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Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings

Combo of skill, heart made Leafs' Clark a success

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

Wendel Clark knew one way to play during his 15 NHL seasons. His 5-foot-11, 200-pound physique meant nothing competing with an indomitable work ethic against the beasts of the League.

One of the oldest of frayed cliches explains how it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog. Clark played all-out with no thoughts of putting his body in peril. His will to win made him immensely popular with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but at times overshadowed a natural ability that helped him total 330 goals and 564 points in 793 NHL games.

"I think because of his smaller stature people started to think, well, here's a guy who just made it on his heart. He was a very skilled guy too," said Barry Melrose, Clark's cousin, a former NHL player and coach and current NHL Network analyst. "He was an awesome combination of toughness, skill and heart. I think he was a pretty complete player."

Winter Classic rink close to getting logos, lines

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- As NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig put the finishing touches on his final planned activity Thursday for building a rink inside Michigan Stadium, the weather presented him with an opportunity.

Craig could have kept his crew later than planned, but part of his job is also to manage the guys in charge of creating the playing surface for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He knew his crew would have willingly stayed and continued to work, but his management experience helped him decide it was time to call it a day.

Zac Brown Band leads Winter Classic entertainment

Members of the Grammy-Award winning band to perform U.S. national anthem


NEW YORK -- The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the New Year's Day outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at The Big House® on the University of Michigan campus (1:00 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS), will feature performances by members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne and Juno Award-winning recording artists The Tenors; the announcement of the rosters for the 2014 U.S. Olympic men's and women's ice hockey teams; a flyover of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) CF-18 fighter jets and a Canada-United States color guard; and appearances by Ann Arbor and Detroit-area youth hockey players.

The entertainment for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ and 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ is being produced by RK Productions in association with Big Monkey Entertainment.

Coaches take center stage in Part 2 of '24/7'

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

Mike Babcock and Randy Carlyle are coaches trying to keep their teams together despite growing adversity that is threatening to take down their once-promising seasons.

HBO's cameras captured the coaches and their teams, Babcock's Detroit Red Wings and Carlyle's Toronto Maple Leafs, in their most raw and exposed states and delivered the stunning real-life drama to viewers Saturday night in Part 2 of "24/7 Red Wings-Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic."

The final scene of the near hour-long episode depicts the vulnerabilities that the Red Wings and Maple Leafs carried into their game Saturday night in Toronto, a game that served as a preview for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic that will be played Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC).

Maple Leafs adjust to life in front of the cameras

Joe Yerdon - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- When the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at Air Canada Centre (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC), it will be a warm-up act for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

Part of that process leading up to the Winter Classic for each team is to be a part of HBO’s "24/7" documentary series. That means having cameras following them around to practices, meetings, games, even their home life.

For Maple Leafs players and the coaches, it calls for an adjustment to their normal routines.

"It's unusual," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "It's not normal what we're living right now. I've talked about white noise and I've talked about distraction and this is just another one for us. It's hard in some ways to blame people for not paying attention to it or not being attached to it, but on the other hand we have a job to do.”

The HBO cameras started following the Maple Leafs on Dec. 4. Since then, they have gone 4-5-0.

Red Wings, Maple Leafs in Winter Classic preview


The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will get an up close and personal scouting report on each other Saturday night in advance of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

Both teams are struggling of late as they collide Saturday at Air Canada Centre (7 p.m. ET, NHLN-US, CBC) in the final meeting between the two clubs before they rendezvous again in front of more than 100,000 people at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 1, 2014.

The second episode of HBO's "24/7" series will air shortly after the conclusion of this game, which will likely earn a large amount of real estate during the series' third episode the following week.

Detroit entered a game Thursday night against the Calgary Flames at Joe Louis Arena with losses in six straight. The Red Wings have had losing streaks of seven and six games this season, and both have occurred in the past six weeks.

Injuries have wreaked havoc on the club, with as many as eight regulars missing games. The team's top two players, Pavel Datsyuk and captain Henrik Zetterberg, have both missed time, and both Zetterberg and starting goaltender Jimmy Howard remain out of the lineup.

