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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
(Editor's Note: Leading up to the 2008 NHL Winter Classic, different Buffalo Sabres will relive their childhood memories of playing hockey outdoors and what their thoughts are on their match-up with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 1.  Click here for more 2008 NHL Winter Classic Information.)

Jaroslav Spacek grew up playing hockey on the outdoor ponds around Rokycany in the Czech Republic  The 33-year-old was drafted by Florida in the fifth-round (117th overall) in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

Here are his thoughts on the 2008 NHL Winter Classic:

"At a certain level it takes me back to playing as a kid when I think about the outdoor game.

"It could be pretty nice, but it depends... whether or not you freeze your [butt] off.

"But when I think of playing outdoors, I think about hot tea and fun.  When I was young, we used to play on the pond behind our house.  We would go out there in the afternoon and play all day.

"Of course, this will be a little bit different crowd than that used to be.

"I like playoff games and I think this will be kind of the same.  A smaller building will get pretty loud.  Outside it's pretty wide open.  It will be different from what we're used to here but I don't think the crowd size will not be that big a deal.  

"But I did go to a couple of Bills games - including the Monday night loss to Dallas - and that crowd was unbelievable, so it will be interesting to see what it's like.

"All I know is that we've got to survive somehow through this game.

"I don't know about the strategy to win the game.  That really depends on the ice conditioning of the rink.  The biggest thing is that you've got to take care of yourself first and make sure that nothing stupid  happens.  

"If you look at it at the end of the season, these may be a big two points.  So regardless of the excitement, you want to play this one like any other game.  You want to play hard and come away healthy.

"We just want to make it through the game, win the game and leave.    That's all."

Unable to attend the 2008 NHL Winter Classic? 

The Winter Classic House Party presented by BlueCross BlueShield of WNY will feature a pre-game scrimmage at 11:30 a.m. with the Sabres Alumni facing off against members of the Buffalo Police and Fire Departments, followed by a live HDTV broadcast of the Winter Classic on HSBC Arena’s new HD video scoreboard.  Click here for more details | Purchase Tickets
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