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Where should the next Ice Bowl be?

I'm assuming we all agree the NHL is going to do this outdoor thing again somewhere. They sold more than 71,000 tickets and had their highest regular-season TV rating since 1996 with Tuesday's game at the Ralph so they have a right to tell any nay-sayers to go pound. (And seriously now, what kind of a Scrooge must you be to go on and on, whether in a blog or a newspaper or anywhere else, that you didn't have fun Tuesday?)

You may have read my story in Tuesday's preview section on past outdoor games. While doing the research, I came across plenty of chatter about potential future sites. Didn't have room to include it in that story but we can ponder it here:

1). Montreal -- Next year is the Canadiens' 100th anniversary but the Big O has a roof and the CFL place only seats about 20,000. Hmmm.

2). Detroit -- There has been talk of Comerica Park but the biggest rumors center on Ford Field, which would be indoors but allow 80,000 and be a good prep for the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four there. The CCHA is pushing a doubleheader with another Michigan-Michigan State meeting followed by a Red Wings NHL game. That would make for some atmosphere.

3). Pittsburgh -- How about a Sabres-Pens rematch on New Year's Day of 2009 in Heinz Field?

4). Toronto -- Open the Rogers Centre roof and let the snow and cold air come in!

5). New York -- You know this has to be in the talk. New Yankee Stadium surely could be in play. Same for the new Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands.

6). Penn State -- The Flyers are pushing this one and insist there would be more than 100,000 on hand for a game with Pittsburgh at Happy Valley, about midway between the two cities. Said Flyers winger and Pittsburgh native R.J. Umberger, "That would be insane."

7). Boston -- The Red Sox have explored a game at Fenway Park but most of the talk has centered around the area colleges like Boston University and Boston College.

So if not the Ralph, where would you put a game?

---Mike Harrington

The hunt for Ice Bowl gear

Lindy Ruff said after practice today that the biggest controversy in his house Wednesday morning wasn't about who he used in the Ice Bowl shootout, why the ice wasn't shaved or whether he should revert to the line combinations he entered the game with. Nope. The trouble stemmed from which one of his daughters was going to earn the right to wear his classic varsity Sabres jacket to school. You know, the one he sported behind the bench Tuesday with the old Sabres crest on the breast and back.

"I had to break up a brawl," Ruff joked to reporters after his daily briefing with the media.

The jacket is expected to be a big seller when it hits the Internet and souvenir sales were slated to top $1 million alone in the Ralph on Tuesday. People couldn't seem to get their hands on enough gear but I heard a few complaints, notably about World Series or Super Bowl-like prices and the fact the Sabres' replica jerseys didn't have the neck ties like the Penguins' ones did.

So for those of you who were there, what kind of souvenirs did you go on the hunt for? And was the wallet-busting worth it?

---Mike Harrington

More Ice Bowl reading material

It's the day after but we're still going to have plenty of post-Ice Bowl chatter here throughout the day.

Be sure to give a look to the interactive Ice Bowl section on To get the full effect, let "Sabre Dance" play. The toggle is on the bottom right of the front page. Super job by The News graphics and photo staff. You can find our our complete index of coverage here.

Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun traveled the farthest of the North American media contingent and had a hometown frame of reference from the 2003 Heritage Classic. He says our game might have actually done more longterm good for the NHL.

The Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont was also in Edmonton and he seemed to have a good time in Orchard Park as well.'s Scott Burnside offers an entertaining report card but was worried about the conditions and said the league can't overdo these affairs.  The network's Web site has a pretty good photo slideshow available here.

Heard lots of talk about Ryan Miller's hysterical AMP Energy commercial. In case you missed it, you can watch the video here. By the way, they had some of this stuff in the press box yesterday. It's awful.

---Mike Harrington

Have your say here

Fire away with your own shots on the Winter Classic. Great spectacle, but not the greatest of games. And the Sabres are suddenly mired in a big offensive rut again: That's just two goals in the last three games.

---Mike Harrington

Live from the Ralph: The Ice Bowl cometh

Refresh this post often and we'll provide you with live updates on the Sabres-Penguins game through the snow of Ralph Wilson Stadium.

---Mike Harrington


2:48 left: Great power play by the Sabres, better goaltending by Ty Conklin. Several key saves keeps the game tied. Buffalo had five shots. Another hard whistle coming in 18 seconds.

