Philadelphia Flyers Daily Clips – January 2_ 2012 FLYERS

Document Sample
Philadelphia Flyers Daily Clips – January 2_ 2012 FLYERS Powered By Docstoc
					Philadelphia Flyers Daily Clips – January 2, 2012

FLYERS Headlines
1. Philadelphia Inquirer- Flyers' Bryzgalov says he won't play in Winter Classic
2. Philadelphia Daily News- Bryzgalov drops 2012 bombshell
3. Philadelphia Daily News- Field of Dreams to Frozen Pond
4. Philadelphia Daily News- Numerical look at Classic
5. CSNPhilly.com- Bryzgalov: Bobrovsky to start Winter Classic
6. CSNPhilly.com- Rangers wary of harsh crowd, distractions
7. CSNPhilly.com- Taking ice at the Bank is special for Flyers
8. CSNPhilly.com- Rinaldo meets childhood idol Lindros
9. Delaware County Times- WINTER CLASSIC: Batty Bryz takes a stand (up) on
benching
10. Delaware County Times- 'Classic' matchup: Rangers, Flyers meet in showcase
11. Delaware County Times- Winter Classic: Lindros' welcome back a warm one at
Citizens Bank Park
12. Delaware County Times- WINTER CLASSIC: It’s the perfect setting for some
outdoor hockey
13. Delaware County Times- Winter Classic: Eric Lindros talks about return to Philly
14. Bucks County Courier-Times- Flyers will go with Bobrovsky in Classic
15. Bucks County Courier- Times- Flyers-Rangers Significant Moments
16. Bucks County Courier-Times-Winter Classic facts and figures
17. Bucks County Courier-Post- Winter Classic by numbers
18. Bucks County Courier-Times- Looking back to Fenway
19. Camden Courier-Post- Benched Bryz steals Winter Classic show
20. Camden Courier-Post- Flyers share fun with loved ones
21. Camden Courier-Post- Entertaining Bryz Q&A on Winter Classic benching and more
22. Philly Sports Daily- Bryzgalov Says Team Is Better Without Him In Winter Classic
23. Philly Sports Daily- Flyers Not Concerned With Outspoken Bryzgalov
24. Philly Sports Daily- Flyers Back Bobrovsky For Winter Classic Start
25. Philly Sports Daily- Zolnierczyk Eager For Outdoor Excitement
26. Philly Sports Daily- Bright: No Goalie Controversy Despite Winter Classic Call
27. Philadelphia Flyers- On The Fly: BOB GET CLASSIC START
28. NHL.com- Flyers confirm Bobrovsky will start, 'Bryz' on bench
29. NHL.com- Weekes: Laviolette fearless when picking goalies
30. NHL.com- Classic practice day delivers 'unbelievable feeling'
31. NHL.com- Flyers-Rangers rivalry to be viewed on national stage
32. ESPN.com- The Universe is hard to figure out
33. ESPN.com- Flyers' Timonen still underappreciated


New York Rangers Headlines (FLYERS Next Opponent)1. New York Times – Flyers
Make Goalie Switch for Classic
2. New York Times – With '24/7,' HBO Refines a Winning Formula
3. New York Times – Rangers and Flyers Bring Bare-Knuckle History to a Showcase
4. New York Daily News – NHL Winter Classic between NY Rangers, Philadelphia
Flyers a big game, no matter what the start time
5. New York Post – Torts expects McDonagh back on blue line
6. New York Post – Spotlight follows Rangers into Winter Classic
7. New York Post – Weather pushes back start of Winter Classic to 3 p.m.
8. New York Post – Rangers 2011 in Review
9. Bergen County Record – Winter Classic: No Staal for today's game
10. Bergen County Record – Rangers ready for hostile Philly crowd at the Winter Classic
11. Newsday – Rangers ready for Classic confrontation


NHL Headlines
1. NHL.com- Conklin has the tricks of outdoor goalie trade
2. NHL.com- Blues' Cole suspended three games
3. NHL.com- Malkin, Stamkos, Sedin grab monthly honors
4. NHL.com- Ovi enters the new year on a roll
5. NHL.com- Report: NHL investigating Barch-Subban incident
6. TSN.ca- MALKIN, STAMKOS, H. SEDIN NAMED TOP STARS OF December
7. TSN.ca- BEYAK: 2011 WAS A YEAR TO REMEMBER FOR JETS FANS
8. TSN.ca- BARCH EJECTED AFTER ALLEGED RACIAL SLUR IN WIN OVER
HABS; ESPN.com- Report: Krys Barch uses racial slur
9. ESPN.com- Josh Gorges gets 6-year extension
10. ESPN.com- James Wisniewski to miss 6 weeks


FLYERS Articles

1. Philadelphia Inquirer- Flyers' Bryzgalov says he won't play in Winter Classic

Sam Carchidi

In what sometimes seemed more like a comedy routine than an impromptu news
conference in the Flyers' locker room at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, Ilya Bryzgalov
revealed that backup Sergei Bobrovsky would be the team's starting goalie in Monday's
Winter Classic against the New York Rangers.

"I have great news and even better news," said Bryzgalov, who has lost four straight and
struggled through most of the season. "Great news: I'm not playing [Monday]. And good
news: We have a chance to win the game."

He was mocking himself for his poor play. Signed to a nine-year, $51 million contract
before the season, Bryzgalov has a 3.01 goals-against average and .890 save percentage.
Both are career worsts.

In his last four games, he has a 4.58 GAA and .816 save percentage.
"It's not the end of the universe," Bryzgalov, 31, said of being benched.

