Winter Classic Notebook: Pierogie Edition

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jim Iovino
    The traditional pierogies, complete with sour cream and onions. True Pittsburgh meal.

    There's no hockey being played yet at Heinz Field, so what's a reporter to do?

    Eat pierogies, of course.

    Why spend the day outside in the cold talking about hockey when you could sit inside a warm and cozy church-turned-brewery and munch on some pierogies smothered in onions and sour cream? TheFeast.com would consider this meal at the Church Brew Works to be "epic." (Although an appetizer order only had four pierogies, which was a bit of a let-down...)

    Speaking of meals, the Winter Classic will mean quite a boost to the Pittsburgh restaurant industry on New Year's Day. Typically, most restos in the 'Burgh don't open up for New Year's Day meals. Pittsburghers are more of the kielbasa, pork chops and sauerkraut types.

    But the Winter Classic means about 30,000 more people will be downtown than on a usual New Year's Day, and those people will be hungry. So the influx of people will mean big business for restaurants on the North Shore and elsewhere downtown.

    While the fans will be hungry, it's still not known if they'll also be soaking wet.

    The forecast is still calling for rain on Saturday with a high of 50(!). And that could make a mess out of the Classic. There's already talk of pushing the starting time back until later in the day -- perhaps as late as 8 p.m. But the game also could be moved to noon on Sunday, when the temperature is expected to drop back down into the mid-30s.

    And if that doesn't work out? Well, the outdoor game could eventually be moved indoors to the Pens' new Consol Energy Center sometime later in the year.

    And that just wouldn't be fun for anyone hoping to watch a great outdoor game -- especially all of those people who are travelling from the D.C. area this weekend.

    If you're wondering, the temperature hasn't been above freezing in Pittsburgh since Dec. 12. So this sudden warm-up is definitely poorly timed by Mother Nature.

    Suisham Converts

    Need another reason to be miffed about the status of the Redskins' kicking situation while former Redskin Shaun Suisham has done wonders as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers? Suisham has converted from being a Capitals fan to a Pens fan.

    Ugh. Kickers.

    How did it happen? It wasn't a quick switch once the Steelers signed the Canadian kicker to replace Jeff Reed. The Pens apparently wooed him with a tour of the Pens' new arena -- and a Sidney Crosby jersey, according to Kevin Gorman of the Tribune-Review.

    Suisham knows his hockey. He played at the Junior C level in Ontario. But don't expect him to Rock the Red again.

    24/7 Continues

    OK, that's all for now. Don't forget that the next edition of HBO's behind-the-scenes series airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday. This one includes the Dec. 23 meeting between the teams at the Verizon Center. If you recall, the game went to a shootout, so there should be plenty of great footage to watch.

    This is also the last episode before the Classic. The first three episodes will be shown in a row at 1:30 p.m. Thursday on HBO2 and again at 7 a.m. on Jan. 1 on HBO.

    The final episode will air at 10 p.m. on Jan. 5 and will include all of the Classic coverage. Or all of the rain, depending on what goes down on New Year's Day.