Why not start the New Year with an outdoor hockey game featuring one of the best rivalries in sports? The hockey gods were especially nice to fans watching the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins at home (in Toronto); snow falling, cold weather, and the greatest game on ice.
In honour of the New England Patriots coach Bill Billichik, Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien adorned a “Boston Bruins Hockey” sweater over his shirt and tie. Of course a legendary coach had to dress fancy.
SB Nation noted that PK Subban dressed as a “super-mysterious detective.” The Habs’ captain Max Pacioretty dressed as a royal.
The Decisive Win
Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts was well-decorated for the Winter Classic. The ice was well-maintained as usual, having a few issues in the corners which threw a few players off, especially Max Talbot who had trouble re-gaining his balance in the first period.
The Canadiens came out of the gate flying, with Desharnais’ hand-eye which started the scoring. The Bruins were unable to match the tempo that the Habs forced, and were at a deficit of three goals to none by the end of the second period.
While the Vezina-calibre goaltender Carey Price was signing fans’ apparel, the Canadiens were backed by Mike Condon who stopped 27 of 28 shots. The decisive 5-1 victory was largely due to the return of the energy bunny, Brendan Gallagher who had one goal which pushed the Canadiens to a three-goal cushion in the second period.
Three important players who would’ve had an impact throughout the game for Boston: Brad Marchand, as well as the injured David Krejci and Chris Kelly. The major loss was the suspended Brad Marchand who is out three games (now two remaining) for the ruthless hit on Matt Borowiecki of the Ottawa Senators. The Bruins would have been much more effective in the offensive zone
If you watched Don Cherry on Coach’s Corner, Gary Roberts will assist in Jose Theodore’s comeback into the NHL. Jose hasn’t played hockey for three years Grapes, but he is a “Good Canadian Kid” who had a NHL great career, playing for five NHL teams.
Where will the 2017 Winter Classic take place? BMO field? Rogers Centre? Parliament Hill? Pierre Lebrun of ESPN reported that the 2017 Winter Classic will likely feature the Rangers and Leafs in Toronto at BMO Field. Toronto is also hosting the Grey Cup Final in 2016, which will use extra seating to allow for more people. The extra seating could be held until January 1 for the Winter Classic, boosting the attendance from 40 000 to a possible 50 000.
Here’s an idea: With Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation since the 1867 Confederation, it would be interesting if the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs could have a home-and-home Winter Classic series. One game could be hosted by the Sens at Parliament Hill, and another where the Leafs host the Sens at BMO field.
Gary Bettman pointed out to Scott Oake that the NHL owes Winnipeg an outdoor game. Winnipeg’s cold winters would be perfect for hosting a heritage classic in 2017, and the atmosphere that the fans in a regular season game would be several times better.
The 2016 Winter Classic will go into the books as one of the better outdoor games in the past decade. Who knows what 2017 will bring?
Shout out to these Leafs fans for attending the Winter Classic with their Leafs gear!