2:30 left: The puck was in a harmless position again at the second unnatural whistle of the game. "Period Six" cracked one press box veteran.

59.4 to go: The Sabres have a 7-0 edge in shots and Jaro Spacek's point-blank chance from the slot was wide. Closing in on the most-attended shootout in NHL history.

On to the shootout: We'll be making a quick break to the dressing rooms when this one is over but be sure to look for a new post where you can have your say.

Third Period

Before we get started, the stat crew here has adjusted the shot total and taken away the Penguins' two shots on goal originally credited for the second period. So that means Buffalo had a 14-0 edge in the period and the Pens have gone 26:17 without a shot. It's the first time Pittsburgh has ever gone shotless in a road game (it happened to the Pens in Mellon Arena against San Jose on Nov. 23, 2003).

It's the first time the Sabres have held an opponent without a shot in a period since they blanked the Kansas City Scouts (remember them?) on March 21, 1976 in the Aud.

Also means the Sabres have to be kicking themselves that this one is only tied. UPDATE: The stat crew gave the Penguins their two shots back. Hey guys, make up your minds!

Crosby_1st_312:42 left: Not many whistles again as it's still 1-1. Mike Ryan had the best chance for the Sabres but was denied by Conklin. Miller stopped Crosby's backhander at the end of the last shift. Pittsburgh had a 5-1 edge in shots to this point. Remember: We're 2:42 away from a hard whistle at the 10-minute mark.

10:00 left: The hard whistle and end-switch turned out to be meaningless. The puck was in the neutral zone and went harmlessly into the Pittsburgh end as the horn sounded. The zambonis are out and we're gearing up for the last 10 minutes.

7:24 left: A new hole has cropped up in the faceoff circle at the tunnel end. Wonder how much worse the ice is going to get as the snow continues. This looks more serious. The dry ice tank is creating more smoke as they patch the hole.

As for the game, this one has belied the name of being a "classic". The fans are having a good time though. They just spent this time out with Sweet Caroline and Cotton Eyed Joe and it appears almost no one has left.

2:41 left: The Sabres have just been called for icing and called timeout to get the troops some rest against Sidney Crosby's line. The Penguins have had the better of the play with a 12-3 edge in shots in this period. Miller just stopped Crosby from in tight. And the snow is coming down hard.

End of the period: Conklin robbed Toni Lydman with 6.4 seconds left so we're going to overtime -- BUT the Sabres will do it on the power play. Just as the buzzer went off, Colby Armstrong was whistled for hooking, pulling down Jason Pominville in front. Cheap call but the Sabres will take it. Buffalo has a 30-25 edge in shots through regulation.

Second period

Sab_goal18:35: Tim Connolly, Ales Kotalik and Daniel Paille just put on a sensational shift. It ended with Connolly feeding Brian Campbell for a wrist shot from the circle over Conklin's shoulder to tie the game at 1-1 (left). Only took the Sabres 81:25 to beat Conklin. Interesting move by Lindy Ruff to switch centers, putting Connolly with Kotalik and Paille and Paul Gaustad with Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville. Gaustad followed the goal with a good shift of his own, featuring three solid hits.

13:17 left: Just got the word that there's 11,500 folks in HSBC Arena watching on the HD board. Amazing. Just noticed here that everyone in the lower level is standing for the entire game, giving things a very collegiate feel. But it's probably because the fans in the obstructed views (rows 1-7) are standing to see something, leaving the folks in the better spots above them no choice. Still looks pretty cool though even if some folks are probably bent out of shape about it.

9:09 left: The snow and sleet is falling again and the zambonis are back out. Wonder what Lindy Ruff said between periods? The Sabres have an 11-0 advantage in shots on goal thus far in this period and it's 20-11 overall.

End of the period: Not many whistles in the last half of that period. One reason is that it's basically impossible to ice the puck with all the snow around. The score remains tied at 1-1 and the Sabres had a 15-2 edge in shots on goal. That gives Buffalo a 23-13 bulge through two. The Penguins didn't put one on Miller until Tyler Kennedy was stopped with 1:54 left -- and even that play appeared as if Miller didn't touch the puck.

Pittsburgh went the final 6:17 of the first period with no shots, meaning Miller saw no pucks for nearly 24 1/2 minutes.

