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Blues, Wild bracing for below zero temperatures at 2022 Winter Classic

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Saturday’s 2022 NHL Winter Classic will bring cold, and a lot of cold.

When the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild hit the ice in the spotlight at Target Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, the temperature is expected to reach a low. high of -3 degrees Fahrenheit to throw the puck at 7 p.m. ET. It is negative 3, which would make it the coldest away game in league history.

The weather will be a drastic change from the Winter Classic, which took place at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in 2020. This afternoon’s game between the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators featured a temperature of 54 degrees at the time. falling puck.

Fans inside Target Field will need to be prepared for arctic temperatures, but they will have help. The NHL will be handing out 40,000 hand warmers and you can imagine there will be more than enough blankets, sweatshirts and winter hats available in the merchandise pits.

Adapt to the cold

Brandon Duhaime of the Wild grew up in South Florida and has never played in an outdoor game. His family and friends saw the forecast for Saturday night and are worried about the rookie winger.

β€œI saw the tweets. Everyone blows me up about it, ”Duhaime said earlier this week. β€œMy mom, girlfriend and sister are freaking out about it and kind of stressing me out about how cold it’s going to be. But everyone is going to play under the same conditions about it and they text me to tell me how cold it is going to be.

Duhaime played junior hockey in Canada and went to college in Providence, Rhode Island, so he knows what winter has to offer.

“[My family] moved to Florida to get out of this time, ”he said. β€œMy mother hates the cold. She keeps it at 76 degrees in the house. She will have to fight for those three or four hours or so.

The Blues-Wild Winter Classic will be the NHL’s 33rd modern outdoor game. The 2003 Heritage Classic between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton saw a temperature of 0 degrees at the time of the throw-off. Freezing weather was also observed during the 2014 Winter Classic in Edmonton. Michigan Stadium and the 2017 NHL Centennial Classic in Ottawa (both 13 degrees). Target Field will present a weather that could “be as cold as in Siberia,” according to Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who grew up in the region in Russia.

Outdoor games are always great for goalies. Not only do they have to adapt to sightlines depending on whether the game is being played at a baseball or football stadium, but they also have to manage the amount of layers they need under their equipment depending on the conditions.

Jose Theodore’s beanie is a great souvenir from the NHL’s away game, but Jordan Binnington and Cam Talbot will likely need more than a winter hat to be comfortable. Despite being Binnington’s first, Talbot was involved in six of them, starting two.

β€œI try not to add too much,” said Talbot. β€œYou are sweating enough and I hope it doesn’t get too windy. It’s a little worse. Obviously, if it’s windy, we’ll see if something needs to be done. But on that, I try not to change what I usually wear too much.

The Blues goalie, meanwhile, is eager to see what it’s like to play away.

“I’m just trying to take a few cold baths before the game, hopefully that will increase that a bit,” Binnington said. β€œIt’s going to be interesting. I don’t know what to expect. I see how cold it will be, but I don’t know how cold it will be. We will do our part to prepare and do our best to be ready. “

Implications for the central division

The Blues and the Wild are the top two teams in the Central Division, separated by a single point. If Minnesota wins at home, they will propel St. Louis to the top spot. So while any outdoor game is a memorable experience for players and coaches, there is still a lot of value in getting a result.

With the Blues coming off a 4-2 win Wednesday night over the Oilers, the Winter Classic will be the Wild’s first game since Dec.20, a 7-4 loss to Dallas, extending their streak to four games without. Victoire.

A win in a big home game could go a long way in reviving the team early in the new year.

“It’s not acceptable,” Wild forward Mats Zuccarello said of their 0-3-1 record in their last four games. β€œWe have to adopt a winning rhythm here. For us, it’s a big game against a good team. We let everyone soak it up and enjoy it, but for us it’s a big game.

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Sean leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Message him at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Blues, Wild preparing for sub-zero temperatures at 2022 Winter Classic originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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