Winter Classic: A ‘home run’ by the numbers

The fans were loud, the beer was cold - very cold - and the atmosphere was a tribute to the sport of hockey at the 2014 Winter Classic at the Big House.

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak, he of the game-clinching shootout goal, summed up the feeling of 105,000 or so people on a windy, snowy, slippery New Year’s Day.

“We’re going to remember this one forever,” Bozak said, after the Leafs defeated the Original Six rival Red Wings in a road game that welcomed more Toronto fans than any game waged at the Air Canada Centre.

Here are a few specific things we’ll remember from the 2014 Winter Classic, broken down in numerical form…

1 long walk to the dressing room, by Patrick Eaves after taking a cross-check to the neck form Joffrey Lupul (who served a minor penalty)

2 pencil number used by sportswriters outdoors because the ink in a pen would freeze

3 Winter Classics played by Leafs wing James van Riemsdyk, tied with Ty Conklin for the most ever

3 whacks at the puck taken by JVR before he knocked it out of midair and past Jimmy Howard to tie the game at one in the final minute of the second period: “Luckily it went in,” van Riemsdyk said.

5 stoppages in play to scrape the ice with shovels in the first period alone

12 shovel-armed scrapers who skated out a time. “I thought it was still playable with them shoveling the snow,” said Daniel Alfredsson. “On the timeouts when they’re shoveling the snow, that’s when you really try to take it all in.”

-10°C temperature during the game (not including wind chill)

5 suspensions Red Wings alumnus Brendan Shanahan, who was expecting to get booed in the Alumni Showdown has dished out to Maple Leafs this season: “It comes with the territory,” Shanahan said, smiling. “We had enough Wings fans to drown out some of the people. With my job, you’re the bearer of bad news.”

1995 release year of Oasis’s “Wonderwall,” the backdrop to Hockey Night in Canada’s always-stellar intro montage:

1 p.m. time, on Tuesday, of puck drop for the Leafs-Wings Alumni Showdown in Detroit

1:30 p.m. time, on Tuesday, of the Leafs’ press conference in Ann Arbor to announce Dion Phaneuf’s seven-year extension

45 minutes minimum it takes to drive between Detroit and Ann Arbor in optimal conditions

0 chance of a non-superhero attending both events

$70 price of “cheap” parking spotted a kilometre’s walk away from the Big House

$9 price of a domestic beer inside the Big House

100% chance the mountains on that can of beer indicate that it’s cold enough to drink

100% of the players’ water bottles that were frozen during the game. “Nothing came out. That was a big thing—trying to stay hydrated,” said Justin Abdelkader. “The water wasn’t coming out of the bottles, so you had to unscrew the cap to get it out.”

3,688 gallons of hot chocolate that were expected to be brewed at Michigan Stadium on game day

82 NBC cameras filming the game

4 of the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the U.S. since 1975 were Winter Classics

$4,000,000 cap hit of former Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Tim Gleason, who was traded to the Maple Leafs during the game

$3,875,000 cap hit of former Maple Leaf John-Michael Liles, who was healthy-scratched before puck drop and is off to Carolina

41 saves made by winning goaltender Jonathan Bernier, whose sweet toque remained on all game. “I did try it out in practice the day before. I found with the holes we have in our helmet, it actually kept me warm,” Bernier said. “And it looked good, too.”

2 hands Bernier shoved down the back of his pants during breaks to warm up his mitts; Bernier says the trainer supplied him with hot packets before he hit the ice, which he then hid in his pants

53 length, in feet, of the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit, specially built for the Winter Classic

171 miles between Muskegon, Mich., birthplace of Abdelkader, and Ann Arbor. Abdelkader scored a clutch third-period goal to force overtime and give the Wings a standings point. ”It’s definitely one of my bigger goals,” he said, “unfortunately it didn’t come in a win.”

55,000 approximate number of Leafs fans lustily booing Daniel Alfredsson after he scored the game’s opening goal. “I knew they were going to invade Ann Arbor pretty hard. They’re passionate hockey fans there as well,” Alfie said. “It was pretty cool up the stands, seeing the red and the blue leafs.”

20 age Wings coach Mike Babcock told Alfredsson, who missed Monday’s game due to back spasms, he wasn’t. “Alfie, you’re not 20,” Babcock said on Tuesday. “You play in tomorrow’s game if you’re ready to play in tomorrow game; you don’t play in tomorrow’s game because it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

3 minutes Alfredsson estimates he was on the ice during Tuesday’s practice: “I couldn’t really tell until after skated. I felt more improvements today, so it was great to be out there. I don’t think anybody wants to [miss this game], but at the same time you gotta be smart and not risk future problems.”

2:30 mark of overtime that the horn blared mid-play to signal the teams switch ends. Henrik Zetterberg had a partial breakaway, the horn spoiling a Red Wings scoring chance. “I would have had a clear breakaway,” Zetterberg said. “The buzzer went. I was like, oh, man. But that’s the rules. Nothing you can do about it.”

0 weapons fans were allowed into the Big House, according to a posted sign

105,491 people who watched history on New Year’s Day 2014

8 of them who weren’t jumping around to stay warm when the House of Pain classic blared during the third period (estimate)

265,226 total spectators in attendance at the first five NHL Winter Classics

4 bases touched by Mike Babcock’s metaphor, which succinctly summed up the event: “Today was a home run for hockey.”

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