to take the ice in the second game.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:23 PM

By Brian Compton -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

McCabe's scoring touch extends a magical day

DETROIT -- Bryan McCabe hadn't scored a goal in a competitive game since he played for the New York Rangers during the 2010-11 season, his last in the NHL.

But on Tuesday, his goal with two seconds remaining sent the second game of the Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park past regulation.

The Alumni Showdown was a big part of the festivities this week that will be capped by the 2014 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, which the Maple Leafs and Red Wings will play Wednesday in front of what is expected to be a record crowd at Michigan Stadium.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 7:06 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Detroit's Glendening shoots for outdoor doubleheader

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The New York Rangers will play two outdoor hockey games in four days next month, but Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening has a chance to do something no North American professional hockey player has ever done.

Glendening played Monday night for the defending American Hockey League champion Grand Rapids Griffins at Comerica Park against the Toronto Marlies as part of the SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival. He was officially recalled Tuesday by the Red Wings, and he is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday when Detroit faces the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET: NBC, CBC, RDS).


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 5:36 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Bernier to start in goal for Maple Leafs

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Randy Carlyle didn't want to reveal his starting goalie for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but there was a dead giveaway standing only a few feet away from the Toronto Maple Leafs coach during his post-practice press conference Tuesday.

Jonathan Bernier was waiting to talk to the media, but he also felt the need to wait until Carlyle left the press conference area before he confirmed that he'll be the Maple Leafs starter against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on Wednesday.

"Let's wait until Randy leaves," Bernier said laughing. "Yeah, I found out before practice so obviously it's great. It's great that he gave me the nod and being part of this whole history, it's pretty amazing."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 4:50 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Red Wings hopeful Alfredsson will be a go

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Daniel Alfredsson skated with the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday at Michigan Stadium, one day after missing a game with back spasms and one day before the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Alfredsson joined his teammates on the ice for the an early afternoon workout, but left the stadium without speaking to reporters.

"I'm sure he'll wake up tomorrow morning and make a decision," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. "He's got some spasms. It is nothing significant. Hopefully he feels better tomorrow and he's ready to go.

"We're hoping he's going to play."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 4:18 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Berenson excited for Red Wings' Glendening

DETROIT -- When the Detroit Red Wings revealed Tuesday they had called up forward Luke Glendening one day before the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, few people were more excited for the 24-year-old than his former coach at the University of Michigan, Red Berenson.

"Luke is a tremendous kid. They've brought him up and down and he's played 16 games for the Wings," Berenson said. "He's a role player, he knows his role. He's excited to be there. I'm excited for him."

After playing Monday at Comerica Park for the Grand Rapids Griffins in an American Hockey League game against the Toronto Marlies, Glendening is now poised to play in his second outdoor game in three days. It's an interesting turn for a player who played in three outdoor games as a Michigan Wolverine.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Older players impress at alumni game

DETROIT -- Most of the former members of the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs who participated in the first of two alumni games Tuesday at Comerica Park aren't that far removed from their glory days. A number of them, like Detroit's Mathieu Schneider and Aaron Ward or Toronto's David Reid and Cory Cross were still in the NHL just a few years ago and were in their 40s when they took the ice the day before the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Those players only a few years removed from their time in the League were particularly impressed by the performances from the older players participating in the alumni game.

Doug Favell, 68, started in net for the Maple Leafs alumni and occasionally showed impressive flashes of quickness. In perhaps the game's most surreal moment, Detroit opened the scoring when Favell allowed a goal by defenseman Jiri Fischer, who retired prematurely due to a heart condition and is 35 years Favell's junior.

"That was awesome, seeing Doug out there with the pads," Maple Leafs goaltender Peter Ing said. "I thought someone would lob one at the net, but the first one was a heater. I felt for him."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 3:14 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Red Wings' Miller sees irony in locker room placement

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Drew Miller spent three years as a player at Michigan State University. His brother, Ryan, was also a Spartan and one of the school’s two Hobey Baker Award winners.

