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Canadiens vs. Bruins Winter Classic Alumni game preview, TV schedule, lineups, and game thread

Some former Habs greats take on some former Bruins greats ahead of the Winter Classic.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

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

Canadiens Alumni Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Benoit Brunet Guy Carbonneau Mike Keane
Mats Naslund Alex Kovalev Oleg Petrov
Steve Shutt Normand Dupont Stephane Richer
Sergio Momesso Donald Audette Chris Nilan
Christian Bordeleau Lucien Deblois
Left Defense
Right Defense
Larry Robinson* Eric Desjardins
Gaston Gingras Patrice Brisebois
Rick Green Gilbert Delorme
Lyle Odelein Stephane Quintal
Francis Bouillon

*Questionable with upper-body injury

Jose Theodore
Richard Sevigny
Bruins Alumni Projected Lineup
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
Left Defense
Right Defense
Ray Bourque Hal Gill
Brian Leetch Bob Beers
Al Iafrate Glen Wesley
Don Sweeney
Andrew Raycroft
Reggie Lemelin

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.