The attendance has been announced at 71,217.

First period

The teams take the ice at 1:15 p.m. as fire and smoke escort them out of the tunnel. Quite a sight. Nolan Pratt and Drew Stafford are the Sabres' scratches while Gary Roberts, who broke his leg in Saturday's collision with Tim Connolly is out for the Penguins. The temperature has been announced at 33 degrees.

It was a Super Bowl-style show showcasing the Doug Allen on the Canadian anthem and Ronan Tynan on God Bless America. A Blackhawk helicopter flyover, fireworks. Flags at each end zone. There's your Kodak moment before we even start play -- and the snow is letting up.

19:39: The Penguins score after 21 seconds as Sidney Crosby gets around Brian Campbell and Colby Armstrong pounds home a loose puck. So much for momentum from the crowd.

17:53: Adam Mair says welcome home to Brooks Orpik, dumping the Pens' defenseman and East Amherst native in the corner with the game's first crunching check.

13:30: The Sabres kill Tim Connolly's hooking penalty as Ryan Miller makes a couple of huge saves on Evgeni Malkin. Officials seem pretty intent on moving this one along because of the snow. There hasn't been any dilly-dallying to get faceoffs going.

12:44: A hooking penalty to Maxim Afinogenov puts the Penguins on the power play again. The snow is certainly posing a challenge. Going to be tough to ice the puck with this snow on top of the surface. Nice break for the Pens on this power play though as the snow has stopped.

Lindy_jacket9:54 left: The Penguins still lead, 1-0, at the halfway mark of the period and have an 8-5 edge in shots. Quite a snow cover on the ice so they're bringing out the zambonis for a quick sweep. Hope the TV cameras swoop in on the Sabres' bench. Lindy Ruff and his assistants have neat varsity style leather Sabres jackets on (right). Look even better than those old blue Sabrejaks from the 70s! Remember them?

7:43 left: Thomas Vanek is sent out for holding, giving the Penguins their third power play of the period. There continues to be a problem with the ice in the Buffalo end with a large chip forming. Good note by analyst Harry Neale on the radio -- that's 38 penalty minutes for Vanek. And a lot of them were probably like this one, a lazy penalty in the offensive zone.

6:58 left: Colby Armstrong goes off for interference, nullifying the power play. And the crowd gives some Bronx cheers for a call going Buffalo's way.

3:43 left: The same spot inside the Buffalo is giving the Ice guru trouble. The goalposts are giving the shooters trouble. Ryan Malone and Derek Roy clanked pipes on consecutive rushes and the Pens still lead, 1-0.

End of the Period: It's still 1-0 for the Pens and the visitors have an 11-9 edge in shots. So for those scoring at home, that's four straight scoreless periods against Ty Conklin. Unacceptable. Malkin leads the Penguins with five shots, while Afinogenov has three for Buffalo.

(Photos: Mark Mulville and Harry Scull/Buffalo News)

Black, gold and powder blue caravan

Just wandered around The Ralph, including a stop at the top of the stadium, and it's amazing. The people in the upper section have the best seats, without a doubt.

Another intriguing sight is the number of Penguins fans in the house. Sidney Crosby's 87, in the usual black and retro blue variations, is all over the place. So, Penguins followers, how'd you get all the tickets? Nice job.

Speaking of jerseys, if I could have the money from one minute worth of souvenir sales inside the stadium, I could take off until after the All-Star break.

And as far as game notes go, Sabres PR guru Kevin Snow locked up the note of the year on the first day. He writes: "Both the Sabres and Penguins are 0-0-0 all-time on Tuesdays in January when playing a game outdoors."

Eat your heart out, Elias Sports Bureau.

---John Vogl

Live from the Ralph: The Ice Bowl pregame

1:05: The snow is picking up but the wind has died down. The crowd roared as a countdown to NBC's sign-on was held. Bob Costas did his opening outside the network's booth standing on the stadium infield with Mike Milbury. Don Cherry, meanwhile, has yet to leave the CBC booth.

12:56: The warmup is over and the snow is really flying. Pens winger Georges Laraque just told CBC to expect a lot of dump and chase if the snow keeps up. No way to really control where your passes are going.

