Thursday, December 29, 2011
NHL Winter Classic: Players, coaches to sit in dugout during game; line changes to be very complicated
Philadelphia--Despite the baseball dugouts being more than 30 yards from the rink at Citizens Bank Park, the Rangers' and Flyers' players and coaches have all agreed to sit in the below-field level benches during the NHL Winter Classic on Monday. "The dugouts are far from the action but we wanted to honor the game of baseball during this great outdoor game," said Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers' Swedish-born goaltender, who became overly embarrassed when he was informed that there was no such thing as a 'walk-off first down' in baseball (or any sport for that matter). Coaches will have to overextend their voice boxes (larynges) in order to communicate effectively with the athletes on the ice. Meanwhile, players making line changes will need to run or briskly walk more than 30 yards to the rink gate from the dugout on a rubber mat for each substitution. "It'll be exhausting, but I've aways wanted to visit the Phillies dugout," said James van Riemsdyk, Flyers' left winger from Middleton, NJ. "They should make a little ice path from the dugouts to the rink ... but I know they won't." The NHL may permit the two clubs to each use a golf cart to shuttle players back and forth from the dugout to the ice.