Archive for Winter Classic

2010 NHL Winter Classic an Instant Classic

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey, Music, Travel and Nature with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2010 by clarencethehorse

It was January 1, 2010 in Boston – but to a Boston Bruins fan, it felt more like 1972.

Yawkey Way, and all the streets surrounding Boston’s Fenway Park, were painted in blotches of black and gold – with a smattering of orange from a good number of bold Flyer fans.

But no matter what colors you were wearing, there was an air of anticipation that hockey fans were about to see something special.

“Dirty Water” was a recurring theme for Clarence in 2009.  I saw it covered by Dave Matthews at Fenway in May last year, then by Billy Joel at Gillette Stadium and Steely Dan at the Wang Center on consecutive weekends in July.  With all due respect to the Standells, I was actually aching for some “Brass Bonanza” when I first saw the band:

Boston was a hockey town on this day, and you’ll find little argument to the contrary from any Boston sports fan.

After a bit of a logjam getting situated in the park:

I got into my seats in the right field roof deck for a pretty cool view of the on-field festivities.  Prep work on the main ice surface was overshadowed by the Pee-wee hockey game in right-center field.  Helicopters hovered overhead as Flyers fans around me debated whether or not Daniel Carcillo would get into the first fight in Winter Classic history (he did).

The biggest piece of the most recent 1972 Stanley Cup for the Bruins was there – the celestial Bobby Orr, skating slowly but effortlessly to center ice to take the ceremonial face-off with former Flyers nemesis Bobby Clarke.  The appearance of Bobby Orr on the ice at Fenway Park put the capacity crowd of 38,112 into a frenzy:

It was a three-ring circus on the field leading up to the game, featuring the Dropkick Murphys:

…and native son James Taylor, delivering his smoothest national anthem yet at Fenway Park:

Being at Fenway, I thought JT may play this song in honor of Dice-K:

…but I digress…

A B-2 stealth bomber did a flyover following Taylor’s anthem…and fireworks behind home plate lit up the gray skies of a winter day unlike any other before at Fenway Park:

Once the action got underway, both teams struggled to find their rhythms. Speculation about whether or not Fenway would provide the backdrop for the first fight in Winter Classic ended at 12:01 of the first period.  Usual suspects Shawn Thornton (Bruins) and Dan Carcillo (Flyers) dropped the gloves, with Carcillo gaining a decision:

At 4:42 of the second period, Tim Thomas lost his composure and left his crease to cross-check perennial pest Scott Hartnell.  Only problem was Flyers defenseman Danny Syvret put a shot on net at that moment, and the Flyers had a 1-0 lead.  The second period flowed into the third, and Flyers goalie Michael Leighton continued to stone the Bruins – it appeared that Thomas would be the goat of the 2010 Winter Classic.  As the clock hit five minutes left in the third, I started to get a sick feeling in my stomach that this long-awaited Winter Classic may come and go without anyone ever knowing what the Bruins crowd would sound like in Fenway after the Bruins scored a goal.

But with the Bruins on a power play late in the third, Mark Recchi tipped home a Derek Morris shot to tie the score at one, and the Fenway crowd exploded like an underwear bomb with 2:18 remaining in regulation.  In the OT period, Marco Sturm completed the Bruins’ Winter Classic comeback when he deflected home a Patrice Bergeron shot 1:57 into the overtime period.

The Bruins had an improbable 2-1 victory, and Bruins fans spilled out into the streets surrounding Fenway in a state of nirvana.

The work of Tim Thomas in OT cannot be overlooked – the Bruins could have easily lost this game several times if not for Thomas.  And after the game, Thomas found out he had been named the 2010 U.S. Olympic team.  So instead of being the scapegoat du jour, Tim Thomas had a day that most professional athletes can only dream of.

No matter how you slice it, the 2010 Winter Classic was an unqualified success.

Here’s a nice compilation of all the highlights/hoopla from the 2010 Winter Classic:

Check out the highlights from the game and all the surrounding events at NHL.com:

http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=14&id=55973

Sure, it’s been a long 37.5 years since the Bruins last drank from Lord Stanley’s chalice.  But the 2010 Winter Classic only made the Bruins fans more anxious for their team to slake that thirst once again.

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Split Decision in Florida for the Bruins; Fenway Classic Looms

Posted in Boston Bruins, Hockey with tags , , , , , , , on December 29, 2009 by clarencethehorse

The Boston Bruins headed to Florida for games against the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning on Dec. 27 and 28, respectively.

Both games ended as 2-1 affairs, with the Bruins beating Florida, but coming up short against Tampa Bay.

In Sunrise, Florida, the home of the Panthers, the Bruins fell behind 1-0 on a goal that Tim Thomas would like to have back.   But Thomas stopped all other 25 shots that the Panthers put on him, and goals in the second by Michael Ryder (10th) and in the third period by Marco Sturm (11th) gave the Bruins their third straight win.  Thomas made a great save on Jordan Leopold with seven seconds left that secured the two points for the Bruins – and more importantly, kept the Panthers from getting any points and gaining on the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings.

The next night in Tampa Bay, Lightning goalie Mike Smith stopped everything the B’s threw at him except for Marco Sturm’s 12th goal with seven and a half minutes remaining in the third.  Tim Thomas was back in-goal, and he kept this game close.  He stopped 37 of 39 Tampa Bay shots, including 23 of 24 in the second period alone, when the Bruins were outshot 24-6.  This save against Vincent Lecavalier late in the second was one of the best...and was the direct result of a Matt Hunwick turnover.  Hunwick is officially back on “train wreck” watch – this guy should almost be used exclusively on the power play, where he can be an effective puck mover.
The second period also featured a quick bout between Tampa Bay’s

Zenon Konopka (league-leading 16th fighting major, most of them not against children) and the B’s Byron Bitz:

There was alot of weak officiating in this game that did not favor the Bruins, and I saw at least three posts hit flush by B’s shots – but the fact remains, the Bruins are not a Stanley Cup contending team with the current offensive pieces they have.  A sniper is needed – yes, a Phil Kessel type…dammit – and tomorrow night we will get to see the gunslinger that plenty of teams will be throwing money and draft picks at leading up to the trading deadline:  Ilya Kovalchuk. Just four years ago, he had his finest season with 52 goals, 27 of which were power-play goals…to go along with 29 power-play assists.  His center and main set-up-man that season?  Current Bruin Marc Savard, who could really use a sniper to get the greatest return on his deft play-making abilities.  The power play numbers are especially attractive, as the Bruins continue to flounder near the bottom of the league in power-play efficiency.

This guy can score:

Keep an eye on #17 for Atlanta tomorrow night…he sure would look good in black and gold.

Don Cherry on NESN

Hockey legend Don Cherry will join the NESN booth tomorrow for the Bruins home game against Atlanta Thrashers….word on the street is that he will be debuting a newly designed Bruins sportsjacket. 

WARNING: Do Not Adjust the Color on your TV

Candles for Ray

And Happy 49th Birthday (12/28/61) to the Captain, Ray Bourque ~

Winter Classic at Fenway

My mole on the inside, Jerri Blank, was one of the first to get onto the ice at Fenway and provided these pictures…Thanks, Jerri!

Photo Credits: Jerri Blank

Clarence has procured a ticket to the Winter Classic, so there will be plenty on the way over the next week or so.

Until then….