Bobrovsky, 23, has been on a hot streak. In his last eight games, he is 5-1 with two no-
decisions and a 1.55 goals-against average and .947 save percentage.

While saying they still have confidence in Bryzgalov, virtually everyone in the Flyers'
locker room seemed pleased Bobrovsky was getting the nod.

"Bryz has maybe had a tough couple games, but Bob has been pretty steady the whole
year," high-scoring winger Scott Hartnell said. "I think it might be good for Bryz to get a
wake-up call and work on some things and get back to the goalie he can be and that we
all know. That's why [general manager Paul Holmgren] signed him. He's going to be
good for us. I have a lot of faith in him. He's a good man and a great goalie, and he'll be
there for us."

But not on Monday - in the biggest stage of the NHL's regular season.

"It's totally deserved," center Danny Briere said of Bobrovsky getting the start. "For us, it
doesn't matter who's playing, but it's good to see Bob being rewarded for his play."

"Obviously, Bob deserves it," center Claude Giroux said. "He's been playing well and
since the start of the season he's been working hard. I think guys see how hard he works."

No one outworks Bobrovsky, defenseman Braydon Coburn said.

"This guy probably is the last guy to leave from the practice rink every day. I know,
because I'm usually the second-to-last," Coburn said. "He's kind of a little bit of an
opposite to Bryz. He's easygoing, and Bryz is a personality."

Bobrovsky refused to say he was starting, smiling and saying it was not his place to make
an announcement.

"It doesn't matter who starts because the most important thing is the result," said the
second-year goalie. "It's a real game. It's two points on the line, so it'll be special. But the
result is the most important thing."

Bobrovsky is 8-2-1 with a 2.52 GAA and .913 save percentage.

Playing part-time, he conceded, "is more difficult to be as confident and as prepared
because I never know when I'll start. There's no rhythm for the preparation."

Is Monday going to be one the biggest game of his life?

Bobrovsky grinned.

"At this point, every game is the most important game of my career," he said.
Bryzgalov, whose announcement reportedly infuriated Flyers coaches, was asked about
his mind-set for the Winter Classic.

"Make sure I don't forget early in the morning my thermos. Put some nice tea in and
enjoy the bench," he deadpanned.

About a half hour after Bryzgalov revealed that Bobrovsky would start, coach Peter
Laviolette refused to announce his decision. Laviolette said he hadn't talked to either
goalie yet and would speak with them later in the day.

Bryzgalov said he was told of the decision by goalie coach Jeff Reese.

"Yes. I'm a human," said Bryzgalov when asked if he was disappointed. "I'm not made
from steel, but it is what it is, and I had a good practice again like yesterday and two days
ago. We just keep moving forward and lots of games in front of us. Lots of hockey. I
heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for
this."

Laviolette said he had some "tough conversations," telling players they were not in the
lineup.

"Nobody wants to hear that they are not playing," Laviolette said. "Those are
conversations I don't . . . take lightly. I think when it comes down to making decisions,
you want to put the team on the ice you feel has the best opportunity to be successful."

In other words, just say Bob, regardless of the "humongous" contract that the usual starter
signed.



2. Philadelphia Daily News- Bryzgalov drops 2012 bombshell

Frank Seravalli

It was Peter Laviolette’s biggest decision of the still-young NHL season.

And Ilya Bryzgalov took it upon himself to break the news.

In a move that is sure to ruffle more than a few feathers inside the Flyers’ locker room,
Bryzgalov alerted the media on Sunday after practice at Citizens Bank Park that he would
not be the starting goaltender for Monday’s 2012 Winter Classic.

“I have great news and I have even better news,” Bryzgalov told NHL.com. “OK, the
great news is that I am not playing tomorrow night. And the better news is that we have a
chance to win the game tomorrow night.”
Laviolette, who treats his lineup decisions like nuclear football codes the day before a
game, surely would have kept his starter under wraps until just before puck drop if he had
it his way. Since the Flyers would have not had a morning, pre-game skate because of the
1 o’clock start, the goaltending decision would have added to the intrigue of an already
fascinating outdoor matchup.

Now, it is all out there, free to analyze.

Somehow, Sergei Bobrovsky will start the NHL’s most visible contest of the regular
season, leaving $51 million man Bryzgalov – the league’s highest-paid goaltender - on
the bench for everyone to see.

Let that resonate for a moment. The Flyers, who have never found it within themselves to
pay a goaltender the big bucks, have not only done so, but are already admitting that
Bryzgalov hasn’t yet played up to his paycheck.

For his part, Laviolette – who addressed the media after Bryzgalov’s bombshell – said
that he had not yet made a decision. Bryzgalov said he was notified by team goaltending
coach Jeff Reese and through a posted lineup in the Flyers’ locker room. He said he had
not spoken to Laviolette and did not “see a reason why” he should.

On one hand, the fact that Bobrovsky is starting in such a momentous game is not such a
surprise. Unlike an All-Star Game, the Winter Classic actually counts in the standings.
And Bobrovsky gives the Flyers the best statistical chance to win.

The Flyers are 8-2-2 when Bobrovsky starts, compared to just 13-9-3 with Bryzgalov in
net at puck drop. In his previous 7 appearances, Bobrovsky’s numbers are better than a
1.47 goals against-average and .950 save percentage.

And it’s not the first time Laviolette has decided to stick with the hot hand in the Winter
Classic. Remember, it was Michael Leighton who was in net for the Flyers in Fenway
Park in 2010, and not Brian Boucher. Leighton had just joined the team on Dec. 15 off
waivers. At the time, Leighton was 4-0-0 in his first 4 starts with the Flyers, having
allowed just 6 goals in those starts, including a 6-0 shutout on Dec. 30, 2009 in New
York.

