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Already an ‘amazing’ experience for Bruins

Posted By Graig Woodburn On December 31, 2009 @ 4:09 pm In General | 2 Comments

On cue, the snow, the Bruins and the excitement, arrived at the Winter Classic ice rink at Fenway Park [1] Thursday.

And from the moment they left the locker room ‘€“ make that the dugout ‘€“ the Bruins were enjoying the moment.

‘€œIt was amazing when we walked up the stairs, the snow was coming down, seeing Fenway Park in the background,’€ center Patrice Bergeron [2] said. ‘€œIt was amazing. A great day, a great moment, great experience for me, I’€™m just glad to be part of it.’€

After posing for a team picture – one with knits hats, one without ‘€“ the players and coaches became reacquainted with simple concept of outdoor hockey. When it snows, you shovel.

‘€œI remember when I was a kid that was my first job,’€ Bruins center Marc Savard [3] said. ‘€œI think I was around 13 years old and shoveled the outdoor rink and opened and closed the shack.’€

Things were a little different Thursday, as pro athletes and coaches jumped into grab snow shovels, although the team’€™s young guns seemed to be handling most of the snow removal duties.

‘€œI kind of noticed that the younger guys had grabbed shovels, I figured I better help out too,’€ said rookie Adam McQuaid, obviously a quick study at the ways and means of young NHL [4] players.

He was not alone.

‘€œI was just doing what I was told, I remember it from the old days,’€ second-year forward Blake Wheeler [5] said. ‘€œBack in the day, when it was snowing that hard we’€™d just go inside and wait for it to clear.’€

The snow certainly added to the atmosphere inside Fenway, as did the up-tempo music and sea of fans making there way to the ‘€œFree Fan Festival’€ across the street.

Seat cushions were in place, albeit with a dusting of fresh snow. The left field scoreboard had replaced the American League [6] East standings with those of the NHL [7]‘€™s Northeast Division.

Home plate had been transformed into a music stage, set for James Taylor to sing the US national anthem, Daniel Powter the Canadian version and the Dropkick Murphy’€™s to punctuate the day with ‘€œI’€™m Shipping Up to Boston.’€

There was no doubt, the Winter Classic was in play.

‘€œIt’€™s crazy,’€ said Steve Begin, ‘€œIt’€™s fun. The ice was unbelievable. It was special. I haven’€™t skated in snow in a long time.’€

While the snow was fun for practice, players were in general agreement that it would not be a good thing for the game itself.

‘€œHopefully we are going to get some clear ice out there because with the snow it makes it pretty interesting,’€ Wheeler said. ‘€œIf not, that’€™s the way it is and we have to adapt to it and play the game accordingly.’€

Aside from the obvious changes from a regular NHL game, the outdoor contest presents some interesting qualities.

With Tim Thomas [8] likely to get the starting nod in goal, Tuukka Rask [9] could be one of the coldest players on the ice as he sits through the game. But in keeping with his usual calm approach, Rask’€™s taking it all in stride.

‘€œSomeone told me there were seat warmers and you could always drink hot chocolate,’€ said Rask. ‘€œGear up, put a tuc on and enjoy. No stress for me. If I’€™m cold, then I’€™m cold.’€

There has also never been a fight in a Winter Classic game. Former Flyers enforcer Dave ‘€œthe hammer ‘€œ Schultz, was wondering about that while skating at the rink earlier in the week.

‘€œThere’€™s never been one so at this point, I think we should try it out,’€ grinned Schultz. ‘€œFlyers and Bruins ‘€“ its gotta happen.’€

Shawn Thornton [10] would be a potential candidate to drop the gloves for the Bruins, but he wasn’€™t expressing any interest in looking to start a brawl.

‘€œI honestly have never gone into a hockey game thinking about fighting, this is no different,’€ Thornton said while holding court in David Ortiz [11]‘€™s locker. ‘€œI’€™m going to go play hockey as if it were any other game. If something needs to be addressed, it will be addressed. I’€™m sure it’€™s the same on the other side.’€

Fights or no fights, snow or no snow, when all was said and done there was little doubt the Bruins were enjoying the experience.

‘€œIt’€™s great, it’€™s awesome,’€ said center David Krejci [12]. ‘€œI can’€™t wait to go out there tomorrow and see 35,000 people cheering for you and being excited about the game.’€

Drop the puck.


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URL to article: http://bigbadblog.weei.com/sports/boston/hockey/bruins/2009/12/31/already-an-amazing-experience-for-bruins/

URLs in this post:

[1] Fenway Park: http://media.weei.com/baseball/fenway-park.htm

[2] Patrice Bergeron: http://media.weei.com/hockey/patrice-bergeron.htm

[3] Marc Savard: http://media.weei.com/hockey/marc-savard.htm

[4] NHL: http://media.weei.com/hockey/nhl.htm

[5] Blake Wheeler: http://media.weei.com/hockey/blake-wheeler.htm

[6] American League: http://media.weei.com/baseball/american-league.htm

[7] NHL: http://media.weei.com/hockey/nhl-hockey.htm

[8] Tim Thomas: http://media.weei.com/hockey/tim-thomas.htm

[9] Tuukka Rask: http://media.weei.com/hockey/tuukka-rask.htm

[10] Shawn Thornton: http://media.weei.com/hockey/shawn-thornton.htm

[11] David Ortiz: http://media.weei.com/baseball/david-ortiz.htm

[12] David Krejci: http://media.weei.com/hockey/david-krejci.htm

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