Today is New Year's eve, and it is also the eve of the Winter Classic, between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens. This afternoon, the alumni squads for these two teams will face off in a friendlier match-up than we're likely to see tomorrow.
Both Squads feature some seriously talented former players, and while they're not going to be playing with the intensity of two teams jockeying for position in the NHL standings, it should be a great blast from the past, and an entertaining game to watch.
If you're a fan of old time hockey, it will be especially fun to watch. Both sides feature a few legends of the game, Don freakin' Cherry is back behind the Bruins bench again, and it should be some all-around good fun. Considering the way the Canadiens have played lately, I think all Habs fans could use a little fun game that won't actually impact the team's place in the standings.
How to Watch
Start time: 3:30 PM ET
In Canada (French): TVA
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
In the United States: NBCSN
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Benoit Brunet||Guy Carbonneau|
|Mats Naslund||Alex Kovalev||Oleg Petrov|
|Steve Shutt||Normand Dupont||Stephane Richer|
|Sergio Momesso||Donald Audette||Chris Nilan|
|Christian Bordeleau||Lucien Deblois|
|Larry Robinson*||Eric Desjardins|
|Gaston Gingras||Patrice Brisebois|
|Rick Green||Gilbert Delorme|
|Lyle Odelein||Stephane Quintal|
*Questionable with upper-body injury
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|P.J. Axelsson||Tom Fergus||Cam Neely|
|Sergei Samsonov||Ken Linseman||Mark Recchi|
|Tim Sweeney||Bob Sweeney||Terry O'Reilly|
|Marco Sturm||Rick Middleton||Steve Heinze|
|Jay Miller||Rob DiMaio|
|Ray Bourque||Hal Gill|
|Brian Leetch||Bob Beers|
|Al Iafrate||Glen Wesley|
Players to watch: Montreal
Though Larry Robinson is questionable for the game, if he plays, he's definitely one to keep an eye on. He is one of the greatest defenseman to ever put on a pair of skates, and I'd venture to guess that he'll still look great out there at the age of 64.
You have to wonder if Mike Milbury coaching, instead of playing for the Bruins, has anything to do with this particular altercation...
Yeah... Larry Robinson was a wild man.
You may also want to keep your eyes on number 22 for Montreal, because that is Steve Shutt. One of the purest goal-scorers the NHL has ever had, Shutt's wheelhouse for getting a shot off is basically anywhere that his stick can touch the puck. Even if his release is but half of what it once was, it will be a sight to behold.
Those two players were major parts of the 70's teams that probably still give the Bruins and their fans nightmares. In fact, Don Cherry may be having some flashback nightmares of the 1979 "too many men game," with the likes of Shutt and Robinson playing, and guys like Rejean Houle and Guy Lafleur coaching against him.
The Canadiens will also have Guy Carbonneau, the last Habs captain to win a Stanley cup during his tenure, as well as a former coach of the team. In addition, Alex Kovalev, one of the more beloved players to come through the city, is one of the younger members playing in this game and should be able to light up the scoresheet.
Chris Nilan is also playing, but even given the way that he played the game in his day, I wouldn't hold my breath for him to drop the gloves in this one.
Players to watch: Boston
One name comes to mind right away, and that is of course Ray Bourque. Hailed by many as the second coming of Bobby Orr, Bourque surely deserved to win a cup with the Bruins, but he unfortunately had to wait until he was traded to the Avalanche late in his career to get a ring. Like Larry Robinson, he is one of the best blueliners to ever play the game, and it will be amazing to see him lace up for one more game.
Another legend for the Bruins; Cam Neely will also be one to watch in this game. Only Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Bobby Hull had a higher goals-per-game rate over the span of a career than Neely. He is one of the more prolific scorers in Bruins and league history, so it will also be great to see him back on the ice.
They also boast a few Canadiens alumni as well, with Hal Gill, Sergei Samsonov, and Mark Recchi all lacing up for the Bruins side. None of them ever won a cup with the tricolore, but old Skillsy was a well-liked player during his time in Montreal.