Playing outdoor hockey is becoming old hat for Ryan Miller.
Maybe this time it'll be "new tuque."
Pulling a page from the Jose Theodore playbook, the Buffalo Sabres goalie is considering wearing a tuque - a knitted ski cap - on top of his mask during the Winter Classic tomorrow afternoon (1 p.m., Channel 10) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
The look will be a la Theodore, who made the fashion statement when the then-Montreal Canadiens netminder donned one during the Heritage Classic 4 years ago at Edmonton.
"I can't think of a real comfortable way otherwise," said Miller, who also played an outdoor game at Michigan State against Michigan. "As a goalie, you get used to wearing your helmet a certain way. I don't know what I'm going to wear underneath that would make it feel the same and keep warm."
The temperature is expected to be about freezing when the Sabres play the Pittsburgh Penguins at the home of the Buffalo Bills. Predicted 20 mph winds and a forecast of snow certainly will make it feel colder, but it won't be like the subzero temperatures the Canadiens and Oilers faced in Edmonton when they played at night.
Sunshine or not, the chill will be there, and if the game is postponed until Wednesday night, who knows how frigid it could get.
There are 47 current NHL players who have participated in the three major North American outdoor hockey games in recent years.
Miller and Penguins forward Adam Hall were Michigan State teammates in 2001 when they faced Michigan in the "Cold War" game at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Pittsburgh goalie Ty Conklin and enforcer Georges Laraque were with the Oilers in the Heritage Classic.
"I remember the wind," Hall said. "I don't know how you prepare for it, but it's something that you kind of maybe expect. Some periods the wind would be behind you and you'd feel like you were flying. The next period you're changing ends and you're skating right into it, feels like you're in quicksand."
The NHL said Saturday that the Penguins and Sabres will switch sides midway through the third period and again in overtime, should it get that far. This will ensure that neither team gains an advantage if the wind or sun are greater factors at one end. Should a shootout be necessary, goalies will pick which net they want to defend.
In yesterday's games:
* At New York, Brendan Shanahan scored in overtime to give the Rangers a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens.
Shanahan was sprung on a breakaway by Chris Drury. He skated straight down on Montreal goalie Cristobal Huet and sent a 15-foot wrist shot over the goalie's left shoulder 1:06 into the extra period. Drury had tied the game with 5:51 left in regulation.
Dan Girardi and Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Rangers, while Andrei Kostitsyn scored two power-play goals for Montreal.
* At Chicago, Dustin Brown scored his second goal of the game 3:31 into overtime to give the Los Angeles Kings a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks.
Brown and Kyle Calder connected in the third period to rally the Kings from a 2-0 deficit and force overtime. Rookies Jonathan Toews and Jacob Dowell scored in regulation for the Blackhawks.
The attendance at United Center was 21,715, the Blackhawks' largest home crowd since Dec. 27, 2001.
* At Vancouver, Daniel Sedin and Matt Cooke scored the goals as the Canucks topped the Anaheim Ducks 2-1. *