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"Talking New York Rangers Hockey, since 2007"
New York, NY • United States • 23 Years Old • Male

It ended with Sidney Crosby as the sixth shooter to fumble the puck toward the goalie through the bad ice, slush and snow that was the rink at Ralph Wilson Stadium. It was history, or so said the NHL, as the Buffalo Sabres hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first outdoor game in the U.S. It is not very surpising that it was the first, as the game was big for marketing but not big for the actual game.

The numerous stoppages to fix the ice, zamboni it, fix the net moorings and other maitinence issues in addition to the outpour of snow and wind from the heavens led to a choppy game, both literally and figuretively. But while the players were freezing, falling, tripping and losing the puck, the 70,000 fans that filled the home of the Buffalo Bills were enjoying themselves in true winter fashion. They did not mind the driving snow or low 20s temperature. They were too busy standing, cheering and watching hockey in the largest masses they had ever experienced. The noise level was through the roof, or lack thereof, and the excitement level was kept up during the entire game. The game was full of memories for all those who played in backyard rinks as children, or so Don Emerick told me. All that is great, but was it an NHL game or an NHL show?

Professional hockey is not played on ice on wood planks on top of grass, nor outdoors, nor in the driving snow and wind. Today we got a reminder of why that is, as all of these elements led to as tedious of a game to watch as it was to play. There was no flow, the puck was on edge every time you blinked, the scoring chances were few and the problems were many. It is a sport that should be played outdoors for fun and indoors for the chips, perhaps an outdoor exhibition game would make more sense hockey-wise, though not at all marketing-wise.

But the goal was accomplished for Bettman. The hype generated by this overrated game earned publicity and surely many TV viewers. The game went the full distance and advertised the shootout. Sidney Crosby was in the spotlight, earning most of the replay time and doing his job to market the game with a few nifty plays. Yes, the average American may actually have been interested when the word "hockey" was mentioned today, and that is great. It is great for the fans who made the trip to see the game live and experience the atmosphere. And it was great for the players to be a part of this "historic" game. But everybody else was wondering why they took three hours to watch just another regular, if not below average, NHL game.

He closed in on Miller, gathered the puck and slid it through the Buffalo goalie's legs. The fans in the stands groaned. The Penguins celebrated. And Bettman jumped out of his pants because, "Dear me, I do believe Crosby scored the winner on national TV!"

But did this game "score" with us?
January 1, 2008 6:32 PM ET | Delete
the zambonis were forced to come out b/c of the snow and ice.. otehrwise that would not have happeend at the 10 min mark every period.., and if u paid attention, ift was one of the zambonis that screwed teh same patch of ice up that kept needing repairs...
January 1, 2008 6:41 PM ET | Delete
Look at the big picture...it is good for "the game."Both teams got points.
January 1, 2008 7:27 PM ET | Delete
Hey it was fun to watch more can you ask for? Sure there were some technical difficulties but that had to be expected.
January 1, 2008 7:46 PM ET | Delete
It was good for the game. that's the most important thing for the league which spent lots of money on this
January 1, 2008 7:50 PM ET | Delete
You made it sound alot worse than it actually was. Both the indoor and the outdoor rinks have their issues. Indoor ice deals with the heat, sometimes makes the ice sticky and wet. The outdoor rink had excess snow buildup. Players even commented that they were able to adjust. I enjoyed the game thoroughly.
January 1, 2008 9:54 PM ET | Delete
i couldnt disagree more. its great for hockey. i agree conditions werent perfect, but they were equal. it was great
January 1, 2008 10:24 PM ET | Delete
I enjoyed watching the game and so did my brothers who live up in Vancouver Canada. Why must people always find something to criticize? Sure it wasn't classic, end-to-end hockey, but lots of entertainment nonetheless.
January 1, 2008 11:30 PM ET | Delete
At the beginning of the game, they said that the NHL was going to treat it as an event and more than just a game. So that is why I believe they showed the patching of the ice and the snow removal, because it was part of the event. I think if that same stuff happened indoors, they would go to commercials. But overall, I thought it was a good game and all those other factors made it more fun to watch. Especially because you get to see players out of their element and made to adapt. The only thing I didn't like was switching sides halfway through the 3rd and OT. Just like football, it should have been part of the game and some sort of coin flip to to decide which side you would like to take. Particularly in OT.
January 1, 2008 11:52 PM ET | Delete
the one thing i didn't like was that i felt it was the friggen sidney crosby show. sidney crosby this every second.
January 2, 2008 12:01 AM ET | Delete
Hey Mtlca66, I hear he's pretty good...
January 2, 2008 12:47 AM ET | Delete
it was a great day for hockey fans. I think it should remain special - not played every year, not a regulation game but a rotated event. Yes the coverage talked a lot about Crosby, but he's a KNOWN and he's easy to use as a filler. I don't expect any Ranger or Philly fan to agree .. Congrats to Buffalo - they put on a CLASSic event
January 2, 2008 2:29 AM ET | Delete
Obviously you are entitled to your own opinion... however, your opinion is ridiculous. They need to hold this event yearly and have one in Canada as well. It's a great way to celebrate the game we love so much. It will keep getting better as the years go by. As for the Sidney Crosby show... who else do you want to see, Ryan Miller? Crosby is the face of the NHL and the best player in the league at age 20... get used to it.
January 2, 2008 9:02 AM ET | Delete
This is one of the only opportunities these guys get to flash back to their days when playing on the ponds, and take it to the next level. This is something that regardless of the clearing of the ice several times, the slow puck, how hard it was to see... tons of players around the league would have killed to be playing out there on that outdoor rink in front of 70.000 .... This was great for the game, but also great for the players as well. There is no question they all had a great time in that game, win or lose.
January 2, 2008 9:02 AM ET | Delete
I'd love to see the all-star game an outdoor event.
January 2, 2008 9:50 AM ET | Delete
I don't share your opinion, but this was still a good read. I understand what your problems were with the game, but it's good for the sport. Plus, it must have been really fun for the players.
January 2, 2008 10:32 AM ET | Delete
Good read, I agree with your comments on the Sidney Crosby show but he is the NHL. As much as I despise him he is a great player and we just have to deal with it. As far as the game goes, I thought it was a good game. It was nice to see the players struggle for a while and have to work hard for their points.
January 2, 2008 10:42 AM ET | Delete
Great game?... not so much. Great event?... Absolutely!! I thought that the whole "event" was done very well. Sure, the weather conditions slowed down the game but they also added to the atmosphere. I hope that there is an outdoor game every New Years day, snow and sleet or not. The Winter Classic was sure a heck of a lot more entertaining than watching some lame parade or reruns of Back to the future.
January 2, 2008 3:54 PM ET | Delete
Re-runs of Back to the Future? i'd do that all day long, but i'd rather watch hockey all day long"1.21 gigawatts? 1.21 gigawatts? Great Scott!"
January 2, 2008 4:58 PM ET | Delete
Want to see the Rangers play outdoors - rent Mystery Alaska :))
January 2, 2008 5:30 PM ET | Delete
It was great to witness, but don't ever set up your DVR to record it for just three hours or you'll miss half of the game.
January 2, 2008 6:12 PM ET | Delete
I slept through the last outdoor game, I'm glad I got to see this one ;)
January 3, 2008 2:27 PM ET | Delete
I was at the game and it was easily the best sporting event i have ever been to that includes stanley cup playoff games among others the weather or the stops in play couldnt keep a single fan down and if you can keep 73,000 ppl happy for 4 hrs then you've done something right
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