Then again, the Flyers were in 13th place in the Eastern Conference on Jan. 1, 2010. In
order to push for a playoff spot by April, Laviolette had no choice but to stick with the
hot hand.

This time around, with a 6 point cushion on 8th place, Laviolette had the flexibility and
freedom to make a judgment call that could have factored solely on mental health.
With a decision like this, you have to wonder what kind of potential ramifications
Bryzgalov sitting on the bench will have on his clearly fragile psyche and his future play
in net?

Truth be told, Leighton’s surprising start in that game didn’t affect Boucher backstopping
the Flyers to the playoffs in that fate-filled game on April 11, 2010 against the Rangers,
when his shootout save on the last shot of the regular season ultimately propelled them to
the Stanley Cup Final.

Bryzgalov is not Boucher, who has made a career out of dusting himself off and playing
strong no matter the disappointment.

Instead, Bryzgalov said he will make sure to not forget his Thermos on Monday so he can
“enjoy the bench.”

On Sunday, Bryzgalov said there is still “lots of hockey to be played.” And he is right, of
course. One game on Jan. 2 makes up just 1.2 percent of the regular season. Bryzgalov
said he “heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup.”

The decision clearly impacted Bryzgalov, to the point where he felt like he needed to
create his own New Year’s fireworks.

“Yes, I am a human,” Bryzgalov said. “I’m not made from steel.”

Bryzgalov not starting in the Winter Classic has now created contract controversy, one
that raises all sorts of questions.

If you would have asked the Flyers’ brass in June, when the team decided to commit to
one goaltender for the next 9 years, if they could have imagined any way in which a
healthy Bryzgalov would not start in the Winter Classic, would they have said yes? If
they would have said yes, would the Flyers have still completed the deal?

If the Flyers had known that Bobrovsky would return for his sophomore season this
polished, knowing that he would be their guy on Jan. 2, would they have just stuck with
him?

Just 2 weeks ago, coming off of 7 straight wins with Bryzgalov in net for 6 of them, not
starting him in the Winter Classic would have seemed like a preposterous idea. Suddenly,
it’s not so crazy to think about Bobrovsky starting in April when the playoffs get
underway.

At his media availability on Sunday, Laviolette said he planned on speaking to his
goaltenders immediately after the press conference. Hopefully HBO’s cameras were a fly
on the wall for Laviolette’s surely heated conversation with Bryzgalov. This isn’t exactly
the first time this season that Bryzgalov has thrown Laviolette – and his teammates – a
curveball through the media.
Back in November, while the Flyers were practicing in Anaheim, Bryzgalov was asked if
he was upset with the fact that Bobrovsky played in 3 straight games and 15 out of 21
periods.

“I am sick, guys,” Bryzgalov said. “I was dealing with a cold.”

Caught off-guard, Laviolette said that Bryzgalov “may have come down with
something.”

That didn’t stop multiple players from coming up to this reporter to say, “I can’t believe
you would buy what he was saying. He wasn’t sick.”

Now, with the ball having dropped on 2012, Bryzgalov has dropped an even bigger bomb
in the Flyers’ locker room. You have to wonder how that will go over. Maybe there was
truth in the words of his former Coyotes teammates back in November.

Meanwhile, the Flyers' goaltending carousel continues to turn.


3. Philadelphia Daily News- Field of Dreams to Frozen Pond

Sam Donnellon

You know that old guy who used to kick you off his lawn?

Well, imagine being David Montgomery, the Phillies president and CEO.

 Imagine walking out of your office every day and watching trucks and plywood and
cables upon cables driven, pushed and rolled over your beautiful baseball diamond.
Imagine watching all those workers, their Wawa coffees in hand, schlepping non-stop,
daylight, nighttime, 24 hours, all around your well-manicured infield.

"I knew that the toughest message would be going down to tell Mike Boekholder that we
were going to have ice," Montgomery said.

Boekholder is the head groundskeeper of Citizens Bank Park. Under normal
circumstances, he and his crew would have begun repairing the playing field immediately
upon the conclusion of the baseball season, get the grass and sod down by Nov. 1, so it
could have all of the winter and early spring to root and grow. But when the Phillies
agreed last summer to rent out their stadium for Monday's Winter Classic outdoor hockey
game between the Flyers and New York Rangers, those plans had to be put on hold. The
NHL started constructing its outdoor event here on Dec. 19, so it made no sense for
Boekholder and his crew to lay new sod, only to see it ripped to pieces by the massive
undertaking required to turn his field of dreams into a, well, pond.
"That is one of the things you worry about, no question," Montgomery said before
surveying the operation the other day.

"The reality is we knew we were going to have to sacrifice our field. That's a price we
will pay. It's going to be a little bit of a challenge, because when you redo the field here,
normally you do it in the fall, and the growing season goes from Nov. 1 right straight
through. So this will be a little shorter. But we've studied that substantially and are
confident that come April, our field conditions will be fine for baseball."

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said it is the NHL's preference to play in football
stadiums, because they can sell more seats and line up the rink in a more fan-friendly
way. Hard to argue either point, but here's what the league is learning along the way. A
baseball park somehow brings more of the feel they were looking for when this event was
conjured up. The grandstands of Wrigley, Fenway and now Citizens Bank Park give a
more pond-hockey feel to it, more of the connection to its pond-hockey roots that the
league was seeking when it first tried this amid the snow in Buffalo in 2008.

