ST. LOUIS - It's finally here. The Winter Classic has come to St. Louis at long last and, aside from forecasted rain, promises to be worth the wait.
The Blues skated at Busch Stadium for the first time during a team practice and family skate on Sunday afternoon, and here's what they had to say about their anticipation for today's game.
Vladimir Tarasenko: "Is it weird? Yeah, you can see the whole city around you and you're in a baseball stadium. it's crazy."
David Perron: "It's such a cool experience. We're lucky to be in this event. At the end of the night, we've got to remember it's a game and find a way to have success and do all the little things as far as our team play. It's a division rival. We want to keep finding our game. I think over the last couple weeks we've been in and out, and we want to establish again that we can play every single night. The game is what's most important."
Alex Pietrangelo: "It was a little bit different, a little weird. Pretty cool though. The sun beating down on your face, it brings back memories of your childhood. We had an outdoor rink (as a kid), that's where it all started. It gives you a little extra jump."
Patrik Berglund: "It was really cool. What I was really curious about was how the ice would be, and I thought it was pretty good. Just to skate around, and see how big Busch Stadium is, was really cool. It's going to be a really fun to be part of this."
Today's game, which will proceed at noon CT as originally scheduled (NBC, KMOX 1120 AM), will be the 305th all-time regular season meeting between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, but the first outdoors. The Blues will be playing in their first-ever outdoor game, while the Blackhawks will be playing in their fifth outdoor game.
The Blues are 1-1-1 against the Blackhawks this season.
"It's such a great setup. The visual is iconic," Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. "Everything is so first class. The ice was terrific at practice. It looks like it's going to be an awesome event."
Video: Blues looking forward to playing in Winter Classic
Vladimir Tarasenko has 12 goals and six assists in his last 18 games against the Blackhawks.
Jake Allen, who will start in goal today, is 2-1-1 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .908 save-percentage.
Today's game will be the ninth NHL Winter Classic and the sixth time it has been played in a baseball stadium.
Five of the previous eight Winter Classic games have been decided by one goal.