Friday, January 01, 2010

Flyers foiled in fabulous Fenway finish

The NHL's Winter Classic delivered once again, though it did take until the third period for the game to produce some high drama.

With perfect weather conditions, a lively crowd and some clearly amped up players, the NHL's annual trek into the outdoors proved to be a hit once again.

Both the Flyers and the Bruins were clearly more than ready to showcase the game in a fable setting, with the Green Monster looming over the rink, and a crisp breeze in the air (occasionally blue air as Bruin and Flyer fans exchanged pleasantries) the game once again provided the magic that rekindles for many an earlier time.

While it's obviously all a pre packaged event these days, from the numerous advertising opportunities across the Fenway infield to the frequent trolling of baseball themes by NBC, on the ice it was pure pond shinny, the players reverting to their parent's early days and maybe a few of their own ( though we wonder how many of today's young stars ever spent many cold nights on an outdoor rink) where the second most favourite spot at the rink was around that wood burning stove.

New Years Day at Fenway started out as a worrisome thing for the home side, the Flyers were quick out to frozen expanse and taking the game to the Bruins, they had numerous chances to jump out to a large lead, with only Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas denying them the opportunity.

Their only goal of the game the product of Thomas' occasionally disruptive anger, as he sought out to settle a score on the ice off his crease, a decision that provide the Flyers score as Danny Syvret picked up his first career goal in the NHL, a rather memorable location for a personal milestone one would think.

From that point on the action bounced back and forth, slowing at times, with the Flyers taking a lot of the play but continuing to become frustrated, the Bruins seeking a way to give the 38,112 fans (less the Flyers contingent) something to let loose over.

That moment came about in the hectic final moments of period three, when former Flyer Mark Recchi scored on the power play, a goal that would propel the Winter Classic on to its storybook finish.

With the extra five minutes underway, the flow continued on at it's hurried pace, each shot a possible game ending marker, with chances at either end, framed by remarkable saves.

Two minutes into the overtime all would be well in Boston, Marco Sturm took a Patrice Bergeron pass and deflected it into the net, securing the 2-1 victory and putting the Bruins faithful into full salute, all that was missing was the run around the bases if anybody could have found them under the ice and snow.

The New Year's Day tradition has grown with each successive year, from Buffalo to Chicago and now Boston, each game adding to the celebration of the game with a spectacular setting.

Every once and a while the NHL gets lucky, they are provided with a chance to return the focus of the game away from the usual number of concerns that normally dot the NHL landscape,and on a frozen field of summer dreams hockey took Centre Field (well second base really, but you get the drift) and knocked one out of the park.

Globe and Mail-- Bruins win dramatic Winter Classic
Globe and Mail-- Whew, Thomas says, after being bailed out
National Post-- Flyers 1, Bruins 2
CBC-- Sturm seals Winter Classic win for Bruins
CBC-- NHL exceeds Winter Classic expectations
CBC-- Greats marvel at NHL Winter Classic
CBC-- Outdoor game brings back childhood memories for Marc Savard
CBC-- A Beantown Winter classic
Boston Globe-- A grand slam on ice
Boston Globe-- Happy return
Boston Globe-- They still need home run hitter
Boston Globe-- Bruins win a classic, 2-1
Boston Herald-- Fans, Bruins make Fenway a wild New Year’s Day
Boston Herald-- Tim Thomas’ field of dreams
Boston Herald-- Entertainment value a real high
Boston Herald-- Marco Sturm smiles bright
Boston Herald-- Thrill comes with chill
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Flyers fall to Bruins in Winter Classic, 2-1
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Sam Donnellon: Was Flyers-Bruins a 'Classic,' or just an outdoor game?
Philadelphia Inquirer-- Winter Classic musings: Philly fans invade Boston
Philadelphia Daily News-- Winter Classic no winner for Flyers
Philadelphia Daily News-- Fenway an ice place for Flyers to play hockey

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