As to everything that now goes with such an opportunity, some of the Bruins are a little less enthusiastic. That refers specifically to participating in HBO's all-access 24/7: The Road to the Winter Classic series.
That series began the year after Boston's turn in the Winter Classic, with cameras following the Penguins and Capitals in the month leading up to their matchup in Pittsburgh last year. It returned to more rave reviews this season, chronicling all aspects of the lead-up to this year's game between the Flyers and Rangers in Philadelphia.
Despite the popularity and critical praise for the program, at least a few Bruins aren't too keen on the idea of being subjects for the latest reality TV craze.
"No, I'd absolutely hate that," Bruins goalie Tim Thomas said. "Having cameras around all the time, I don't care what you say, it changes the way you act. You're either going to play for the camera or end up being quieter than you normally are. I'd find it a hard time to be real with the camera around that much."
This year's 24/7 has shown fans a real wacky side to Philadelphia goalie/philosopher Ilya Bryzgalov, who has regaled audiences with his takes on the vastness of the universe, the punishment for killing tigers in China and the attractiveness of his Siberian Husky, among other topics. Thomas has been known to be a bit eccentric himself, but isn't too anxious to put that part of his personality on display.
"I'd rather hide what a nut I am, rather than advertise it to the whole world like that," Thomas said.
When asked if he was as much of a nut as Bryzgalov has appeared to be, Thomas deadpanned: "If I tell you in front of these cameras I wouldn't be hiding it very well, now would I?"
Thomas understands the appeal of 24/7, but also fears that it could lead to the kind of overexposure that might hurt more than help the NHL's image.
"I realize that a lot of people might be enjoying it, watching that 24/7," Thomas said. "So from some fans' perspective that enjoy it, it can be a good thing. But I'm trying to think of the quote that always comes to mind when I think about it. Familiarity breeds contempt. To a certain extent, I think there's a limit. You get the camera around all the time like that and you start to turn hockey players into Jersey Shore cast members. I don't think that's the way it should be, personally."
Thomas wasn't the only Bruin hesitant about the possibility of getting the 24/7 treatment. Bruins coach Claude Julien would love the chance to play in another Winter Classic, but being in 24/7, which has been required for Classic participants the last two years?
"That's another story," Julien said. "You guys know me pretty well.
"I don't know," Julien added. "I'd have to ask the people who have been through it how they handled it and how they felt about it. I enjoy watching it like everybody else. I just don't know that I'd be a very willing participant."