Miller and fellow Michigan State alum Justin Abdelkader are in an interesting position this week as their Detroit Red Wings prepare for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday at Michigan Stadium against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

He was in a really interesting position Tuesday when the Red Wings practiced at the Big House. Detroit is using the Michigan football locker room, and Miller is using one of the lockers that honors some of the great Wolverines players in program history.

"It is one of the legends ones or whatever, Desmond Howard," Miller said. "I guess it was just by chance of how the numbers went in order around the room. We were on the Fathers' Trip when I got a text from one of the equipment guys who stayed back here and he showed me a picture of it on the text.

"I said, 'Burn the stall and put me in a folding chair.' I'm just joking. It is a situation where you put all that rivalry stuff aside and make the most of it. It is such an unique situation. You put all that other stuff aside."


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 12:57 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Marquee names expected for alumni doubleheader

DETROIT -- With so many former Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings players looking to participate in the 2013 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown, preceding the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1, fans will be treated to a rare doubleheader. Comerica Park will host back-to-back alumni games Tuesday, with each game featuring a variety of notable names from Red Wings and Maple Leafs history.

In the first game at 1:25 p.m., Detroit will be represented by a number of names from the recent past. Among them will be forwards Martin Lapointe, Pat Verbeek, Mike Sillinger and Petr Klima. The defense for the Red Wings will be bolstered by several Stanley Cup winners, including Steve Duchesne, Aaron Ward, Mathieu Schneider and Mathieu Dandenault. In a unique twist to the game, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who played three games with Detroit during the 1983-84 season, is expected to appear in net alongside Kevin Hodson and Eddie Mio.

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 12:32 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Record number of tickets sold to 2014 Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins said Tuesday that the League has sold a record 105,500 tickets to the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The League expects to set a record for attendance at a hockey game Wednesday when the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs square off at Michigan Stadium.

The current attendance record for a hockey game is 104,173, which was set at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11, 2010 for The Big Chill at the Big House. A representative from Guinness World Records will be on hand Wednesday to verify the attendance at the Winter Classic to determine if the NHL beats The Big Chill record for attendance.

The tickets sold would suggest the NHL will break the record, but Collins is not ready to say that for sure.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 11:44 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Ice crew handles fresh snow, prepares for even more

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After a couple of days with balmy temperatures and then one a little cooler, it was definitely colder and windier Tuesday morning at Michigan Stadium as NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig's crew continued to put the final touches on the ice for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic.

There was also a fresh coat of snow through the night leading into Tuesday morning, but Craig said that wasn't an issue.

"No, we've dealt with snow before," Craig said. "It just took like a four-degree drop between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. That's what threw us a little. We had the heaters set on a certain stage and we needed a little more juice the first thing this morning. Other than that, we're pretty good right now."

The weather forecast for the game Wednesday between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs has changed in the past 24 hours or so. It's possible more snow will fall than originally expected. It is not expected to be as windy Wednesday as it was Tuesday morning.


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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 11:36 AM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Practices, alumni games take center stage

Hockey arrives at center stage at the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Tuesday.

Both the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are in town and the rink at the University of Michigan Stadium will get its first real workout as both teams hold practice sessions and family skates here Tuesday afternoon. To add to the hockey mix, legions of alumni from both teams will take to the ice at Comerica Park for a pair of alumni games on Tuesday afternoon.

The weather appears to be perfect for hockey Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to hover in the mid-teens throughout the afternoon and snow could fall throughout the day adding to the light snowfall that blanketed this part of Michigan during the overnight hours.

The Red Wings, who flew in early Tuesday morning after a Monday night loss at the Nashville Predators, will take the ice first, scheduled to skate at noon. After what is expected to be a quick but intense practice, the Red Wings players will gather up family and friends for a family skate on the rink, always a highlight to the day-before festivities. The Maple Leafs, who last played Sunday night in Carolina, are scheduled to take the ice at 3 p.m. and follow the same practice/family skate schedule.


