CHICAGO -- Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin and defenseman and six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom spoke about playing in today's Winter Classic, just hours before facing off against the Chicago Blackhawks at historic Wrigley Field.
Q. Nicklas, you've played in a lot of hockey games in your career. How different does it feel to be out there as a player in Wrigley Field? LIDSTROM: It feels different than what you're used to playing outdoors, once you get going and start skating, the cold didn't really bother me. And you're more excited than anything to be just out there again and especially being a part of something like this.
Q. Nick, tomorrow there's going to be a lot of pregame festivities. You're going to be probably be part of the puck drop with Ted Lindsay and Bobby Hall. Can you talk about what that's going to be like, national TV, across everything, and two legends right there? LIDSTROM: First of all, I think it's great for the league, for the NHL to get the exposure of playing on New Year's Day. I watched the game last year and it was fun to watch. I watch a lot of hockey but I was excited to sit there and watch that game. Just all the elements of playing outdoors. A little snow. Real exciting game, too. It will be fun tomorrow as well, being part of something like this.
Q. Ty, you're the expert in these games. Can you compare this ice to last year and, if you do remember, five years ago? CONKLIN: I couldn't tell you the difference between the ice. I remember it was pretty chippy in Edmonton just because of the temperatures. But it seemed like the ice was good last year. They had a couple of spots they had troubles with. But aside from the sun, seemed like out there, except for the spots where the sun was shining, the ice seemed pretty good. Nick would probably be able to answer it better than I would. LIDSTROM: I thought the ice was holding up really well. Towards the end it got chippy and a little broken down. I think you need to skate on it and flood it again to get the best ice possible.
Q. Nick, can you confirm that you are in the lineup or will be in the lineup tomorrow, and how is the ankle doing? LIDSTROM: The ankle is doing a lot better. They've been fixing my skate a little bit to relieve some of the pressure that was on that point. But it feels a lot better. And I'm hoping I can play tomorrow.
Q. Ty, do you make any adjustments with the sun out there? And some guys are talking about wearing visors, tinted visors. Obviously that's out of the question for you. CONKLIN: I won't be wearing any visors. I thought the black stuff helped a little bit. It's different when it goes from the sunlight to the shadows, it makes it a lot more difficult to pick up the puck. But everybody will have to play through it. So it's really not that big of a deal.
Q. Nicklas, as a Swedish player, I read on the Internet that you played up until the age of 12 outside as a hockey player. Can you talk to me about that experience, maybe reminding you a bit today here? LIDSTROM: Yeah. When I first started playing hockey at the age of seven, we were playing outdoors, and the weather conditions were sometimes like this, even colder. Other times it was raining so you couldn't play at all. But I grew up playing outdoors up until I was about 12 years old. We had an indoor rink in my city, too, but that was for the other team. I didn't play for that team up until I was 12. So it's a long time since I skated out like this and skating with a team. But it brings back a lot of fond memories.