December 30, 2017
By – Lou Saulino
NHL Winter Classic – Citi Field
Is the pond at frozen yet? Get the ice skates out, a few of those 1” thick by 3” in diameter vulcanized rubber thingies, hockey sticks for all, two makeshift nets, and if you are lucky a goalie mask or two. Then hit the ice and mimic the NHL greats of the past and present like Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Henrik Lundqvist.
The New Year of 2018 will enable the viewing of the lattermost identified hockey stalwart as Henrik will lead the New York Rangers against the Buffalo Sabres in the annual NHL New Year’s Day Winter Classic which commenced in 2008. Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, will be the site of the NHL contest.
The Buffalo Sabres participated in the inaugural Winter Classic, losing in a Shoot Out to the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Rangers were victors over the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 in their sole encounter in 2012, a game which was actually played on the second day of the year.
Buffalo Sares & New York Rangers – What We Need To Know
The Sabres have been a dismal goal scoring team thus far in the 2017-2018 season. If they are to make a playoff run, their 2.17 goals per game average will require vast improvement. Evander Kane leads the team with 15, followed by the young star anticipated to lead the team for years to come, Jack Eichel, with 13. Yet, more was expected of players such as former New York Islander, Kyle Okposo, who has caused the goal light to register a mere five times in 34 games. The paucity of pucks crossing the goal line is foremost in the Buffalo anemic record of 9-20-7.
The Rangers have not hit full stride but have managed a bottom tier playoff team record of 20-13-5. The Ranger fan base chant of “Henreeek, Henreeek , Henreeek” continues to echo throughout Madison Square Garden as the Blue Shirt crowd recognizes the principal reason for team success. Henrik Lundqvist is still the “King”of New York hockey. Ryan McDonagh remains the Ranger stalwart on defense, while Mats Zuccarello leads the team in total points and Michael Grabner, with 17, is the most prolific goal scorer. Center, Mika Zibanejad, now 24, is the heir apparent for future stardom.
NHL & www.statementgames.com
Select NHL tournamnents can now be played on www.statementgames.com! For the Winter Classic tournament… I’ll give you two statements from my crystal ball that you can count on relative to game events.
- Henrik WILL NOT ALLOW OVER TWO GOALS and
- The Rangers WILL SCORE a POWER PLAY GOAL
The atmosphere in Queens, New York is sure to bring joy to hockey fans on January 1, 2018. The Citi Field crowd will be boisterous well before the first puck is dropped. Enjoy the game and Happy New Year to all!