12:41: Accompanied by the Celtic Spirit Pipe Band, the teams enter the ice for warmups emerging from the tunnel to a huge roar. The Penguins bear left, wearing their white toques, and the Sabres go right to enter the ice. Some Sabres have helmets, some have hoods. Classic Sabres white jerseys. The best!

12:40 p.m.: Kid in a Sabres jersey is on the jumbotron with a sign that reads, "Look Mom, no roof."

12:38 p.m.: The snow is picking up again. Glad I DVR'd CBC. What a terrific video they did at the opening of their telecast highlighting Sabres history. They put it up in here on the jumbotron. In the house, Kevin Sylvester is interviewing Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale, who are resplendent in their Russian-style hats and parkas.

12:18 p.m.: The media bozo award goes to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times, who complained in his column today that the NHL should be playing the game in New York City. Spare me, pal. You want to be in New York City today, nothing's stopping you. Go move there.

12:05 p.m.: The snow has stopped and the skies are cloudy, making for just about perfect conditions. It's just a tad breezy but we should be good to go for an opening faceoff at around 1:20. Hasek's Heroes Kids in Sabres and Penguins jerseys are on the mini rink playing shinny near the tunnel end -- using boots for nets -- and the television cameras are all over them.

CBC's pregame show starts at 12:30 and Elliotte Friedman did a terrific piece on the Aud, complete with a locker room tour from Rene Robert. I've got it DVRd to see that -- and to catch Don Cherry and Ron MacLean. Seriously now, Costas or Cherry? No contest.

---Mike Harrington

The gates are open

The snow is still falling gently and the first fans are coming into the seating bowl, with Sabres and Penguins jersey both represented. The early birds got a treat with the end of Ronan Tynan's rehearsal of "God Bless America" from the stage set up on the corner of the field at the scoreboard end. At the tunnel end are booths for CBC and NBC.

NHL officials are skating on the ice testing it out and the zamboni making more passes. A couple Pittsburgh reporters just told me some Penguins were complaining about a hole that developed just inside the blue line at the tunnel end of the ice near the end of yesterday's practice. Worth watching to see if the ice starts to break down at all in the third period.

---Mike Harrington

Winter Wonderland at the Ralph

Good morning and Happy 2008 from the Ice Bowl!

The cover of the game program for the NHL Winter Classic has some Penguin and Sabre figurines playing hockey in a snow globe and it's a perfect picture because that's what we have this morning in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The snow is gently falling with a light breeze and it's the kind of postcard scene that NBC and CBC were probably dreaming of. The zamboni is on the ice and there will be no problems if the weather stays like this. The tailgate parties are in full swing. You're expecting the Bills to come bursting out of the tunnel.

If you're coming down, take a look atop the upper decks. The NFL flags have been replaced by large flags for each NHL team. The Western Conference clubs are on the press box side while the Eastern Conference are on the visitors' side of the field. Nice touch.

---Mike Harrington

It's a great day for hockey

VanekpetersThat's the famous quote from late Penguins coach Bob Johnson, who led the team to its first Stanley Cup in 1991 but succumbed to brain cancer five months later. And a placard with those words is the last thing Pittsburgh players see on the wall as they exit the dressing room in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Those words fit what we saw at the Ralph on Monday and here's hoping the weather holds out so we'll say it again Tuesday for the Winter Classic. There was nothing mundane about the teams' practices Monday. Sure, this is a pretty gimmicky affair but players on both sides loved their throwback jerseys and all you saw were smiles in both dressing rooms afterward.

"It's so cool to be out here to be in such a big stadium," said Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. "I can only imagine what it's going to be like tomorrow."

"I didn't know what to expect," said Thomas Vanek. "I saw the pictures of the stadium a few weeks ago and it looked cool. But being in the middle of it and looking up, it's a lot cooler than I saw in the pictures."

The Penguins took the ice 10 minutes early, about 2:50. They stayed out for 90 minutes when they were only scheduled for 60. Star Sidney Crosby was one of the last ones off the ice.

"It's a beautiful day. It's perfect weather," Crosby said. "It's not like it's too cold to stay out. So it's something I think we're all enjoying."

The Sabres were going through the normal practice routine -- complete with an itinerary taped to the glass -- but the setting was so unique that Ruff scrapped the plan.

