The Buffalo Sabres will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on New Year's Day for the first outdoor NHL game in the United States. The game will be played at the Buffalo Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium, with seating capacity around 74,000.
There is a very good chance that the weather will be perfect for outdoor hockey. And there is a chance that the weather will be horrid for outdoor hockey. But hopefully Ma Nature will comply and give the NHL a nice day for what should be a great showcase for the sport and the league (NBC will allegedly make the game a big part of it's holiday programming - though certainly not over any NCAA Bowl coverage, one presumes).
The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle had a little story on the game in the paper today, which included this funny line from Larry Quinn:
"Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn was asked if the Sabres will elicit advice from the Oilers, who staged the NHL’s first regular-season outdoor game.
‘We’re not real happy with Edmonton right now,’ Quinn said, referring to the Oilers’ attempt to hijack Sabres winger Thomas Vanek through restricted free agency with a seven-year, $50 million contract offer. ‘We won’t be talking to Edmonton.’”
I just checked, and the geniuses at the NHL scheduling department don't have the Sabres and Fowl playing each other this season. Pity.