The Boston Bruins are the only team to ever win the Winter Classic as hosts, and for the Detroit Red Wings to replicate this success, head coach Mike Babcock wants his team to celebrate on New Year’s Day instead of the night before.
“So the home team has won one game. We went through this with our players. They know there’s an opportunity in our schedule for you to have a heck of a New Year’s Eve party on New Year’s Day,” said Babcock at his press conference on Tuesday. “Make a decision, but if you’re counting on your family to do it for you, I don’t like your chances. That’s my theory.”
The Red Wings have struggled in December with a 5-7-2 record, making the two points at stake in Wednesday’s Winter Classic matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs even more important.
To make sure he’s fully prepared for the game, Babcock will be staying at a hotel — away from the party that will take place at his home on New Year’s Eve.
“My wife’s maiden name is Dunham and my kids say, ‘No one parties like a Dunham.’ So you can just imagine at my house tonight,” said Babcock. “That’s why a couple blocks down the road I got myself a hotel room.”
This year’s Winter Classic will be the second of Babcock’s career with the Red Wings. He was behind the bench for Detroit’s 6-4 victory over the rival Chicago Blackhawks at Wrigley Field in 2009. The Red Wings reached the Stanley Cup Final that same season.
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