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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 5:46 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Paul Maurice eager to get back behind the bench

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Paul Maurice is excited to cover his first Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic game as an NHL Network analyst, but the former coach of the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs could think of a better way to experience the League's marquee regular-season event.

"What would be even better is if I got paid to coach in one of these games," Maurice told NHL.com.

The 46-year-old Maurice is interested in potentially getting that chance next season. He is working as a part-time television analyst mostly for TSN this season, but his desire is to get back into coaching after taking a year away following his one season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

Maurice has coached 1,084 NHL games and has 460 wins. In his first stint in Carolina, he led the Hurricanes to the 2002 Stanley Cup Final. He brought them to the 2009 Eastern Conference Final during his second stint.


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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 5:20 PM

By Russell Levine -  NHL.com, V.P. Digital Production /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Media game makes cherished memories for some

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Not all days are created equal. Some days are a little more special than others.

If you're a University of Michigan graduate, a Wolverines die-hard, or a hockey nut, it really can't get much better than stepping onto the ice at Michigan Stadium. I am all three, and having the chance to skate on the rink that has been created for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in the middle of the Big House was more than a dream come true. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will cherish for a lifetime.

The schedule of events Monday afternoon included both a free skate and a pickup game for the media. Approximately 25 members of the media took part in the game, which was played in the middle of the afternoon, right after the free skate.

I would not be exaggerating to say that I have looked forward to this day since Michigan Stadium was first announced as the host of this game nearly two years earlier.


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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 4:52 PM

By Jon Lane -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Location, location, location: Classic finds latest home

One of the many great features of the Winter Classic is the location. The first one in 2008 was played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, and through the years the NHL has played the game in parks venerable (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park) and modernized (Heinz Field, Citizens Bank Park).

Michigan Stadium, used mainly for football but also the venue for the "Big Chill at the Big House" college hockey game in 2012 between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, will host the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Each year presents different planning agendas for schemes that work best in football and baseball stadiums in terms of getting the rink to fit dimensions and go with the shape of each facility.

The League will get plenty of practice as the regular season progresses. Following the 2014 Winter Classic are Coors Light Stadium Series games at Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles), Yankee Stadium (New York) and Soldier Field (Chicago), and the Tim Hortons Heritage Classic at BC Place in Vancouver.


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Posted On Monday, 12.30.2013 / 12:35 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Early reports positive on Winter Classic rink

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The cold weather and overcast skies here Monday are working in Dan Craig's favor as the NHL's Senior Director of Facilities Operations prepares the ice surface at Michigan Stadium for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Wednesday (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

Craig said a group of workers were the first to skate on the ice late Sunday night and the reports were good. Craig was not at The Big House to watch the skate or participate because he was helping out at Comerica Park for the Ontario Hockey League doubleheader that was played there Sunday.

"It was solid," Craig said of the reports he received. "Nothing that we haven't dealt with before. It doesn't matter what sheet of ice you have, you want to skate it in. We want two or three days of skating, that's why we would have loved to have the day before as well as [Sunday] night, but we'll work with what we've got."

The sun that covered the rink for most of the afternoon hours Friday and Saturday didn't allow for the ice to be ready for a skate Saturday night, but that's why the NHL built extra days into the schedule to allow for some leeway.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 6:28 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winterizing Michigan Stadium a challenge for Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Winterizing Michigan Stadium to host what could be more than 110,000 people for a major event in frigid conditions is one major obstacle the NHL and University of Michigan officials had to clear to pave the way for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Michigan Stadium is typically shut down for the winter after the Wolverines' final home football game. The water is drained from all the stadium facilities and the plumbing and electricity are turned off for fear that the cold weather would force a pipe to burst.

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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 1:25 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Weather issues at a minimum for Winter Classic

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The NHL is still expecting a frigid day with a chance of light snow for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day.

NHL Executive Vice President of Events Don Renzulli receives updated forecasts twice a day and the one he got Sunday morning reflected no changes from the forecast he received Saturday afternoon.

