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Nicklas Lidstrom Brett Lebda Winter Classic Postgame

Thursday, 01.01.2009 / 8:17 PM / Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic 2009

By NHL Public Relations

Q.  Nick, it had a special look to it.  I'm sure it had a special feel to it.  Other than the outcome, what was your favorite part of the whole event?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM:  I think the favorite part was coming out of the dugout and seeing the crowd and seeing the excitement and people faces and hearing the crowd noise, too.  Just sucking everything in once you stepped on the field.

Q.  Brett, give us the low down of the ice conditions and stuff, just the differences between playing a game in this weather on that ice in the wind and playing a regular game back at the Joe Louis Arena.

BRETT LEBDA That's what I was telling the guys the whole week.  I was worried about the wind because I've been in here when it's been howling, and it can whip through here pretty good.  And it wasn't too bad.

The ice was a lot better today than it was yesterday.  And I think with this new system, I think they'll just get better and better as they do it and learn every year.  So it wasn't bad.  It was playable and both teams had to deal with it.

Q.  Brett, you grew up in Buffalo Grove.  Cubs or Sox?

BRETT LEBDA Cubs all the way.  I don't go to many Sox games.  I loved the Cubs, grew up on the Cubs, and still go to a lot of games during the summer.

Q.  What was it like for you to come here into this building and score a goal?

BRETT LEBDA:  Just coming out, like Nick said, coming out of that dugout and seeing the sight, it was pretty cool.  You're usually on the other side of the fence there sitting in the stands.  And just to be out there and playing in a hockey game in Wrigley Field was a pretty neat experience.

Q.  The Blackhawks said once you guys scored that second goal, they might have been playing a little more tight.  They were holding their sticks tighter.  Did you notice that at all?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM:
  I think we started playing with better tempo in that second period.  We had our third guy high and created a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone and went the other way real fast.  That's something we wanted to do, too.  Just create a lot more turnovers.

And I thought that brought the temp up and the speed in our game and I think it pushed them back a little, too.

Q.  This thing seems to be getting bigger and bigger.  Would you endorse this, you know, getting the non hockey fan to watch an event like this?  Would you think this should be an annual thing?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM I had a blast doing it, and I think all the NHL players should have a chance to play in something like this and be part of something like this.  I wouldn't endorse doing this every year, finding two good teams, two good rivalries, and finding an event you like, like Wrigley Field too.  And it was very exciting for both teams, I think.

Q.  Brett, I know aside from waiting to find out if you'd actually scored the goal, could you have written this script any better for the way your day went today?

BRETT LEBDA:  Yeah.  I think, like you said, I wish I would have known it went in right away.  I would have changed my celebration a little bit.

(Laughter).

BRETT LEBDA:  But other than that, you can't be picky, and I'm just glad we got the two points.  It was a lot of fun.  A good experience, I think, for all of us.

And it was really a heart felt experience for myself, just playing here at Wrigley, too.

Q.  Nick, first of all, how did you feel after missing a couple of games.  And second, if this was just a regular game and not the Winter Classic event, might you have taken this off?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM I would have tried anyways if it was a regular season game indoors.  I still would have tried it.  The ankle felt okay.  We did some adjustments to my skate, to the boot itself.  It relieved some pressure on the point where it's been hurting.  I would have played on it anyway, even if it would have been an indoor game.

Q.  In terms of expectations that you guys had when you thought about this event over the course of the last weeks months, whatever it is, did it match it?  Did it exceed what you expected?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM:  I think it exceeded my expectations.  I thought it was going to be a lot more colder out there.  Yesterday's practice I think you put a couple of layers on weren't sure how cold it was going to be.

But coming out there today, I dressed like I do for any other game.  And I felt comfortable doing it, too.  And I don't think the wind or playing outdoors really bothered either teams.  I thought both teams really, once we started playing, I think we both played like it would have been an indoor game.

Q.  Nick, your coach said there have been times this season where the team had trouble reaching the emotional level they needed to day in day out.  Are the Blackhawks, is the rivalry with the Blackhawks and the fact that they're playing better this year, is that helping you guys at all?  Or do you still   seems like when you want you can still turn it on and so I'm just wondering if that's helping at all?

NICKLAS LIDSTROM We knew coming into these two games they're only a few points behind us in the standings.  They've been playing real well.  They won nine in a row.  So we knew coming into the series that we had to come out and play real well.  I think the team has been responding well to challenges like this, too, and previous games.

The guys really got up for playing the Blackhawks.  We know they're a good, young team, and you have to be prepared when you play them.

Q.  As the Chicagoan, what were your thoughts when you knew you were going to be playing here at Wrigley, and what good feeling, if any, do you have knowing that the Hawks have made such a great improvement, made such great strides here and making the Wings/Hawks rivalry special again?

BRETT LEBDA Well, yeah.  Growing up a Blackhawks fan, deep down, I like to see Chicago hockey back on the map.  And for us and Detroit, it's a rivalry that's been waiting, I think, to be rekindled.  And now, because of their success, I think it has.

This game just puts it that much more over the edge.  And I think they did a great job here of setting up everything and making sure everything was top notch and hopefully the fans had as much fun as we did.