ESPN: Our grades from the Winter Classic - Weather: If you are grading the weather on the optics, this was Western New York weather at its best -- swirling snow, but not as bitterly cold as the 2003 Heritage Classic in Edmonton. Someone suggested the stadium looked like a giant snow globe. If you are grading the weather as it related to the game itself, well, the snow pretty much made passing and seeing the puck impossible, especially in the third period. . .
Overall grade: When you decide to take your game into Mother Nature's backyard, you never know what kind of reception you're going to get. That's part of the allure of these events. But, by the end of the afternoon, with the snow piling up and the ice breaking down, it seemed less magical than when the game started. Grade: B-plus.
National Post [Canada]: 2nd & Short: Winter Classic by the numbers -- The Count 71,217 The NHL record-setting attendance number for New Year's Day Winter Classic outdoor games between Pittsburgh and Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. An additional 11,500 watched the Penguins score a 2-1 shootout win on the big screen at HSBC Arena in downtown Buffalo.
2 Number of outdoor games in front of 70,000-plus fans Sabres' goalie Ryan Miller and Penguins' forward Adam Hall have now played. Both were part of the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan State University and the University of Michigan — which is still the largest-ever crowd at a hockey game with 74,544 in attendance. . .
NY Times: Winter Wonderland for Crosby and N.H.L. - With more than 71,000 fans filling a football stadium that at times resembled a snow globe, the N.H.L. had a storybook setting for its outdoor game Tuesday between the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins. . .
NY Times: The Perfect Snowstorm: The Winter Classic Scores - The National Hockey League needed a game like Tuesday’s outdoor Winter Classic. In its fight for the attention of sports fans, it requires events that set it apart. It needed a tight game . . .
AP: NHL, Penguins Winners in Winter Classic -- Snow, a sold-out football stadium and Sidney Crosby scoring the shootout winner. The NHL couldn't have scripted a better finish for its showcase event, the Winter Classic outdoor game, to kick off 2008. . .
Buffalo News: In cold light of day, this was no instant classic - The NHL has constantly grappled, and without much success, over how best to sell hockey in the United States. It emerged from the lockout of three seasons ago with a new set of rules and promises of strict enforcement. But enforcement waned and scoring diminished and the sport returned to the stranglehold of coaches with defensive bents, spoiling the game’s natural beauty and attraction.
The league needs to find ways to extract and emphasize the talents of its gifted players and capture the imaginations of its fans. The winning shootout goal scored by Crosby fit the script. But the 65 minutes of rag-tag hockey it took to reach that point did little to enhance the league’s allure.