In total, six of the team's nine best forwards are injured, plus Howard and top-four defensemanDanny DeKeyser.

Red Wings use outdoor practice to lift spirits

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

DETROIT -- The puck magician exited the rink inside Comerica Park on Wednesday afternoon and summed up the Detroit Red Wings' current situation as only he could.

"No black," said Pavel Datsyuk, when asked why he didn't wear eye black during an outdoor practice that was open to the public. "[Don't] need it. In Detroit, no sunny days. We start winning, it might be sunny."

His answer drew a round of laughs but was apt for the injury-plagued Red Wings, who were blown out 5-2 by the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night at Joe Louis Arena and haven't won in six games.

Like the famous song lyric, ain't no sunshine for the Red Wings when the wins are gone. And wins are harder to get with almost half the usual roster sidelined by various injuries.

Detroit is missing six of its top-nine forwards, including captain Henrik Zetterberg, along with goalieJimmy Howard and top-four rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser. The Red Wings also have a 5-9-6 record on home ice and a vexing five-game losing streak at Joe Louis Arena they'd like to snap Thursday night against the Calgary Flames.

There's also some concern about Daniel Alfredsson's status after he didn't participate in the outdoor practice.

All things considered, taking it outside might've been perfect timing. The Red Wings got to breathe in some cold air and take their mind off their woes. Datsyuk put it this way: "It's fresh air, what we needed … a little bit of breathe."

League, Red Wings Foundation lead park renovation


The NHL and the Detroit Red Wings Foundation on Monday unveiled extensive renovations and upgrades to Detroit's Clark Park Coalition recreation center as part of the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Legacy Initiative.

With additional support from DTE Energy, Johnson Controls and York, the donation of resources and materials to Clark Park's outdoor rink was funded and spearheaded by the League and the Red Wings Foundation. The enhancements made to the Clark Park rink, the only regulation-size outdoor rink in the metropolitan Detroit area, included the donation of a Zamboni ice resurfacing machine to replace the facility's current 35-year-old machine. Other improvements include lighting upgrades at the rink and parking lot, an upgraded rink refrigeration system, snow removal equipment for its ice hockey and skating programs, a new ice surface and rink boards, new bicycle racks provided by Disenos Ornamental Iron and facelifts to its recycling program provided by CleanRiver and NHL Green.

Part 1 of HBO '24/7' focuses on teams' adversity

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

An American city trying to punch back and using its legendary hockey team as a symbol of hope compared and contrasted to a sprawling Canadian city with passionate fans who have withstood the test of time -- time that has not been so kind to its historic hockey team.

This was the theme in the chilling opening montage of Part 1 of "24/7 Red Wings-Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic" that debuted on HBO in the United States on Saturday night.

With "The Star-Spangled Banner" playing quietly on one side and "O Canada" on the other, Liev Schreiber's narration is heard over images that eloquently show the stark differences and striking similarities between Detroit and Toronto as well as between the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs, the teams that will meet in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Winter Classic Ice Truck arrives in Ann Arbor


The NHL officially took over Michigan Stadium on Thursday with the arrival of the NHL Winter Classic Ice Truck presented by York.

The 53-foot trailer, the world’s largest mobile refrigeration unit, departed Toronto on Tuesday to begin the 273-mile journey to Ann Arbor, where it's now parked outside of the stadium. The truck houses state-of-the-art icemaking and ice-monitoring equipment used to create an NHL-caliber sheet of ice.

The truck was accompanied into Ann Arbor by retired Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom, who will be taking part in the Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park on Dec. 31

"It's going to be fun," said Holmstrom, who retired after the 2011-12 season. "This is going to be the first game since I retired. I have to stop eating and get back in shape."

Construction of the rink began on Dec. 2, and the ice truck will begin creating the ice for the Winter Classic next week. The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will be played on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET: NBC, CBC, RDS).

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