"There were a lot of uh-oh moments to that game," said Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy
commissioner and an attorney. "All of which we were able to overcome, so the players
felt good about that game. It was all positive that year, but there were things that
happened that year that will, knock on wood, never happen again. Including the ice
surface wasn't great. It was cracking in areas, causing delays. It was very wet
temperaturewise. But it all came together."

"We wound up after that buying our own portable rink for seven figures," Bettman said.

That rink, housed in a Toronto warehouse and dusted off each year at this time, now lies
across the Phillies infield.

"We learned a lot from that game," Bettman said. "And each year the game has gotten
bigger and better, on and off the ice. We had something to build on and we used each
experience to build it each year."

Here's what else they learned: Baseball parks have no scheduling conflicts. Which makes
the NHL's desire to make this game an event much easier. The league came in early, and,
in this case, the rink will remain for nearly a week after the Winter Classic, allowing high
school teams, college teams and AHL teams to experience an outdoor game.

And allowing more people from the Delaware Valley to at least see what it looks like
from inside. Montgomery beamed when he spoke of anticipated sellouts for both today's
alumni game and next week's Phantoms game.

"It showcases our city," he said. "I'm born in Philadelphia and lived here my entire life,
and I'm very proud of this city in so many ways. And I think one of the real sources of
pride that we all should have is the vitality of the sports community and the way we
support each other."
Opened in 2004, Citizens Bank Park already has built quite a resumé. A world
championship, five consecutive postseason appearances, Roy Halladay's postseason no-
no, the heroics of Jimmy Rollins and Cliff Lee, Billy Joel . . .

"And now guys like Bobby Clarke and Billy Barber will have played at Citizens Bank
Park," Montgomery said. "Pretty special for somebody who's been here following
Philadelphia sports for a long, long time. If the South Philadelphia sports complexes have
a bucket list of events of what you'd like to have, this is going to be pretty special, to
check off the Bridgestone Winter Classic."


4. Philadelphia Daily News- Numerical look at Classic

Frank Seravalli

Here is a look at the Winter Classic by the numbers, courtesy of the NHL:

1: Cable cam that will be used in network coverage by NBC and CBC

2: Current Rangers who have played in past NHL Winter Classics (Mike Rupp,
Pittsburgh, 2011 and Erik Christensen, Pittsburgh, 2008)

3: Baseball parks that have hosted an NHL Winter Classic – Wrigley Field, Fenway Park
and Citizens Bank Park™

3: Rangers who had seasons of 50 or more goals (Vic Hadfield 50 in 1971-72, Adam
Graves 52 in 1993-94, Jaromir Jagr 54 in 2005-06)

4: Colors were used to light the Empire State Building on Dec. 28 in celebration of the
NHL Winter Classic (Flyers orange and white, Rangers blue and red)

4: Of the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the U.S. since 1975 were NHL
Winter Classic games.

6: Flyers who had seasons of 50 or more goals (Reggie Leach 61 in 1975-76, 50 in 1979-
80; Tim Kerr 54 in 1983-84, 54 in 1984-85, 58 in 1985-86, 58 in 1986-87; Mark Recchi
53 in 1992-93; John LeClair 51 in 1995-96, 50 in 1996-97, 51 in 1997-98; Bill Barber 50
in 1975-76, Rick MacLeish 50 in 1972-73)

9: Members of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers (including coaches)
are participating in the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni Game: Glenn Anderson,
Colin Campbell, Adam Graves, Mike Keenan, Nick Kypreos, Brian Leetch, Stephane
Matteau, Mark Messier, Mike Richter
9: Active Flyers who have played in past Winter Classics: Daniel Briere, Philadelphia,
2010; Matt Carle, Philadelphia, 2010; Braydon Coburn, Philadelphia, 2010; Claude
Giroux, Philadelphia, 2010; Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia, 2010; Maxime Talbot,
Pittsburgh, 2011; Kimmo Timonen, Philadelphia, 2010; James Van Riemsdyk,
Philadelphia, 2010; and Matt Walker, Chicago, 2009

10: Playoff meetings between the Flyers and Rangers (Flyers have won six)

14 Members of Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers team participating in the
Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni Game, including coaches and off-ice ambassadors:
Bill Barber, Bob Clarke, Terry Crisp, Gary Dornhoefer, Larrry Goodenough, Bob Kelly,
Orest Kindrachuk,Reggie Leach, Bernie Parent, Jimmy Watson, Joe Watson, Mike
Nykoluk, Dave Schultz, Don Saleski

25.5: Hours of NHL Network live coverage of Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic activities

39: Average temperature in Fahrenheit at puck drop for the four NHL Winter Classics
(2008 – 31.1, 2009 – 31.9, 2010 – 39.6, 2011 – 51.7)

51: NHL Alumni will play in the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni Game on Dec. 31
(1 p.m., ET VERSUS, CBC, CSN Philly)

53: Length, in feet, of the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration unit, specially built for
the NHL Winter Classic

66: Goals scored by Eric Lindros as a member of the Rangers (over 3 seasons)

69: Players in NHL history who have played for both the Rangers and Flyers

70: Broadcast cameras (all networks) that will capture all the NHL Winter Classic action
at Citizens Bank Park, including a cable cam and an airplane cam

93: Miles separate Philadelphia and New York City

112: All-time regular-season games won by the Rangers over the Flyers

114: All-time regular-season games won by the Flyers over the Rangers

134: Goals scored by Jaromir Jagr as a member of the Rangers

300: Ton capacity of refrigeration trailer that will keep the ice cool at Citizens Bank
Park™

