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Hockey Winter Classic just another date on Randy Carlyle’s schedule

An HBO 24/7 sound crew member turns Toronto Maple Leafs Head Coach Randy Carlyle's microphone on during Leafs practice

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

While many fans count down the days to next week's super-sized outdoor NHL game between Toronto and Detroit, Leafs coach Randy Carlyle says for now it's just another date on his schedule.

The Toronto calendar included home games with Buffalo (Friday) and Carolina (Sunday) before the team takes on the Red Wings in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic next Wednesday at Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus.

The NHL anticipates a world record for attendance at a hockey game, with the stadium capacity around 110,000.

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Carlyle, who has had to endure the "24/7" cameras for the HBO show leading up to the game, has other things on his mind for now.

"We'll get to it," Carlyle said Friday of the outdoor game. "There's been so much gone on in the month of December – the number of games that we've played, the number of roster changes, the number of bodies that we've had in and out, the turmoil, lack of success.

"All those things have gone on here and we've tried to put that to the side and just try to focus on the positives. There's been some positives that we're trying to build on with our group and hopefully we can carry that forward.

"The most important game for us is tonight (against Buffalo). Our group needs to feel good about itself and we have to go out and earn something here."

The Leafs (18-16-5) came into the Buffalo game on the heels of shootout losses to the Rangers and Red Wings. Toronto had just one regulation win in its last 18 outings (5-9-4).

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