"I looked at our practice sheet and I said, "We've got to get rid of the last couple drills and let them scrimmage,' " Ruff said. "Let them get back to playing a little pond hockey for 10 minutes, let them enjoy it and don't worry about the structure of the practice. If somebody gives the puck away, let's just let them play. It felt like the right thing to do."

---Mike Harrington

(Photo: A bundled Thomas Vanek, left, and Andrew Peters share a laugh at practice/Associated Press)

Miller eager for run-and-gun

As usual, Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was as confident as could be today during the Winter Classic news conferences. The Sabres lost to the Penguins, 2-0, Saturday, and Miller can't wait for the rematch.

He hopes it turns into a wide-open affair, even though Pittsburgh has the world's best player in Sidney Crosby.

"That would favor us becuase Lindy [Ruff] has been all over the guys to stay tight on defense," Miller said. "If they want to run-and-gun, I think we've got the team for it."

---John Vogl

Sabres hit the ice -- with Spacek wearing the 'C'

The Sabres' practice in Ralph Wilson Stadium is under way and it was quite a sight to see the players and staff bundled up in the cold and flurries. Thomas Vanek appeared to be the most bundled of all (isn't he an Austrian who played college in Minnesota?). The Sabres took the ice in their throwback jerseys to get acclimated to the rink and take an official team picture around the Winter Classic logo. Then the players changed into their practice sweaters.

The throwbacks, however, gave away one of Lindy Ruff's big secrets of the day -- Jaroslav Spacek has been named the team's January captain, replacing defense partner Brian Campbell. Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville have been named assistants.

Spacek has been one of the team's biggest surprises this season and has stepped into a major role after being buried during last year's playoffs. Now he's going to be the Buffalo captain for the most-attended game in NHL history.

Good call by Ruff?

---Mike Harrington

Outdoor hockey Swiss style

As part of Tuesday's must-read preview section commemorating the Winter Classic -- there's your promo -- we'll have a look back at previous outdoor games in North America and overseas. The most recent came in January, when a European record crowd of 30,076 saw the 100th meeting of two rivals in Bern, Switzerland. SC Bern, coached by former Sabres defenseman John Van Boxmeer, beat SC Langnau, 5-2, in the city's soccer stadium.

Check out some of the video from the scene at this one. No snow, so not an Ice Bowl. But you get the idea what a rink looked like in the middle of a large field there. Note the long walk from the dressing rooms to the ice. The Sabres and Penguins will endure a similar trek before and after each period Tuesday in the Ralph.

---Mike Harrington

Terrible decision by NHL

The Winter Classic is going to be played just like every other NHL game, the league said.

Apparently, they had their fingers crossed.

Tuesday's "normal" game will have four periods. That's right. Four. If that's just like every other game, I must have been covering the wrong league the last five seasons and watching the wrong one for three decades.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly cleared up any misconceptions about the teams switching sides at the midway point of the third period. It won't be after a regular whistle near the 10-minute mark, like some (including me) figured. The horn will sound at exactly 10:00.

Sidney Crosby has a breakaway? Too bad. The Sabres are firing away and about to pop home a rebound? Tough luck.

I understand, and am all for, the league making the game fair. No team should have to skate into the wind for two periods, so splitting one of them is a good idea. But split it near the 10-minute mark. There are enough whistles. Change ends with 10:22 left or 9:51. It's close enough.

To rob the game of its mid-period flow is stupid. And for anyone thinking, "Well, what's the odds of something happening near the 10-minute mark anyway?" Surprisingly, the odds are really good. I checked four days worth of games from last week, Wednesday to Saturday, and there were seven goals scored between 9:55 and 10:13. And that's just four days! Those seven goals wouldn't have happened if the offense was halted by a horn.

I remember playing Mite hockey and each line would get exactly two minutes. That's good for 6-year-olds to keep it fair. But it's pretty bad for the NHL to mimic Mite hockey.

---John Vogl

Will it be a Classic game?

The preliminary bout between the Sabres and Penguins is over. Now it's off to the main event.

The hype is there, but will the game match it? People will be talking about the spectacle of Tuesday's Winter Classic for years. The game itself could lapse into oblivion within minutes. I asked Ty Conklin how the actual game was when he played in the Heritage Classic in Edmonton, and he said, "It was a fun event."

