This year's Classic was one of the more lower scoring games, although with the number of chances by both teams throughout the entire 60 minutes, it could have been higher. Regardless, it was a very energetic and well-defended game.
In defense (no pun intended), the goalies did what they were supposed to do, which was stop the puck, and that they did.
The Flyers began the game well, with Flyer Dan Carcillo winning the fight against Bruin Shawn Thornton scoring the first goal early into the second period past Tim Thomas. They continued the momentum through the rest of the game, keeping up chances and taking shots.
Then, after a few power plays in Boston's favor to create opportunities for their own offense, with about 2 minutes left in the game, down 1-0, the Bruins, old man Mark Recchi put one in to tie the game.
It wouldn't take that much longer for the Bruins to complete the comeback, as Marco Sturm scored the game-winner in overtime. Bruins ended up winning 2-1.
As a die-hard hockey fan, I LOVE the NHL's Winter Classic. It's such a great national showcase that exposes the game in a unique fashion to casual fans, long-time fans, and the person passing through channels. It's always fun to see more than twice the number of fans that would be at a regular game outdoors in the snow.
And the games themselves always feature intense match-ups with long-time rivalries between franchises. The game has remained competitive as well, as the highest goal differential has only been 2 goals in the 6-4 win by the Detroit Red Wings over the the Chicago Blackhawks last year.
Seeing that this year was in Boston in Fenway Park, I would have no complaints of a Winter Classic game in Yankee Stadium, even though there was already one in NY. There is much speculation of a game there next year featuring the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers. Again, no complaints here.
There are a few more match-ups though that I would love to see.
- Whenever the St. Louis Blues become good again, I would like to see them play against the Colorado Avalanche in Colorado.
- After sometime when enough time has passed since the last Red Wings game, it would be fun to watch them play the Avs in Detroit as well, bringing back the old playoff series (Patrick Roy and Chris Osgood fight ring a bell?).
- If people in Hartford wouldn't be so opposed to it, the Carolina Hurricanes could play in Hartford, Connecticut against the Caps.
- Of course, there can't be anything wrong with the Toronto Maple Loafs... Leafs playing their intra-province rivals, the Ottawa Senators. They used to meet in the playoffs every year in some serious and bloody 6 and 7 game series.
- Likewise, the other intra-province series, Edmonton Oilers and the Calgary Flames should also be fun.
- Minnesota would be a great host city. It's always snowing up there! Minnesota in the North Stars jersey facing off against the Columbus Blue Jackets or some relocated team could be entertaining.
USA Olympic Team
After the Bruins/Flyers game, the 2010 USA Olympic hockey team was announced. As a player would be announced, some adorable little kids turned around with the name of the player on the back of their jersey.
Tim Thomas, 35 (Boston Bruins)
Ryan Miller, 29 (Buffalo Sabres)
Jonathan Quick, 24 (Los Angeles Kings)
Craig Anderson (Colorado)
Brian Rafalski, 36 (Detroit Red Wings)
Ryan Suter, 25 (Nashville Predators)
Paul Martin 28 (New Jersey Devils)
Mike Komisarek, 28 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Erik Johnson, 21 (St. Louis Blues)
Brooks Orpik, 29 (Pittsburgh Pittsburgh)
Jack Johnson, 23 (Los Angeles Kings)
Matt Niskanen (Dallas)
Ron Hainsey (Atlanta)
Alex Goligoski (Pittsburgh)
Matt Carle (Philadelphia)
Rob Scuderi (Los Angeles)
Zach Parise, 25 (New Jersey Devils)
Chris Drury, 32 (New York Rangers)
Dustin Brown, 25 (Los Angeles Kings)
Jamie Langenbrunner, 34 (New Jersey Devils)
Paul Stastny, 24 (Colorado Avalanche)
David Backes, 25 (St. Louis Blues)
Patrick Kane, 21 (Chicago Blackhawks)
Phil Kessel, 22 (Toronto Maple Leafs)
Ryan Kesler, 25 (Vancouver Canucks)
Bobby Ryan, 22 (Anaheim Ducks)
Joe Pavelski, 25 (San Jose Sharks)
Ryan Malone, 31 (Tampa Bay Lightning)
Ryan Callahan, 24 (New York Rangers)
Jason Pominville (Sabres)
David Booth (Panthers)
Scott Gomez (Rangers)
T.J. Oshie (Blues)
Brian Gionta (Canadiens)
Make of the team what you will. There were a number of American players left off the roster; Dustin Byfuglien is one of them. The team, in my mind, lacks size and variation in skill (they all play a similar style). But the USA has a speed advantage and they are very strong in goaltending, with the best goalie this season, Ryan Miller as the starter. The backups should give the team confidence as well.
So what the team could be forced into is a situation to use their speed to find a way through the opposing defense to score a goal or two, and rely on their goaltending to give them a chance throughout the game. A bunch of 2-1, 1-0 games are probably the types of games they can win. Brian Burke says that they're "playing to win" so all we can do is hope this team can perform well enough to do so. *shrug*...
It didn't work out 20 years since the 1980 USA Olympic Gold Medal team - so maybe 30 years? We'll see...