It's official: Wings play outdoors at Wrigley on Jan. 1
BY GEORGE SIPPLE • FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER • July 17, 2008
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James Wisniewski grew up in Canton dreaming of playing hockey and baseball.
Now the Chicago defenseman will get a chance to play hockey at Wrigley Field when the Blackhawks host the Red Wings on New Year's Day.
The Winter Classic 2009, featuring two Original Six clubs in one of the great baseball stadiums, will be the 701st meeting between the teams.
No other NHL teams have met more times in the regular season.
The 1 p.m. game will be broadcast nationally by NBC, and by CBC and RDS throughout Canada.
"That's once-in-a-lifetime right there," Wisniewski said Wednesday.
The Wings will forgo their annual New Year's Eve game to play in the Classic.
General manager Ken Holland has requested 5,000 tickets from the league, some of which would be given to players' families. While it's not known how remaining tickets will be distributed, Holland said he hoped fans would be able to "spend New Year's Eve in Chicago and then watch your Red Wings play on New Year's Day."
Echoing Wisniewski, he added: "That's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Wisniewski, addressing rumors that the Winter Classic might have been played at Yankee Stadium in New York, said: "Somehow, we ended up getting it. I think it's going to be pretty good, especially with our team on the rise and Detroit the defending Stanley Cup champions."
Last year's Winter Classic was played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills. The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, in a shoot-out that drew immense publicity for the league and a record crowd of 71,217.
Atlanta: The Thrashers have agreed to undisclosed terms with their goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, a restricted free agent.
Buffalo: The Sabres signed left wing Daniel Paille, a restricted free agent, to a multiyear contract.
Edmonton: Center Shawn Horcoff (Michigan State) signed a six-year, $33-million contract extension. The 29-year-old scored 21 goals and 50 points in 53 games last season before undergoing surgery on his left shoulder.
LOS ANGELES: Terry Murray has been hired as the new coach of the Kings. A team spokesman said Murray will be introduced today at a news conference at the Kings' training facility in suburban El Segundo. Murray coached the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals 11 years ago.
N.Y. Islanders: The Islanders agreed to terms on two-year deals with forwards Sean Bergenheim ($1.725 million) and Jeff Tambellini ($1.175 million). Bergenheim scored 10 goals and 22 points in 78 games with the Islanders last season, while Tambellini (Michigan) scored 38 goals and 76 points in 57 games with their AHL affiliate, Bridgeport.
Contact GEORGE SIPPLE at 313-223-4796 or email@example.com
. Check out his Red Wings blog at www.freep.com/sports
. Free Press news services contributed.http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article? ... 70428/1053