Happy New Year! Hopefully your head doesn’t hurt too much this morning, because it’s probably only going to get worse. After all, the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing today.
The Winter Classic matchup between the Leafs and Detroit Red Wings has been a long time coming. The event was originally scheduled for last year on this date, but was postponed due to the lockout that wiped out half the season.
This time around, the NHL plans to cash in on the outdoor game, as Michigan Stadium is set to break record attendance levels for the match. In addition, there will be five other outdoor games spread throughout the NHL schedule.
As James Mirtle writes, it’s easy to become cynical about the commercial aspect of the game, but really, it’s a pretty cool opportunity for the players. There are few things I enjoy more than playing some shinny on an outdoor rink, and I imagine the players feel similarly.
If you’re in Ann Arbor to take in the festivities, hopefully you brought your toque and winter coat. As the Canadian Press reports, organizers are expecting 10-15 centimetres of snow during the game. The precipitation will make ice conditions worse, so don’t expect a free-flowing contest.
The Toronto Marlies and Grand Rapids Griffins experienced those less-than-ideal outdoor conditions at Comerica Park on Monday evening. Drew MacIntyre let in a howler in the second period when he slipped trying to move his skate back to cover the post. MacIntyre left the post uncovered, and Luke Glendening’s shot from a bad angle snuck by him.
The Marlies went on to win the wild affair 4-3 in a shootout. You can read about all the wackiness in this recap from the Associated Press.
Finally, you may have heard about Dion Phaneuf’s contract extension yesterday. I haven’t heard from many people who disagreed with the deal from the Leafs’ standpoint, but Dave Lozo of Bleacher Report is one who fits in that category.
Enjoy the festivities today!