311: Regular-season and playoff games between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia
Flyers including the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
314: Goals scored by Eric Lindros as a member of the Flyers (over 8 seasons)

350: Gallons of paint used to make Citizens Bank Park™ ice white

2003: The year the Heritage Classic was played in Edmonton between the Oilers and the
Montreal Canadiens, the first regular season NHL outdoor game in history

2008: The year the first NHL Winter Classic was played in Buffalo between the Sabres
and Pittsburgh Penguins, with Sidney Crosby netting the game-winner in a shootout

3,000: Gallons of coolant used to freeze the Citizens Bank Park™ rink

4,500: Soft pretzels projected to be purchased by fans during the Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic*

9,000: Cheese steaks projected to be purchased by fans during the Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic*

10,000: Hot Dogs projected to be purchased by fans during the Bridgestone NHL Winter
Classic*

12,000: Cups of hot chocolate and coffee projected to be purchased by fans during the
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic*

20,000: Gallons of water needed to create a two-inch ice surface on Citizens Bank Park™

27,000: Plastic bags prevented from entering circulation thanks to the continuing NHL
Green initiative to provide reusable commemorative bags free with purchase at official
merchandise locations.

47,000: Fans are expected to attend the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens
Bank Park™

75,000: People are expected to pass through Spectator Plaza between Saturday, Dec. 31
through Monday, Jan. 2

218,259: Total spectators in attendance at the first four Winter Classics



5. CSNPhilly.com- Bryzgalov: Bobrovsky to start Winter Classic

Tim Panaccio
If there were any worries over the fallout of Ilya Bryzgalov learning that Sergei
Bobrovsky would be starting the Winter Classic, it seemed quickly dispelled on New
Year’s Day.

Bryzgalov, in his usual self-deprecating humor, admitted the Flyers have a better chance
to defeat the Rangers on Monday without him in net.

“I have great news and even better news,” Bryzgalov announced during the first of
several scrums he did with the media.

“Great news, I’m not playing tomorrow night. Good news, we have a chance to win the
game.” Bryzgalov was dead serious. Alas, his coach, Peter Laviolette wasn’t amused.
Why? Because, Laviolette had not spoken to his goalies yet – only to goalies coach Jeff
Reese, who told Bryz he wasn’t starting.

“I haven’t spoke to either of the goaltenders yet, but I plan on speaking to them after I get
done with you guys,” Laviolette said, allowing his displeasure to seep through.

Bryzgalov was seen leaving Citizens Bank Park before Laviolette said that, so it’s
doubtful Laviolette actually got to talk to him in person.

Then again, Bryzgalov said he had already spoken to Reese, anyway, and did not need to
talk to Laviolette.

“No, I didn’t see a reason why,” Bryzgalov said. “He’s the head coach. He makes the
decisions and he’s responsible for the results. I can understand him. He probably wants to
put the best lineup for what he’s got.”

The 31-year-old Bryzgalov has not been focused during three of his last four starts while
Bobrovsky has won three in a row, plus delivered huge wins in Dallas and Pittsburgh.

The stats say it all: Bobrovsky in his last eight starts: 5-1, two no-decisions, 1.55 goals
against average and .947 save percentage. Bryzgalov in his last four starts: 0-4, 4.58,
.816. His season stats of 3.01, ,890 are a career worst for him.

Bryz might be the weekly star of HBO’s 24/7, but Bobrovksy has been less star struck on
the ice. The 23-year-old, who was fearful of his coach’s reaction, would not talk about
starting or even acknowledge it.

“It doesn’t matter who starts because the most important thing is the result,” Bobrovsky
said.

“It’s a real game. It’s two points on the line, so it’ll be special but the result is the most
important thing.”
This decision should not surprise anyone. Laviolette is being consistent in his approach to
how he handles his team on a daily basis. He rewards players who play well with more
ice time.

He started Bobrovsky over Bryzgalov at the end of November because the former had
stolen points for him when Bryzgalov was struggling.

As much as Bryzgalov said the decision hurts a bit, his teammates said it shows the coach
is consistent in placing the team ahead of individuals, regardless of outside distractions
like the Winter Classic or Bryzgalov having a $51 million contract.

Scott Hartnell flat out said what other players have mumbling lately: that this should be a
“wake-up call” for Bryzgalov to get his act together.

“I think it might be good for Bryz to get a wake-up call and work on some things and get
back to the goalie he can be – and that we all know,” Hartnell said.

“That’s why Homer [general manager Paul Holmgren] signed him. He’s going to be good
for us. I have a lot of faith in him. He’s a good man, and a great goalie and he’ll be there
for us.”

Hartnell said the players in the room respect Laviolette’s decision because it was a tough
call, but the right call.

“It’s great,” Hartnell said. “I think [Laviolette] emphasizes to us players, if you’re not
playing or you’re doing stupid things out there or you keep making the same mistakes,
you’re going to get limited ice time.

“For goalies I think it’s a little different, but Bob’s been solid for us almost every game
he’s played except for the Winnipeg game at home when he had a rough start. When
Bryz gets in the net … he’s gotta earn it back.”

Veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen didn’t mince words, either.

“As a coach, I would do the same thing,” Timonen said. “You reward players who play
well and work hard. It doesn’t matter if Winter Classic or whatever. Doesn’t matter. You
get some playing time and it’s better for everybody.

“The way he played in Pittsburgh, he was calm, he played with confidence. As a player
you can tell when a player has confidence. He has it right now and hopefully, he can keep
it up because it makes our life easier when the goalie plays really well.”

