The stage officially has been set for the 2016 NHL Winter Classic alumni game. And, boy, what a game it should be.
On Tuesday, the NHL officially unveiled the rosters for the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens alumni teams, who will square off Dec. 31 at Gillette Stadium.
We already previewed the Habs contingent after coach Jacques Demers announced his roster, so now let’s take a closer look at the B’s old-timers, broken down by decade.
Rick Middleton, Terry O’Reilly
The old guard. The two former Bruins captains are staples on the team’s traveling alumni squad, which participates in exhibitions around New England. Pretty impressive for a couple of 60-somethings.
Ray Bourque, Tom Fergus, Reggie Lemelin, Ken Linseman, Jay Miller, Cam Neely, Bob Sweeney, Glen Wesley
Given the great success the B’s enjoyed in the ’80s, it’s no surprise this group is a loaded one. Bourque and Neely both have their numbers hanging in the TD Garden rafters — and also played for the team well into the ’90s — and Wesley was an All-Star for Boston before going on to win a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Lemelin also played nearly a decade-and-a-half in the league, and Linseman was Brad Marchand before Brad Marchand.
Bob Beers, Rob DiMaio, Steve Heinze, Al Iafrate, Don Sweeney, Tim Sweeney
The ’90s crew features the Bruins’ current team president (Don Sweeney) and radio color man (Beers). Iafrate played just one season in Boston (1993-94), but we’d be willing to include him in this game for his hairstyle alone.
P.J. Axelsson, Hal Gill, Brian Leetch, Andrew Raycroft, Mark Recchi, Sergei Samsonov, Marco Sturm
Older fans might scoff at this, but as a child of the ’90s, these are the guys I’m most excited to watch. Might even have to dig the size-small Samsonov sweater out of storage. Also, the last time Sturm played an outdoor game for the Bruins, he did this:
Raycroft, a former Calder Trophy winner who’s best known as the player the Bruins traded for Tuukka Rask, will start in net opposite Montreal’s Jose Theodore.
Don Cherry, Lyndon Byers, Stan Jonathan, Don Marcotte, Tom McVie, Mike Milbury, Derek Sanderson
You had us at Don Cherry. John Buyck and Eddie Sanford also will serve as honorary Bruins coaches.
Here are the full alumni rosters for Boston and Montreal:
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images