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Best outdoor game debated by NHL.com panel

Inaugural Winter Classic in 2008 among those to air on NBCSN 'Hockey Week in America'

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

The NHL season has been paused because of concerns about the coronavirus, and NBCSN will try to fill the void by reliving some of the best games and moments from the past 12 years.

"Hockey Week in America" started Monday and includes 12 hours of programming each day. Wednesday will feature the best NHL outdoor games since 2008, starting with the 2019 Stadium Series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers at 3 p.m. ET. The network will also air the 2008 Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres at 6 p.m. ET, the 2020 Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars at 8 p.m. ET, and the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at 10 p.m. ET. The Predators-Stars game will be rebroadcast at 12 a.m. ET Thursday. 

The best Game 7 overtime thrillers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs were debated Monday, and four of the best playoff rivalry games were debated Tuesday. Notable Stanley Cup-clinching games will be examined Thursday, notable playoff performances will be featured Friday, and the best games of the Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby rivalry will be showcased Saturday. 

NHL.com asked three of its writers to pick their favorite game from among the field each day. Today, the best NHL outdoor game:

 

Tracey Myers, staff writer

This is an easy one for me. I'm going with the 2020 Winter Classic between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars at the Cotton Bowl. Part of it stems from my own past: My first hockey coverage days were with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in the early 2000s, but I never had watched an outdoor hockey game in the South. So that alone made it an awesome day. The game was entertaining, the Predators taking an early lead before the Stars came back to the delight of the home crowd. And afterward, walking through the Midway, where I'd been for the Texas State Fair several times while I lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was terrific. Oh, and I had a picture of myself taken in a big corndog cutout, and it's now my Twitter avatar. I mean, that's how you cap a great day of outdoor hockey.

Video: Sights and Sounds from the 2020 NHL Winter Classic

 

Dan Rosen, senior writer

This is the ultimate no-brainer for me. It's the 2008 Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres in snowy Buffalo. I arrived in Western New York on Dec. 23 to cover the rink build and lead-up to an event about which no one had a clue. Would it work? Would this be memorable for the right reasons? For the wrong reasons? But it was every bit as memorable for all the right reasons. The hype. The fans. The PA announcer at Ralph Wilson Stadium (now New Era Field) counting down to when NBC was going live so the noise could filter through the television. I stood outside for that and it gave me tingles up and down my body. Then, of course, the shootout. Center Sidney Crosby, the kid before he was a Stanley Cup champion or Olympic gold-medal winner, with the puck on his stick, dashing it through the snow to pay dirt against goalie Ryan Miller. Just awesome. I remember watching that from field level, just outside the players' tunnel, not far from Gary Roberts, an injured Penguins player at the time. I knew right away I was watching the start of something incredible.

Video: Sidney Crosby's SO game-winner in 2008 Winter Classic

 

Mike Zeisberger, staff writer

In my case, the obvious choice is the 2014 Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium. You want drama on the grandest stage? You've got it. How's this for a scene? The biggest crowd in NHL history, a gathering of 105,491, sitting on the edge of their seats at The Big House, waiting for Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak to try to break a 2-2 tie in the shootout. Large puffy snowflakes turning the scene into a winter wonderland. Because of the way the tickets had been dispersed so each fan base would sit together, half the stadium was all Toronto blue, and the other Detroit red. It was a magical setting that called for a hero. Bozak proved to be just that, beating goalie Jimmy Howard to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 victory. The real winners, however, were those of us fortunate on hand to witness it live. Two months ago, NHL.com and NHL.com International staff members voted the 2014 Winter Classic as the Event of the Decade. For some of us, it will rank among the most special of our lifetimes. 

Video: Tyler Bozak wins 2014 Winter Classic with SO winner

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