1. The Winter Classic is set to take place on January 1, 2008 at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo. Although tickets were made available to a few of the Penguins season ticket holders, do you feel Buffalo will prosper well in front of the home crowd?
I think the atmosphere in the stadium is going to be electric but I don't think either team will really be affected by the fans. I think the team that is able to adopt to an unfamiliar situation will benefit in this game because it will be unlike anything these guys have ever done.
2. Ryan Miller possesses some outdoor experience from his days at Michigan State. The Penguins' Ty Conklin was in net for Edmonton in the last NHL outdoor game in 2003. Do you think this makes it an even match?
I do think that it will help both goaltenders although I'm sure that the setup will be diferent than it was at Michigan State and Edmonton. Ryan Miller commented on how the sight lines will be different and that will be the biggest adjustment for the goalies.
3. What is your opinion on future NHL outdoor games being held on neutral territory? I know there are rumors circulating about a potential outdoor game next season between the Penguins and the Flyers on the grounds of Penn State - even distance between the two. Do you think the Winter Classic game would provide a different atmosphere if it was, say, being held in Montreal?
I think it is a good idea to play these outdoor games but I wouldn't make it an every year thing if I was the NHL. I think that would ruin the novelty of the event if it was done every year. If I were running the league I would probably try to do it every four years just like they do with the Olympics. Let's be honest I never watch speed skating or skiing but I do it every four years because of the novelty of the event. I think this idea would fall into that category.
4. It's unfortunate for the NHL and hockey fans alike that ratings for the sport are never exactly what you'd call "great." Do you think the NHL made a bad decision trying to compete with College Bowl games on New Year's Day, or does it provide a healthy alternative?
I don't think that the NHL will suffer by playing this game on what is traditionally a day reserved for College Football Bowl Games. College football decided to make more money by spreading out the bowl games over a week and now they will suffer a little bit by losing viewers to the novelty of an outdoor NHL game. It is unfortunate that the game will go against the Michigan/Florida game because Detroit is big market for the NHL but is also Michigan territory.