Danny Briere, who like Timonen wears an “A” also agreed Laviolette is looking past the
politics of the event or Bryzgalov’s gargantuan contract and doing what a coach is
supposed to do: evaluate off what he sees on the ice.
“It’s one game,” Briere said. “I know it’s a big game, the big stage, but you know what?
It’s one game out of 82. Right now Bob is playing extremely well and he gets rewarded
for it.”

And Bryzgalov’s mental state down the road?

“I’m not worried about Bryz,” Briere replied. “Bryz is a good goalie. He’s going to
bounce back. He’s had some bad luck lately, but we all know he’s a good goalie. We’re
going to need him down the stretch.

“We’re going to need him in the playoffs. I’m not worried at all.”

At one point during the many scrums, Bryzgalov got serious when asked if were
disappointed.

“Of course I am. I’m a human,” he replied. “I’m not made from steel, but it is what it is. I
had a good practice again, like yesterday and two days ago.

“We’ll just keep moving forward. There’s lots of games in front of us, lots of hockey. I
heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win Stanley Cup. I’ll prepare for that.”

Then came the spaced-out Bryz.

Asked about his mindset, he replied, “Make sure I don’t forget early in the morning my
thermos. Put some nice tea in and enjoy the bench.”

Earl Grey with lemon and very sweet, he added.

In another scrum, Bryz was asked again about not starting.

“People change their minds and they think one way,” Bryzgalov said. “Some point in
their life, they lose hope. They change and they start thinking differently.”

You’ve lost hope?

“No, it’s just hockey,” he replied. “Remember what I said about the universe. And our
problems here? Come on. Are you serious?

“If you think your life is bad, there is always someone on the Earth even worse. Just be
happy. Don’t worry, be happy ... It’s not the end of the universe.”

Holmgren, incidentally, didn’t know about the goalie call, but didn’t have a problem with
it either.
“At the end of the day, it’s an event, but there [are] two points on the line,” Holmgren
said. “Again, I didn’t know what you were telling me to be true, but Sergei has played
well.”

Asked if Laviolette was sending a positive message to team at large that all play is
rewarded regardless of potential outside influences, Holmgren replied, “He’s played well.
Why not?”

6. CSNPhilly.com- Rangers wary of harsh crowd, distractions

Jay Greenberg

Hockey played in a shallow outfield promises a challenge about which Henrik Lundqvist
admits his Rangers are clueless.

“There are going to be a lot of distractions out there,” said the goalie late Sunday
afternoon. “You just have to be prepared for that, a lot of things are going to pop up.

“It’s a test to be able to push this to the side when they drop the puck.”

The Rangers strongly suspect that 45,000 people can make a lot more noise than the usual
19,500, even if much of that sound can escape through the open air. Inescapable through
all the other variables the Rangers will face in Monday’s Winter Classic, however, will
be the fact they are in Philadelphia.

“We got booed today when we came out by the people cleaning the seats,” said Brad
Richards. “So I can’t imagine it will be any different tomorrow.”

Does he believe the workers have maps telling them which seats were in the Rangers’
allotment?

"Yeah,” laughed Richards. “They’re probably unscrewing some stuff.”

People have a screw loose about this game, which counts for one eighty-second of the
regular season. Bless the NHL for making their fans believe it is worth so much more.
We’re not even halfway through the season and fans are willing to pay for an AHL game
just for the privilege of seeing this one are in all the way regardless. And that’s
problematic for the teams involved.

“It’s not the playoffs,” Tortorella was forced to say on Sunday.

But the Rangers, who began the season in Europe and, because of Madison Square
Garden renovations, did not play at home until the eighth game of the season, are no
accidental tourists.
“We have had a number of distractions right from the get-go of camp,” said Coach John
Tortorella. “I’m glad we have gone through it.

“They have handled themselves very well through a lot of things and also this. So there
won’t be any problem with that at all tomorrow.”

“We are honored to be involved in it, glad we were picked. But to answer your question,
let’s play, it’s time to play the game.”

And high time, the Flyers feel, to beat the Eastern Conference leaders after losses at the
Garden in the first two games of the six the two teams will play in 2011-12.

“There wasn’t much difference in the first two games,” said Richards. “The second game,
both teams kind of were playing a chess match when we got two deflections and
[Lundqvist] made a big save on Jagr early in the second period and that got us going.

“Both games we were lucky to score the first two goals and protected the lead well, but
they could have gone either way.”

The Rangers aren’t foolish enough to buy into their superiority over a team they lead by
only two points, but have been as much a sucker for Winter Classic hype as have been the
fans.

“The older you get the more you realize these things go by quick,” said Richards. “It’s
going to be over before you know it.

“I tried to enjoy [Sunday’s practice, followed by a family skate], be a little kid out there.
Same thing tomorrow, I will soak it all in. But we are on a great stage and want to play
the way you really want to.”

A lot of these guys haven’t played outside since their dads insisted on parking the car in
the driveway. Lundqvist, who says he never has strapped on the pads in an open-air rink,
was relieved during practice to learn he could pick up shots easily.

“It’s different because it’s brighter around the glass,” he said. “That’s not a bad thing, it’s
easier to see the puck because usually the stands behind the glass are darker.

So that’s one unknown off his list, the Flyers being another.

“Respect them,” Lundqvist said. “Really don’t like them, but I mean that in a good way.”

Right, so did the seat cleaners at Citizens Bank Park. So Ranger fans had best bring a
towel. Or, for the worst case scenario, a big cushion

“So many weeks and months since we started talking about this,” said Lundqvist. “I’m
really excited, can’t believe it’s here.”
“Everybody is smiling and having a real good time right now. It would be a little
different feeling if we were struggling, but we are definitely enjoying the ride here.”


