Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



The most exciting part of this year’s Winter Classic occurred in the first 21 seconds. Neither Vegas nor host Seattle scored within that time frame. 

That left Colby Armstrong’s goal for the Penguins just 21 seconds into the very first Winter Classic at Buffalo on Jan. 1, 2008 as the fastest goal in Winter Classic history. 

It’s an unbreakable record, like Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, Wayne Gretzky’s 2,857 career points or Wilt Chamberlain having sex with 20,000 women. 

The snow-covered crowd of 71,217 at Ralph Wilson Stadium got exactly the magic they came for just after play started. 

Sidney Crosby drove to the net. Armstrong followed like a stealth bomber, staying under the radar and casually netting the loose puck. Sick mitts, to sample the cool hockey lingo used non-stop between periods on TNT. Twig, bucket, salad, etc. 

It might have been the NHL’s greatest moment ever. Mario Lemieux scored five goals, five ways, but he didn’t do it in a blizzard.

Fourteen more Winter Classics have taken place, including Monday’s game at Seattle. Whenever the clock hits 19:38 in the first period, greatness is again confirmed. The man they call “Army” stands alone. (I often shed a tear.) 

I wrote a haiku: 

Crosby drives the net 

Armstrong collects the rebound 

1-nil Penguins, bitch 

The crowd at every Winter Classic should stand and chant when the clock passes the 21-second mark: “AR-MY! AR-MY! AR-MY!” (It would double as a tribute to the troops.)

How come nobody’s ever made T-shirts?

NHL Winter Classic: Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Dave Sandford / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

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