More on the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic
The AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic is not just any regular-season hockey game. When the Penguins and Buffalo Sabres play at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan. 1, 2008, the NHL's first outdoor game in the United States will generously borrow from the past in hopes of building a brighter future. Some things to look for if you have a ticket or simply plan to watch on NBC:
...BABY ONE MORE TIME
The teams will don vintage- or retro-themed uniforms, though good luck finding anybody talking about Buffalo's throwbacks. That mostly is because the Penguins will appear in colors other than black and gold for the first time since 1980. They will wear power blue-dominated sweaters and socks with dark blue shorts, gloves and helmets. Even their practice jerseys will be yellow and blue.
ALL EYES ON ME
Though goalie masks have come a long way since the 1970s, goaltenders for the Sabres and Penguins have commissioned artist Ray Bishop to paint "old-school" designs for their respective head gear. Dany Sabourin's mask borrows heavily from one famously worn by Michel Plasse.
The artificial ice surface, which figures to draw more media attention than even Sidney Crosby, will be -- get this -- sand-based. It will sound hollow, and if all goes well, fans will hear a lot of cracking and crunching.
SAY IT AIN'T SO
Ever hear the expression "he is tough, he is a hockey player"• Yeah, right. Players will stay warm thanks to the benefit of heated benches. (Hey, the game is being played in a football stadium.)
DON'T LOOK BACK
Nike-Bauer has developed a composite stick that will play modern but look like wood. The company also has designed form-fitting skates that will resemble hockey footwear from the dancing days of disco.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
If the mid-day sun is too bright, players will turn to eye-black (again, football stadium -- hello), tinted visors and, no lie, specially designed sun glasses.
BANG THE DRUM ALL DAY
Given the party-loving people of Buffalo and Pittsburgh, the NHL actually plans to endorse pre-game tailgating. It will set up tents and video boards in the parking lots to encourage a festival-like atmosphere.
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