7. CSNPhilly.com- Taking ice at the Bank is special for Flyers

Sarah Baicker

Jakub Voracek’s story is emblematic of so many professional hockey players – and it is
the story that makes the Winter Classic so much more than just a hockey game played in
a baseball stadium.

As children in the Czech Republic, Voracek and his friends would spend hours on end
scrimmaging outdoors on frozen ponds. As a 10-year-old, Voracek said, he’d spend all
day outside, coming home only to grab a quick lunch and a change of clothes. If the
weather allowed for it, he would skate and skate until the sun went down and he was
forced to retire indoors.

It is that experience that serves as the model for the Winter Classic, and it is that history
that so many NHLers share.

“You feel it,” Voracek said. “You feel that air when you’re outside, it’s really different
than when you’re at the rink. The fresh air, the fans are going to be there tomorrow, the
atmosphere. I’m very excited.”

Whether they’re from Europe, the U.S. or Canada, the Flyers have a shared history of
learning to love the game of hockey outdoors. Ask any of them what it was like to take to
the ice at Citizens Bank Park for the first time Sunday morning, and they’ll all tell you
the same thing: It was truly special.

“I don’t know what it is exactly, I don’t know how to say, just looking over your head
and seeing the sky, basically,” Briere said. “There’s just something magical about it. The
weather was perfect today, I can’t wait to see it with 47, 48,000 people all the way
around. I’m really looking forward to it.

“It brings you back to your childhood – to my childhood, when I used to play outside
with my friends, just kind of having fun, enjoying the game. That’s what it brought back
to me.”

Like Voracek, Briere spent his winters as a child playing outdoors as often as he could.
His parents, he said, spent hours flooding and freezing their backyard in Gatineau,
Quebec. Last Christmas, during the Flyers’ seven-day holiday break, he returned home to
Canada and lived out the experience of his youth with his three sons. They spent “four or
five hours a day for four or five days” out on his neighbor’s frozen backyard.
Also from Canada, Harry Zolnierczyk has hockey roots on the ice outside.

“I’m from Toronto, so the outdoor rinks, they’re all over,” Zolnierczyk said. “But as you
start to get older, you don’t have much time to skate outdoors anymore. The only time
I’m back to Toronto is over the summer, so that kind of puts it out of the question.”

Setting foot out on the ice in the middle of a baseball field was “awesome” and
“amazing,” Zolnierczyk said.

Sean Couturier, at just 19 years of age, isn’t too far removed from his childhood – but
still, it’s been a while since he played hockey under the sun with friends, something he
used to do “pretty much every day after school” as a kid.

“It’s pretty cool, actually, being out there in the sun, enjoying the park,” Couturier said.
“It brings back memories from when you’re younger.”

The ice here at Citizens Bank Park offers some challenges different from that at indoor
arenas, a number of the Flyers said. The lighting is obviously different, for instance, and
the ice moves a lot slower. But, as Zolnierczyk pointed out, “it’s going to be different for
both teams, and both teams are going to want to win this game pretty bad.”

Monday's game is just one of 82 regular-season games for the Flyers and Rangers. But
today, spending time with their families and tasting the experience for the first time, only
further excited the Flyers for what lies ahead, less than 24 hours way.

“I was here for a few games watching the Phillies, I was here for the Alumni Game,”
Briere said. “To see everybody in orange, I think that was really cool. That’s what I’m
looking forward to. I played the one in Boston in Fenway Park, and it was spread out a lot
more. Being on the ice today, it feels like the stands, they go way up, and it feels like
they’re right on top of you.

“I can’t wait to be in the middle of it with the fans all the way around.”


8. CSNPhilly.com- Rinaldo meets childhood idol Lindros

Tim Panaccio

For Zac Rinaldo, the Winter Classic has already seen him fulfill a life’s dream: meeting
Eric Lindros.

The Flyers’ pugnacious Italian stallion sat next to Lindros on Saturday night beaming as
he signed a couple of Rinaldo’s Flyers jerseys.

For a moment, you almost forgot this was an NHL player meeting a former NHL legend.
“I was a super fan yesterday,” the 21-year-old Rinaldo said. “I was on Cloud Nine. It was
great, a great feeling, my dad [Rick] got to meet him, too. My dad loved him more than
me growing up.”

Rinaldo began watching Lindros play at age 8 on television. He followed Lindros through
his eight-year Flyer career, then stopped following him once he was traded to the
Rangers.

“I’ve modeled myself identical to him and I told him that yesterday,” Rinaldo admitted.
“I know, I’m not as big as he was. I wanted to hit like him, skate like him and eventually
score like him.”

Score like the Big E?

Rinaldo has a goal, four assists and five points in his rookie year. He has quite a way to
go just to match Big E’s numbers solely with the Flyers: 290 goals, 369 assists, 659
points in 486 games. Lindros averaged 1.35 points per game as a Flyer.

Forget about hardware, such as the Hart Trophy, just scoring.

“Scoring? Scoring will come,” Rinaldo conceded. “Haven’t quite matched up to his
potential in scoring, but I’m trying. He’s one of the best.”

Lindros was born in London, Ont. Rinaldo was born in Hamilton, Ont., less than two
hours apart.

“I don’t think Eric had a clue about me,” Rinaldo said.

Lindros didn’t fight very often. When he did, he seldom lost. Fact is, no one in the NHL
was as big a centerman as him during his era.

Rinaldo isn’t a heavyweight, but he’s gone up against bigger players in fights.

