“You throw in the uncertainty of the weather, a great old rivalry, and a little eye black – it’s the best.” – Doc Emrick
“It’s about dealing with the elements, the snow piles on the ice, the wind, the shield getting wet…it’s almost like driving without your windshield wipers.” Eddie Olczyk
STAMFORD, Conn. – January 1, 2014 – NBC Sports presented the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. this afternoon. More than 100,000 fans were on hand at Michigan Stadium to see the Maple Leafs defeat the Red Wings, by a score of 3-2 in a shootout, in a game played outdoors in 13-degree weather.
Emmy Award-winner Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (play-by-play) opened the broadcast and was followed by NHL Live’s Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick at ice level. Emmy Award-winning “Inside-the-Glass” analyst Pierre McGuire and NHL Live analyst Keith Jones conducted pregame interviews with Toronto’s Phil Kessel and Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg from inside the team’s respective locker rooms.
Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and McGuire joined Emrick for the call of the game rink-side at Michigan Stadium, marking the first broadcast of an NHL game at ice level in NBC Sports history. McHugh, Milbury, Roenick and Jones provided analysis during intermissions and postgame. The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore was on hand to provide live weather updates.
In addition to the Winter Classic, NBC Sports provided live coverage of the final roster announcements for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s and Men’s Ice Hockey Teams, which took place during second intermission and following the game, respectively.
Click here for information on the U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team: http://www.usahockey.com/news_
Click here for information on the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team:
Following are highlights from today’s coverage of the NHL Winter Classic on NBC:
Emrick: “This is a throwback to old times. We have professional athletes wearing an extra layer of clothing just like they did when they were kids. One difference is their mom called them in for dinner, and that ended the game. This one is governed by referees and a clock. You throw in the uncertainty of the weather, a great old rivalry, and a little eye black – it’s the best.”
Milbury: “A long time before the adults got a hold of this game…10- and 12-year-old kids played on ponds in towns like mine in Walpole, Mass., hung out and challenged kids from other ponds. That’s where competition was born, and that’s where hockey’s spirit was born.”
Roenick: “This is what it’s all about. Feel the wind, look at the snow…I remember my mom and dad used to ring the cow bell to get me to come home. They had to do it about four or five times…we loved it.”
Olczyk: “It’s about dealing with the elements, the snow piles on the ice, the wind, the shield getting wet…it’s almost like driving without your windshield wipers.”
Emrick: “It’s interesting – there is a bulldozer available, however, it is buried beneath the ice surface at the near-side faceoff circle near us. When they were building this place in 1926, there was heavy rain on a Friday afternoon, the crew got mad and went home because of all the mud. When they came back on Monday, the bulldozer was almost completely submerged in water. So they filled in around it, and it remains down there beneath the floor of old Michigan Stadium.”
Olczyk: “I would anticipate that both of these coaches have told their power play units, ‘You get an opportunity, let it go – shoot the puck.’ Fancy’s not going to work on this ice surface right now.”
Milbury on possible Team USA Olympic Team: “You’ve got to see a lot of the same things we saw four years ago, and that’s great goaltending by (Ryan) Miller and/or (Jonathan) Quick, and a good attitude towards team defense.
Jones on possible Team USA Olympic Team: “Leadership is critically important. They’re loaded with captains – David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings, Ryan Callahan of the New York Rangers…there will be plenty of guys to get them in the right direction.”
Emrick: “I’m sure it can be grim business for the players, but the drama of this game is sure fun. Is it fun when you’re out there in the midst of it?”
Olczyk: “Any time you can have that privilege to play in the greatest league in the world, for sure. But in this environment, there’s no doubt…you don’t think a lot about it when you’re playing, but when you’re sitting there watching and looking around, that’s where you can really soak it in”
THIRD PERIOD, OVERTIME & SHOOTOUT
Emrick on Michigan State alum Justin Abdelkader’s game-tying goal: “On the campus of the University of Michigan, there’s one for State.”
Emrick following overtime: “What a frantic finish here at The Big House in Ann Arbor! 65 minutes, 69 shots fired, four in. Two aside, and the shootout will be coming.”
Emrick: Normally reserved for the end of the year, or the end of a playoff series in particular, mutual congratulations for quite an event here this afternoon, and how hard it was played.”
WINTER CLASSIC PRODUCES MOST-WATCHED NHL REGULAR-SEASON GAMES
The Winter Classic, which was co-created by NBC Sports and the NHL and debuted in 2008, has produced five of the six most-watched NHL regular-season games in the past 38 years (average viewers).
|1. 4.5 million||Jan. 1, 2011||NBC||Capitals-Penguins|
|2. 4.4 million||Jan. 1, 2009||NBC||Red Wings-Blackhawks|
|3. 3.8 million||Jan. 27, 1996||FOX||Six-game regional coverage|
|4. 3.8 million||Jan. 1, 2008||NBC||Penguins-Sabres|
|5. 3.74 million||Jan. 2, 2012||NBC||Rangers-Flyers|
|6. 3.68 million||Jan. 1, 2010||NBC||Flyers-Bruins|
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–