What can happen to make the game worthwhile? And what players will rise to stand on the grand stage? The guess here is Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby answers the call and shows he's the best player in the world, while Thomas Vanek scores twice and is Buffalo's best player.

I just hope there are more scoring chances for both teams than what we saw Saturday.

---John Vogl

Feeling blue in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- It was almost like Christmas came for the second time this week. The Penguins walked into their dressing room today after a Kids Day practice, and the Winter Classic jersey had arrived.

The Sabres and Penguins are going old-school with the outdoor game, but Pittsburgh is going further back. The blue jersey the Penguins rolled out today hasn't been worn since 1972, and the team hasn't worn anything other than black and gold since 1980. Sidney Crosby's sweater was on display for the media and players to see, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive.

"It's pretty exciting with the new jerseys and stuff," forward Colby Armstrong said. "Pretty cool. It's the first time I've actually seen it other than the Internet."

Fans thought so, too. There were more than 3,000 in attendance as the Penguins opened their skate to the public, and the team store did brisk business. It didn't take long for the blue T-shirts and jerseys to filter into the usual black and gold scheme.

Store personnel said the purchasing public is excited for the New Year's Day event, but because of the ticket scarcity that's well-known to Buffalo fans, most fans in Pittsburgh will be watching the game on television.

---John Vogl

Looking ahead is a rarity

Hockey is no different than most sports. Everyone has that one-game-at-a-time mentality. If you dare to ask about a game in the future, prepare for daggers to be shot your way.

But things have been different around the Sabres the last few days. The players are getting peppered with questions about Tuesday's outdoor game in the Ralph. At practice, after the morning skate, even after Wednesday's game against Ottawa. More and more out-of-town reporters have come to Buffalo. There will certainly be plenty of chatter about it tonight in New Jersey and things will really heat up Saturday in Pittsburgh.

It makes for an odd distraction that even coach Lindy Ruff addressed Thursday.

"From my end, it's just been focus on the game we're going to play," Ruff said. "In between games, you have to deal with some issues, travel plans, how you get players there and wives there, what time, are they going to get lost on the way, not lost?

"But it's not that big of a deal. I'm looking forward to it. If you have decent weather, it's going to be a great event. To answer questions between games, I'm OK with that. When it's game day, we focus on one thing."

---Mike Harrington

Let's go to the videotape has a video posted showing today's preparations at The Ralph for the Winter Classic next Tuesday.

See it by clicking here.

---Steve Jones, Sports Editor

Rink construction under way

It didn't take long for the NHL to learn how difficult the Winter Classic is going to be to pull off. Minutes after exiting the New York Giants locker room, I saw construction had already begun for the rink in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Good thing I have compassion, because if I didn't I'd be laughing hysterically. There are about 50 people trying to get a 200-foot tarp in the shape of the rink down on the ground. It's not going well. The wind is forcing people to trip and fall. The tarp is blowing all over. They started trying to place it near the middle of the field. Then they turned it so it was covering the width of the field, from sideline to sideline. Now they're in the end zone.

And just think, they have to do this for 24 hours a day for the next seven to 10 days. All I can say is, Good luck. If this event is pulled off, it'll be a minor miracle. Actually, if the weather keeps up, it'll be a major miracle.

---John Vogl

Live from The Ralph -- 10 days early

Hockey at Ralph Wilson Stadium got an early start. The replay of Saturday night's thriller was on the press box televisions prior to the Bills-Giants game, and about a dozen people crowded around to watch the final minute and the Sabres' tying goal.

It should be quite a sight in this stadium on New Year's. Well, if the weather isn't like today, anyway. Nothing says hockey like rain, wind and 50-degree temps! The 10-day forecast is out, and although it's hard enough to predict how it will be in an hour let alone 10 days from now, Jan. 1 looks perfect -- cloudy and 29. But the days leading up to it, important from the rink-making stanpoint, could be trouble -- three days of rain and high 30s, low 40s.

I'm trying to look at the football players warming up and judge whether fans will be able to tell who's who in a hockey uniform. I imagine, but plenty of people will have trouble seeing the puck.

Still, being here has finally gotten me excited for the game. If it's anything like the two against Philadelphia -- fun, fun hockey to watch -- it should be a day for the ages.

---John Vogl

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John Vogl

John Vogl

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.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. 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.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |