Tonight, the Bruins, losing talent by the day like a Bear does it in the woods, come into the Wachovia Center to take on the very well rested Philadelphia Flyers in their first meeting of the 09-10 regular season.
Both teams will play in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on New Year's Day (1PM ET) and NHL.com today launched their Winter Classic website in anticipation of tonight's match-up.
If you didn't check out the Winter Classic site last season, make sure to click on the link above and bookmark the page so you can check back often.
The articles, pictures and interviews will get you pumped and ready for the holidays, I tell ya. And just like Halloween turns into Thanksgiving turns into Christmas, the Winter Classic will be upon you sooner than you think.
Last season, they had a webcam trained on the construction of the rink and facilities inside of Wrigley Field on the Winter Classic page for the entire construction process. Very nice to watch it go up and like I said, gets you in the mood for a special day of hockey.
This year, the game is on in Boston's historic Fenway Park. Construction will begin soon and here's a nice article on the 'Ice Man' getting the planning part wrapped up. If you haven't taken a second to imagine the complexities involved in putting an NHL rink inside a football or baseball stadium, it's worth a read. If not already, you will appreciate the dedication to the process.
And OGA will be looking for that webcam again this season, too.
For tonight's match-up, the Bruins come into Philadelphia missing some key ingredients. As everyone points out, Phil Kessel is in Toronto now. But he has yet to play this season due to injury and I am sure Boston has already dealt with the idea of adjusting to NHL life without Phil Kessel.
What they were not prepared for was losing Milan Lucic (broken finger, now on IR) and Marc Savard who will now be out 4-6 weeks with a broken foot. These injuries book-ended trading away Chuck Kobasew to the Wild. Yikes. All of a sudden, the Bruins are looking for some scoring. Time for the youngsters...
For the Flyers, the hockey situation could not be more different. They have played one game in the last 11 days. They are eager and chomping at the bit to get the season back on. The start-stop beginning has seen them flounder a bit (winless in last 3) but tonight gives them the perfect opportunity to get the FlyerExpress rolling. Ten practices over the last eleven days should help.
They will play the first of three games in four nights tonight. Coach John Stevens has put Arron Asham on the second line with Mike Richards and Simon Gagne, hoping to clear up some ice for goalless Gagne to get his season going after a poor start.
Claude Giroux will now play on the third line with rookie James van Riemsdyk. I would keep an eye on this line as they will have a lot of talent on the third line (skating with another tough presence in Ian Laperriere) while Boston will focus on the top two scoring lines. Giroux and van Riemsdyk on the third line could open things up tonight if the combo clicks.
Ray Emery will start his seventh game in a row and tonight's battle will begin the saga leading to the Winter Classic.
All in all, more hockey goodness and just another of the thousands of stories in the fresh, young season. Tonight's game is on the NHL Network so if you don't have Versus, no fear. If you don't have the NHL Network, time to call the carrier.
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