NBC Sports today announced that Bob Costas will host NBC's broadcast coverage of the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic between the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, the first U.S. outdoor game in NHL history. The game will be held New Year's Day beginning at 1 p.m. ET from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
Costas has a history broadcasting hockey, serving as the play-by-play commentator for the Syracuse Blazers of the old Eastern Hockey League in 1973-74 and also occasionally filling in for the late, great Dan Kelly on KMOX's St. Louis Blues radiocasts in the last 70s and early 80s.
The AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic features several of the game's greatest young stars, including Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller
. Attendance at the contest is expected to surpass the NHL single-game record, set Nov. 22, 2003 when the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers drew 57,167 to The Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, the only outdoor game in NHL history. Ralph Wilson Stadium capacity exceeds 73,000 and tickets to the game sold out within several hours of going on sale. NBC NHL GAME OF THE WEEK TO FEATURE FLEX SCHEDULING
Following the outdoor game, the NBC NHL "Game of the Week" drops the puck on its third season, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2008 with either the Boston Bruins at New York Rangers or the Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks at the Dallas Stars with a new innovation: the NHL will offer flexible scheduling for NBC's nine regular season dates.
NBC will be able to select from up to four games on Sunday afternoons. Thirteen days prior to the scheduled games (on Mondays), NBC, in conjunction with the NHL, will select one of those games as the "Game of the Week" to be broadcast during the NBC window. The other games will remain available to the teams' regional carrier but will not be televised during NBC's broadcast window.