Renzulli said the forecast for Wednesday is currently calling for mostly cloudy skies with a temperature between 8-15 degrees Fahrenheit, a 30 percent chance of light snow and northerly winds ranging between 5-10 miles per hour.

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Posted On Saturday, 12.28.2013 / 10:12 AM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Ice crew overcomes weather to get lines, logos down

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The sun began its ascent in the blue Michigan sky Saturday morning, but NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his team were ready.

Half of Craig's crew, led by his son Mike, put all of the lines and logos on the ice Friday night into Saturday morning at Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic. The other half relieved them and went to work just after 4 a.m. at making more ice on top.

The objective was simple: Build as much ice on top as possible before the sun's rays reached the rink, and then cover the surface with tarps to preserve it.

"Everything was painted and sealed and ready to go," Craig said. "We split the crew and made sure everyone got food and got warm before their overnight shift. They were ready to put the markings in around 8 [p.m.] and I think the first lines started going down at about 8:30. I texted Mike at 1:20 [a.m.] just wanting to know the status and he said they were in good shape. The last logo went in at about 2:30 a.m.

"We're in good shape there. We just have to make sure we have enough [tarps] for the auxiliary rink as well as the big one. The sun is going to come down on the penalty box side first and then in the afternoon it will the other side. We'll make sure that side gets tarps first along the boards. We reversed the flow on the pipes on the floor last night to make sure that side is the colder side when the sun came out this morning."


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Posted On Friday, 12.27.2013 / 3:11 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Unexpected sun causes brief delay in painting ice

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his crew of rink builders were all set to paint the ice white at Michigan Stadium on Friday morning. Then the elements got in the way.

Specifically, the sun came out from behind the clouds and what was expected to be a balmy, gray day on the University of Michigan campus became a pleasant, sunny winter one instead. While that might have great for the residents of this college town, it delayed Craig's crew by a few hours.

"We cleaned the ice, burned it a couple of times, put in our stabilizing fabric that we do in front of the machine and the goal creases, and then the sun popped out," Craig said. "We'd be painted by now if the sun hadn't come out, but I'm not going to fight Mother Nature. We're just going to wait for it to go down and then be ready to paint when that happens."

After the cleaning the ice Friday morning, Craig's crew used hot water to "burn" off the leftover frost and humidity build-up that wasn't scraped off with the shovels. A huge part of Craig's job is calling audibles based on the elements, and Friday morning was a good example of that.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 9:08 PM

NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

NHL Live: Andy Murray talks outdoor hockey at Comerica Park

Western Michigan University coach Andy Murray joined Bill Pidto and E.J. Hradek on NHL Live on Thursday evening to discuss the 49th annual Great Lakes Invitational, which gets underway at Comerica Park in Detroit on Friday.

“We’re excited, obviously. It’s the first time Western Michigan’s ever played in an outdoor game,” Murray said, “and playing in Comerica Park here, about two hours from Kalamazoo, where Western Michigan is located. We’re playing three in-state rivals.”

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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 9:04 PM

NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

NHL Live: E.J. Hradek talks Winter Classic goalies, coaches’ clothing

NHL Live’s E.J. Hradek used the “Plus/Minus” segment Thursday night to look at a few aspects of the upcoming 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

He explained why he’s not optimistic about seeing Jimmy Howard in goal for the Red Wings. He also discussed which Toronto goalie he feels will get the start in the Jan. 1 game at Michigan Stadium.

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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 8:51 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winter Classic rink-building crew gets Christmas break

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Because of the amount of extra time afforded to NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his cast of rink builders with the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic taking place at Michigan Stadium, he was able to give his entire crew holiday leave.

Craig gave his entire 11-man crew either two or three days off to go home and spend time with their families.

"It lets them recharge the batteries," Craig said. "The funny part about our crew is, yes they all want to be home with family, but at the same time, because we did [the 2011 NHL Winter Classic in] Pittsburgh, where nobody went home for Christmas, and [the 2012 NHL Winter Classic] in Philadelphia, we had an issue and I had to keep four guys behind, they know it is what it is."


