Maybe it won't top
the quirky marriage of hype and hypothermia in November 2003--when the NHL's
first outdoor game, between the Canadiens and the Oilers in Edmonton, attracted
57,167 fans despite temperatures so cold that beers turned into alcohol
slushies--but the Jan.�1 game at Ralph Wilson Stadium outside Buffalo
between the Sabres and the Penguins (face-off, 1 p.m.) is a guaranteed
? It will boast
the presence of Crosby.
? NBC will provide
aerial shots from an airplane and as many cameras as it uses at a Stanley Cup
? The competing
teams play a few hours' drive from each other, and the expected crowd of more
than 73,000 will approach the outdoor record set by Michigan and Michigan State
at the Cold War at Spartan Stadium in 2001. This is not a one-off extravaganza.
The Winter Classic seems destined to be an annual event and, the NHL says,
could be played in Boston, Denver, Detroit, New York and the Twin Cities in
years to come.