Fans planning to attend the Winter Classic outdoor hockey game at Wrigley Field on Jan. 1 will want to carefully check the seating chart for the best view.
“The upper deck will probably be the best seats,” Chicago Cubs chairman Crane Kenney told the Associated Press. “The bleachers, as well, but it’s the world turned upside down. Being down right next to the field, you’ll have a little difficulty with the boards.”
The Winter Classic will pair the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier this week, the ice-making equipment arrived at the field and an all-time Blackhawks great hitched a brief ride inside the refrigeration trailer.
“I wish I could have played in one of these,” Bobby Hull told reporters, thinking wistfully about the Jan. 1 game. “A 19-to-20-degree day with snowflakes falling would be perfect.”
What is the NHL record for the biggest crowd to witness a regular-season game?
A deadly kick
Argentine soccer player Gaston Aguirre joined an unwanted list when a ball he kicked landed in a group of pigeons situated in the corner of the field.
A burst of feathers ensued and the pigeons flew away -- except one.
“I kicked the ball and, poor pigeon,” Aguirre, a defender for the club team San Lorenzo, told the Associated Press. “Now I will be remembered as the pigeon killer.”
Aguirre hit the bird during the 2-1 victory against Tigre in a three-team round-robin for the Argentine league championship. Several players surrounded the wounded bird as it tried to fly away, but the bird collapsed. Eventually, referee Saul Laverni scooped up the dead pigeon and placed it off the field.
Aguirre joins Dave Winfield and Randy Johnson as athletes who have killed birds during competition. In 1983, Winfield, then a New York Yankees outfielder, killed a seagull with a warmup throw during a game in Toronto. In 2001, Johnson was pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a spring training game when one of his pitches struck a dove.
Winfield was charged with animal cruelty, but the charge was eventually dropped.
Fallout from this latest lost Cleveland Browns season includes wide receiver Braylon Edwards complains how fans in Ohio never cut the former University of Michigan star any breaks.
"I'm not Paul Warfield, Webster Slaughter or Jim Brown," Edwards said told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I've given my all to this city for four years, and I realize it will never be enough. I went to the Pro Bowl last year and resurrected this team from the darkness, and nobody cared."
Edwards’ comments raise a quick question: The Browns were resurrected from the darkness?
The first Winter Classic, held last year at the Buffalo Bills’ Ralph Wilson Stadium, drew a league record 72,217 fans. The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the host Buffalo Sabres, 2-1, in a shootout.
From Mark Kriegel of FoxSports.com: “No one’s talking about the human cost of the canceled Arena League season. It’s so bad there’s word that Philadelphia Soul owner Jon Bon Jovi might even go back on tour.”
-- Mike Penner
Photo: Workers construct an outdoor ice rink for the NHL Winter Classic to be played on Jan. 1 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Credit: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images