Winter Classic at Fenway Would be Can’t-Miss Entertainment

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It's long been rumored that the Bruins will be hosting an NHL Winter Classic tilt on New Year's Day 2010 at Fenway Park.

Early reports had Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals coming to town, but ESPN.com is now saying that the Philadelphia Flyers will soon accept an invitation to take on the B's at the corner of Lansdowne Street and Yawkey Way.Winter Classic at Fenway Would be Can't-Miss Entertainment

I can hear Jack Edwards now: "Krejci beats two Flyers defenders, fires a shot high to the glove side and beats goalie Biron ? right around Pesky's Pole for a GOOOOOAAAAAALLLL!!!"

Or, "Ohhhh, Thornton checks Hartnell and sends him
flying into the Green Monster! The Flyers trainer is gonna have to play
that one like a left fielder with a wall-ball!"

Despite the potential clash of iconic sports imagery, there have
been two outdoor Winter Classics already held, and they were each
immensely successful, both for the teams involved and the league as a
whole. On Jan. 1, 2008, the Penguins beat the Sabres 2-1 in a snowy
shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo in front of an NHL-record
crowd of 71,217 fans. This past New Year's Day, the Red Wings topped
the Blackhawks 6-4 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

The games have been so popular among fans both locally and
nationally that there are talks of a doubleheader in 2010, with a
second outdoor game possibly being held in Calgary between the Flames and Maple Leafs.

But why such enthusiasm?

Part of it is probably the oddity of seeing things we love (hockey) in abnormal surroundings (outside). It's akin to skiing or fishing indoors ? or dancing in water.

But another part of the charm is how it gets the game back to its basics.

Hockey, at its root level, is an outdoor game. It's about
remembering the way you used to play when you were a kid. When you'd
meet some buddies at the local pond that had finally frozen over. You
hoped the ice would hold. You'd lace up the skates good and tight and
play for hours. It would be getting dark by the time you scuttled home,
your jersey wet with sweat, your hair looking like it had been run
through a dishwasher, carrying your oversized bag of nasty-smelling
gear.

Of course, the experience will no doubt be different for the Bruins this New Year's Day.

They're millionaire athletes, playing in front of thousands of fans
who paid a pretty penny to sit outside in a 97-year-old ballpark on a
potentially snowy, blustery, freezing January day and watch 12 guys go
at it on the ice.

Man ? I wouldn't miss it for the world.

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