Penguins may play in 'Ice Bowl'
The NHL wants to stage an outdoor game on Jan. 1, 2008, and the Penguins have informed the league they would be willing to participate -- as the visiting team.
"We were called by the league to see if we were interested in hosting, but we had to decline because all of our focus right now is on the new arena and an event like (an outdoor game) is an enormous task in itself," team vice president of communications Tom McMillan said Friday.
"We would be open-minded to doing something in the future, but only after the arena gets done. But we told the league we would gladly participate as the visitors."
NHL officials would not comment, but the league is believed to favor an outdoor game, tentatively titled "Ice Bowl," that would air on NBC on New Year's Day -- likely opposite college football bowl games.
According to ESPN, the league was thought to favor Pittsburgh, Buffalo or Detroit as a possible site for the "Ice Bowl."
McMillan said that the league's interest in having the Penguins participate in the game was no surprise given the star power of Pittsburgh players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The league reportedly desires at least one U.S. team involved in "Ice Bowl," which would be a spin-off to the Heritage Classic that took place in November 2003 between the Edmonton Oilers and Montreal Canadiens. That game, played at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, drew a crowd of nearly 60,000 and was played in sub-zero temperatures.
The Heritage Classic was the first NHL game played outdoors and attracted the largest live audience to watch a league contest. However, it was not televised live in the United States.