The new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers is excited for the upcoming Winter Classic on New Year's Day at Fenway. Laviolette played baseball as a youngster, but hockey was his only chance at pro sports.
"I didn't go there, that's for sure," Laviolette said when asked if he ever dreamed of shagging balls off the Green Monster. "I played some baseball as a kid, but my dreams always centered around playing hockey. So if we're talking about where I'd play in my dreams, it would be the old Boston Garden. But this [Winter Classic] is going to be pretty neat."
Laviolette did follow the Red Sox, however, and was a big fan of two players that have their numbers hanging on the right-field façade.
"I was a big Carl Yastrzemski fan and Carlton Fisk fan growing up," he said. "Always loved their style of play."
Laviolette took over as head coach of the Flyers on Dec. 4, and despite coming into Boston on Monday and beating the team he grew up cheering for, he and the Flyers have struggled to get back on track, going just 2-5-0 since he stepped behind the bench. But that hasn't diminished his excitement about the upcoming Winter Classic.
"I went to Fenway and got to stand on what will be the rink, and it's pretty awesome," Laviolette said of the quick Fenway tour he and some of his players received last Sunday. "You get to stand around and see the Monster, and you know it's just one of the greatest buildings in the United States. So it's going to be pretty amazing."
The former Providence Bruins head coach and Boston Bruins assistant realizes that despite not playing in the old Garden as a member of the Bruins, he is still going to be part of a moment that will be historic for both the NHL and Boston sports.
"I know the guys came back excited from their tour of Fenway and everyone is really looking forward to being part of an event like this," he said. "There's just so much history surrounding Fenway, just like the old Garden, and this will be something people talk about way down the line."
NESN.com's James Murphy will be answering one Winter Classic question every day in December.
Wednesday, Dec. 16: How do players feel about playing outdoors?
Friday, Dec. 18: What does the Winter Classic mean to Mark Recchi?