Boston, MA --
|Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (3) on the ice against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period of the Winter Classic hockey game in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2008. (AP Photo/Don Heupel) |
The lasting memory for anyone who witnessed the first Winter Classic back on January 1,2008 has to be the snow coming down in Buffalo as 71,217 watched the NHL's second outdoor contest.
"We had snow coming down a lot," said Boston's Daniel Paille
, who played for the Buffalo on that cold afternoon in Upstate New York. "It was...a delay [factor] for most of the game, and every five minutes we had people coming out with shovels and shoveling the ice, but it's part of the fun and experience that you enjoy.
"It slowed the pace down a little bit but was still a good time."
But Paille said that constant movement, especially for the goalies on the ice, was key to comfort.
"I know that Ryan Miller who played [goal for Buffalo] just tried to keep himself warm and wore a lot of stuff underneath to keep himself warm," said Paille. "I know he wore [a touque] as well.
"I think you just have to move around as much as you can if you don't get much action.
"It will definitely be a tough thing for Timmy [Thomas] or Tuukka [Rask], but I think they will just be happy to be there," he said.
Paille includes himself in that equation.
"Yeah, definitely. I can’t wait until after this trip," said the forward prior to the club's games in Florida. "We’ll get to come home, play one game and be right at it, so [time's] going to fly with the amount of games we got coming.
"Talking about it and I don’t know if anybody knows what to expect, so it’s just going to be a great time for everyone I think."
For instance, many of the Bruins have never had to play a professional game with the elements giving them yet another opponent on the ice. And Paille remembered having to deal with snow blowing into his face as he faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"From what I remember, just when it’s constantly snowing it definitely slows the pace a little bit," he said. "If you’re not wearing a visor you got to squint your eyes a little bit, but I’m wearing a visor so it’s okay.
"Hopefully it doesn’t snow too hard like last time, but you know if it does, as long as it doesn’t rain, the snow is fine."
Daniel, who was traded to Boston earlier this season, said that in Buffalo, he began and ended the game with chills, but he wasn't sure it it was just the weather that had him shaking.
"I don't know if it was because I was cold, but I had the chills pretty much throughout the whole game," said Paille. "Just having everyone screaming and yelling for the game and just enjoying themselves.
"You can't help but focus on that excitement of wanting to play well and put on a good show."
Despite the pressure of performance, Paille insisted that the players themselves had fun, too.
"Having a lot more fans. And you know, having the weather conditions is definitely a factor in the game to make it exciting," he said. "We worked hard, but we enjoyed ourselves at the same time. It was a huge event for both teams and the NHL and to be a part of it is something special.
"I mean with pond hockey, it's just you and your friends and maybe a couple of parents just watching," continued Paille. "But the outdoor game is just a completely different event. I mean having 30 to 40-thousand plus fans screaming for you [in Fenway]."
And those people who get to experience the Winter Classic for the first time are in for a treat.
"I know that the people that experienced it for themselves had a great time," said Paille.