It might be a holiday in the business world today but there's no holiday on ice. A quick rundown of what's in store:
---The Sabres return to the ice at 11:30 a.m. in First Niagara Center in advance of Tuesday's game here against Edmonton (as usual, the practice is closed to the public).
---The Flyers-Rangers Winter Classic has been pushed back two hours, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., to allow for a tad colder weather and thus better ice at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. The NBC coverage, however, will still begin at 1. NHL Network, which has done a great job all weekend, will be on the air all day leading up to the game and will have plenty of postgame coverage.
---With lots of drama surrounding the Sabres and in the hour leading up to the Winter Classic, I will host another On the Beat chat here today at 2 p.m. Be sure to join me. Somehow, I think Lindy Ruff might be the subject of a question or two. Or three.
While I'm working on a story for Monday's paper about the Sabres' Grinch-like December, here's a New Year's chuckle to enjoy:
Coaches are notorious for not letting out the information on their starting goaltenders. We barely ask Lindy Ruff who's starting anymore because it's a waste of time since he'll almost never answer the question. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is the same way. So you better believe he must be furious about what happened today in Philly.
Reporters covering Flyers practice on the eve of the Winter Classic asked Sergei Bobrovsky who was starting and were told, "It's very confidential." Laviolette said there was no decision yet. But Ilya Brzygalov, who has been far and away the No. 1 star of HBO's "24/7" with his hysterically bizarre rants, quickly gave it away today in another crazy interview.
John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, is in his sixth season covering the Buffalo Sabres. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.