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Posted On Thursday, 12.26.2013 / 4:09 PM

By Corey Masisak -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Work resumes on Michigan Stadium ice rink

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The crew responsible for building an ice rink inside Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone 2014 NHL Winter Classic is back in business after a short holiday reprieve.

NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig and his staff were back at the Big House on Thursday morning and back at work on the rink inside the stadium by the early afternoon after a couple of days of leave for everyone to enjoy Christmas with their families.

Craig's crew first had to clean a few of inches of snow off the ice surface that has fallen here since they stopped working. The snow will be stored and used in the areas of the field around the rink on game day.

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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 3:34 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Maple Leafs' Reimer has new mask ready to go

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer is gearing up for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on New Year's Day.

In addition to sporting a brand new pair of goalie pads created by Bauer that he's been breaking in at selected practices, the 25-year-old Reimer will also be wearing a new mask especially made for the occasion by painter David Gunnarsson when his team faces the Detroit Red Wings.

"The helmet has a picture of the old Maple Leafs logo with horizontal lines that match the jersey," Reimer told NHL.com. "There's also a winter classic logo on it and, from afar, it looks like a retro mask. But when you get close up to it, it still has those sketches that I like to keep the [Reimer] theme."


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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 3:02 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Past outdoor game a thriller for Maple Leafs' Gardiner

NEW YORK -- Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner can vividly recall the fantastic outdoor finish in the Camp Randall Classic before 55,031 fans on Feb. 6, 2010.

Gardiner was starring on defense for the University of Wisconsin at the time against the University of Michigan.

The game featured several current NHL stars, including Gardiner, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith and New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan and defenseman Ryan McDonagh. All four players were Wisconsin teammates. Rangers forward Carl Hagelin was playing for Michigan.

"We won 3-2 against Michigan and Brendan Smith scored the winner [at 18:38 of the third]," Gardiner told NHL.com. "We had a good team and it was fun to be out there in front of 55,000 people."


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Posted On Monday, 12.23.2013 / 1:58 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Maple Leafs' D'Amigo guaranteed outdoor game

NEW YORK -- Recent American Hockey League call-up Jerry D'Amigo doesn't know how long he'll stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 22-year-old wing has two points in 10 games since his arrival from the Toronto Marlies on Dec. 5 and is hoping to secure his spot on the roster.

But regardless of whether he is sent down following the end of the holiday roster freeze, he's guaranteed to have an eventful holiday. Not only will the Maple Leafs be playing against the Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1 in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but the Marlies will face off against Detroit's AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, at Comerica Park in Detroit on Dec. 30.

"If I get sent down, either here or there I'm going to have an outdoor game," D'Amigo said. "I think it will be pretty cool. Hopefully it's not too cold of a day out there."


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Posted On Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 1:34 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Hagelin, Merrill share Big House memories

On Jan. 1, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will meet at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The game is expected to be a landmark hockey event, not to mention a key matchup between Original Six and Atlantic Division rivals.

But it won't be the first time the stadium has hosted hockey; the University of Michigan and Michigan State University met on Dec. 11, 2010 in a rivalry game dubbed the Big Chill at the Big House. The game drew a world record attendance of 113,411 fans. And for the future NHL players who played in that epic contest, a 5-0 Michigan win, there are still plenty of vivid memories from a special moment in hockey history.

"I had 30 people from Sweden coming in wearing the Swedish national team jersey with my name and number on the back. You couldn't see them up there since everyone was wearing yellow," said New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin. "It was a great atmosphere. It was probably one of the most surreal experiences I've been a part of. The crowd was going the whole game. After the game we stayed out on the ice and waited for the fireworks. That was a good memory."

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Posted On Sunday, 12.22.2013 / 12:56 PM

NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Jimmy Howard on Spectator Plaza

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Posted On Friday, 12.20.2013 / 4:08 PM

NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

NHL Winter Classic rink time lapse

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Posted On Thursday, 12.19.2013 / 1:21 PM

NHL.com - 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic blog

Winter Classic Rink Build Update with Dan Craig

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