Kukla's Korner Hockey
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from Dan Rosen of NHL.com,
The players and coaches have done their share of personal prep work for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, such as securing enough tickets and making sure their families got on the University of Michigan ice to skate.
However, such prep work pales in comparison to the ongoing efforts put forth by the hardest-working guys associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings these days.
The equipment managers and their staffs are in charge of making sure every player is comfortable enough to play at a top level and every coach is warm enough to work the bench the way they normally would in an indoor game.
Preparing their teams for the Winter Classic has been the equivalent of a second full-time job for Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer and Maple Leafs equipment manager Brian Papineau.
"For the last six weeks, it seems like your main focus is getting ready for this big event," Papineau told NHL.com as he watched the Maple Leafs practice Tuesday. "As excited as we are to be here and to be a part of it, it will be rewarding when it's over to look back at a lot of good memories."
Below watch Paul Boyer, equipment manager for the Detroit Red Wings, as he discusses all the preparations he has gone through for the Winter Classic.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Make no mistake about it, this year's game has an added ingredient thrown into mix: the absolute desperation of wanting those two points in the standings, knowing they could make the difference in making it come April. Neither one of these clubs has banked any kind of insurance in the standings.
"It's a huge game," veteran Wings forward Dan Cleary, eye-black dripping down his face, said Tuesday after his team's outdoor practice. "We understand it's a divisional opponent. We know where we sit. We know where Toronto sits. We need to get going."
There's raw tension to this matchup, pitting two clubs who have had their ups and downs -- mostly downs -- over the past while. Both Original Six rivals are tied with 45 points, each holding the two wild-card spots in the Eastern Conference. It makes the New Year's Day tilt all the more enticing.
"I think that makes it even more important and special," said Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg. "I heard some talk that it shouldn't be a division game, it should be East against West, but I think this is how it should be. It is two very important points on the line."
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
So you arrive in Detroit — a.k.a. Murder City, a.k.a. Pottersville, a.k.a Bankruptcy USA — and you expect to see desolation and decay and decline, a city in chaos.
Except it isn’t that way at all.
Well, it wasn’t on Monday night, when a pleasant (if frigid) walk back from Comerica Park to the Renaissance Centre on the Detroit River, interrupted by a lovely dinner at a seafood spot with live music, took a couple of media folks through about 10 blocks of what seemed to be anything but a dead downtown.
There were Christmas lights, lots of them, and a variety of evening spots lit up for the evening. Nothing threatening, no sign of trouble. It was a walk you might not have recommended 15 or 20 years ago, but now felt more than safe.
In other words, anything but a bankrupt city hurtling downhill.
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun of ESPN talk all things Winter Classic.
Sportsnet's Hockey Central at Noon broadcast today from Comerica Park in Detroit.
Curtis Joseph joined them for a segment and talked Wings/Leafs including a little Holland jab and says Holmstrom is the "biggest pain in the butt" he has ever played against.
from Bob Sullivan of Sporting Charts,
‘TWAS THE DAY OF THE WINTER CLASSIC
'Twas the day of the Winter Classic, when all through the Big House,
the bleachers were stirring as I sat with my spouse.
The boards were erected on the field with such care,
in hopes that the Leafs and Wings soon would be there.
Each fan was nestled all snug in their seat,
privileged to witness such a rare hockey treat.
And my wife in her Wings jersey, and I in my Leafs hat,
had just settled in for the afternoon’s spat.
When out on the ice there arose such a noise,
we sprang from our seats to cheer on our boys.
Shaking our hands on a friendly little bet,
the puck was dropped, the players were set.
My Leafs pushed the play under some new-fallen snow.
The Buds came out firing with plenty of flow.
Phaneuf with the blast; JVR with the tip.
Before the crowd knew, it’s Toronto one-zip.
NEW YORK (December 23, 2013) – The 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the New Year’s Day outdoor game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at The Big House® on the University of Michigan campus (1:00 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS), will feature performances by members of the Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, singer/songwriter Mayer Hawthorne and Juno Award-winning recording artists The Tenors; the announcement of the rosters for the 2014 U.S. Olympic men’s and women’s ice hockey teams; a flyover of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) CF-18 fighter jets and a Canada-United States color guard; and appearances by Ann Arbor and Detroit-area youth hockey players.
The entertainment for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series™ and 2014 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ is being produced by RK Productions in association with Big Monkey Entertainment.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org