TNT’s Albert, Olczyk love challenge of calling outdoor games

Jan 1, 2023, 12:26 AM | Updated: 2:27 pm

Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk are veterans when it comes to calling outdoor games. Yet, the Winter Classic still resonates for them as one of the biggest games of the season.

“I certainly wouldn’t trade it in for anything. I would never even consider turning down the assignment because it’s so much fun,” said Albert, who will call the NHL game Monday at Fenway Park between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins.

This will be the fifth time Albert has worked the Winter Classic, but only his second on television. Olczyk has been the television analyst for most of the Winter Classics since the event started in 2008.

Monday marks the second time TNT will carry the Winter Classic after it took over rights from NBC.

Last year’s game in Minneapolis between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues showed that the outdoor games can pose stiff challenges. The temperature was minus 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 21 Celsius) at the opening faceoff. Albert tried to keep the windows open during the first period, but they closed them midway through because of the frigid temperatures. Things didn’t get much better when the windows were closed.

“I think most of the time, all of us like keeping the windows open just to feel the atmosphere,” said Albert, who has called 11 outdoor games. “Last year, you start having trouble formulating words when it is that cold, and you have the headsets on but your face is freezing. So we decided to close the windows midway through the first period. But then we ran into an issue (of) it started fogging up. So at that point, we were having trouble seeing the players on the ice, so we had to open the windows back up.

“So there are definitely elements involved during these outdoor games that you don’t run into when when calling jams indoors, but it really never gets old calling games and iconic venues.”

Olczyk has been part of 14 Winter Classics, including the first one in Buffalo 15 years ago when the Penguins defeated the Sabres in a shootout. The snowglobe-like setting and high ratings on NBC showed the league and networks that an outdoor game to ring in the new year was a hit.

“People were just captivated, you couldn’t have asked for any better setting. Everything that the league and at the time NBC dreamed about came to fruition,” Olczyk said. “The game got so much momentum that everybody wanted to be a part of it. Who would have ever thought going down to the Cotton Bowl (where the 2020 game was held) and have a game between Dallas and Nashville.”

While some of the broadcast positions have been very close to the action — announcers for the games in Buffalo and at Notre Dame Stadium were near ice level — or extremely far away — like Minnesota last year — this year’s setting at Fenway Park could be the closest that a crew could get to calling a game if it was indoors. Albert and Olczyk will be positioned in a suite along the first-base line at the home of the Red Sox.

While Fenway Park and the Green Monster will receive plenty of the attention, the game carries importance in the standings. Boston has a league-leading 60 points while Pittsburgh features Crosby, who will be playing in his sixth outdoor game.

“It is a game and there are two points on the line, but from a broadcast point of view, it’s about the event,” Olczyk said. “It’s fun to be in a different type of setting than we normally are on a night in, night out basis.”


AP NHL: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, drives to the basket on Atlanta Hawks center Cli...
Associated Press

Lillard scores 42 as Trail Blazers hold off Hawks 129-125

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard scored 42 points, Anfernee Simons hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 34 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers held off the Atlanta Hawks 129-125 on Monday night. Dejounte Murray had 40 points, eight rebounds and six assists for the Hawks, who played without star point guard Trae Young (ankle). […]
23 hours ago
Baylor guard Keyonte George (1) looks for the basket past Texas guard Arterio Morris (2) during the...
Associated Press

Rice, Allen lead No. 10 Texas over No. 11 Baylor 76-71

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sir’Jabari Rice scored 21 points and Timmy Allen added 18 to send No. 10 Texas to a 76-71 win over No. 11 Baylor on Monday night, ending the Bears’ six-game win streak and keeping the Longhorns in a share of first place in the Big 12. Rice made four 3-pointers in […]
23 hours ago
Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson, right, drives against Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, le...
Associated Press

Bridges scores 29, Suns pull away late, beat Raptors 114-106

PHOENIX (AP) — Deandre Ayton had to do a double-take in the final minutes as his Phoenix Suns pulled away for another win. His eyes weren’t playing tricks. That was Mikal Bridges getting big mid-range buckets during crucial possessions in the fourth quarter, not injured All-Star guard Devin Booker. Bridges had one of his best […]
23 hours ago
Winnipeg Jets' Josh Morrissey (44) celebrates after his goal against the St. Louis Blues with Saku ...
Associated Press

Morrissey, Scheifele lead Jets’ rally in 4-2 win over Blues

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) — Josh Morrissey and Mark Scheifele each scored twice in the third period as the Winnipeg Jets rallied for a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. Saku Maenalanen and Kyle Connor each had two assists for the Jets, who snapped a three-game skid. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 24 shots. […]
23 hours ago
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, left, is fouled by Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, right...
Associated Press

Doncic scores 53 in return, Mavericks beat Pistons 111-105

DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 53 points in his return to the lineup and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 of his 12 in the fourth quarter as the Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 111-105 on Monday night. Four of Doncic’s five career 50-point games have come this season. He scored a career-best […]
23 hours ago
Minnesota Timberwolves guard D'Angelo Russell (0) reacts to a foul call during the second half of a...
Associated Press

Fox, Lyles help Kings outlast Timberwolves 118-111 in OT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 32 points and Trey Lyles had eight of his 11 points in overtime for the Sacramento Kings, who outlasted the Minnesota Timberwolves 118-111 on Monday night. Malik Monk scored 19 points, Domantas Sabonis had 17 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out and Keegan Murray added 13 points and […]
23 hours ago
TNT’s Albert, Olczyk love challenge of calling outdoor games