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by Staff Writer / Buffalo Sabres
Maxim Afinogenov (photo: Getty Images)
(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.)

Maxim Afinogenov grew up playing hockey on the outdoor rinks around Moscow, Russia.  The 28-year-old winger began playing major junior hockey for Moscow Dynamo during the 1995-96 season.  He was drafted by Buffalo in the third-round (69th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft.

Here are his thoughts on the 2008 Winter Classic:

"We played outdoors all the time when I was a kid. 

"It was fun.  We didn't even know what it was like to play indoors.  When you were growing up in Moscow, you always played outdoors.  Even in summertime, you were outside playing soccer.  You never played sports indoors.

"Summer it was soccer and winter was hockey.  It was a fun time, but now is a little different. 

"It's going to be really enjoyable to play in this game.

"There are going to be a lot of people there.  Usually, we used to playing in front of between 16,000 and 18,000 fans.  This is supposed to be like 80,000.  There's going to be much more noise.  Probably like going to a football game.  That should add to the excitement.

"I don't know how playing outdoors is going to effect the game.  We'll have to kind of play that out at the game.  Hopefully, it's not going to bother me.

"I'm just trying to remember what it was like when I played when I was young.  But it should be a nice change of pace."

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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