“I don’t think anybody wanted to fight him because he was so big,” Rinaldo said. “He’s
huge. He’s a monster. I shook his hand. I thought my hands were big and he’s a big boy.”

Rinaldo is the Flyers’ most vicious -- yet clean -- hitter on the team. Problem is, not
enough officials have seen Rinaldo enough to realize he’s a clean, hard hitter. His hits
look scary. They sound illegal. But they aren’t.

Rinaldo says he studied “the art” of hitting by watching Lindros.

“Shoulder–to-shoulder, every hit that Lindros made was a perfect hit,” Rinaldo said. “So,
I wanted to have a perfect hit every single game.
“He forechecked a lot and I love to forecheck because that is where you get a lot of your
hits. Everything he did, I try to do.”

Rinaldo says he plans to stay in touch with Lindros the rest of the season.


9. Delaware County Times- WINTER CLASSIC: Batty Bryz takes a stand (up) on
benching

Anthony SanFilippo

PHILADELPHIA --- Ilya Bryzgalov, the $51 million goalie who was supposed to be the
stabilizing force that would end years of frustration in goal for the Flyers, left many to
wonder if he can ever live up to that expectation Sunday.

Bryzgalov not only announced he would not be starting today’s Winter Classic game
against the Rangers, he went on talking about drinking all night long New Year’s Eve, to
declaring his preparation for the Winter Classic will be to make a big thermos of tea to
drink while on the bench to battle the cold.

And there was oh, so much more.

In what was one of the most surreal interviews given in quite some time, Bryzgalov left
the organization struggling to come up with a solution to the never-ending struggles in
goal from their mercurial investment.

“I have great news and even better news,” Bryzgalov said in announcing Sergei
Bobrovsky will start in goal. “OK, great news: I’m not playing tomorrow. Good news:
We have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

He was trying to be funny. Unfortunately, his Flyers bosses weren’t laughing along.

“There’s a lot going on around (him), not only this event but with HBO,” general
manager Paul Holmgren said. “We’ll get through (today) and we’ll get on with things.”

Coach Peter Laviolette refused to address the goaltending issue, insisting he hadn’t
spoken to the goalies and made an announcement of his decision. He also wouldn’t
address the notion that Bryzgalov is not handling the pressure of his contract, his
expectations, and the distraction of intense media coverage, saying that was “more of a
personal question” for Bryzgalov.

One team source said Bryzgalov has “lost his focus” during the whole process of trying
to be entertaining for HBO and their reality show “24/7” and believes once that
distraction is gone, he will bounce back. But that was before anyone knew what
Bryzgalov said Sunday.
In an effort to be entertaining, Bryzgalov may have crossed several lines that don’t
usually sit well with team management.
Asked why his wife and children weren’t present for the family skate, Bryzgalov said
they were exhausted from partying all night.

“No, they are still sleeping,” he said. “I just came (here) from the party last night. New
Year’s is a big holiday in Russia. We just finished at 7 a.m. I got breakfast and came over
here.”

When asked why he was up all night, Bryzgalov responded by mimicking the voice of
someone who would be considered inebriated:

“What else keep the players out all night,” he said through mock slurred speech.

When he was asked what his mindset was going to be for the Winter Classic now that
he’s the backup, rather than say he was going to stay focused and prepared, Bryzgalov
was worried about keeping warm.

“(I need to) make sure I don’t forget early in the morning, my thermos,” he said. “I’ll put
some nice tea (in it) and enjoy the bench.

“It’ll be Earl Gray probably. Lemon, lots of sugar. Sweet. I hope I have enough for the
whole game. It’s supposed to be colder tomorrow, so we’ll see. I’ll probably make sure I
have enough towels. I always wear long underwear and I usually wear lingerie, too…”

Yet, despite his façade of happiness, Bryzgalov is really upset with where he stands --- or
sits --- right now.

“Yes. I’m a human,” he said about feeling disappointed. “I’m not made from steel, but it
is what it is and I had a good practice again. ... We just keep moving forward and there
are lots of games in front of us. Lots of hockey. I heard it was still the main goal in
Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this.

Noting his disappointment at not starting because it’s the Winter Classic game,
Bryzgalov said, “That’s the only one reason. If it was another (regular season) game, I
might not be frustrated like that. Still it’s a special game, outside. It’s like you step on the
ice and ‘Oh, man. This is cool, actually.’ But I’ll have my thermos, guys, like I told you.”
Bryzgalov added that his disappointment is only in his situation and not any criticism he
might be getting from the media or the fans.

“I don’t care about the people,” he said. “I don’t pay attention to what the people say. As
long as I am happy with my game, it doesn’t matter what the people say. People can say
that I’m playing pretty good, but if I’m not happy with my game, then I’m not happy with
my game.
“You remember what I said after the Tampa game? I said, ‘I was outstanding.’ Of course
I’m not (happy). There are black stripes in my life right now. Not my life, but my hockey
career. But, you know, it can be forever, but sometimes it’s going to change.”

Bryzgalov won’t find a lot of sympathizers among his teammates.

“As a coach, I would do the same thing,” Kimmo Timonen said. “You reward players
who play well and work hard. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Winter Classic or whatever. It
doesn’t matter.”

Scott Hartnell agreed.

“I think it might be good for Bryzgalov to get a wakeup call,” he said. “(He can) work on
some things and get back to being the goalie that he can be. ... That’s why Holmgren
signed him.”

NOTES: For his part, Bobrovsky wouldn’t talk about playing, saying the decision on a
starting goalie was “confidential.” … James van Riemsdyk practiced on a fourth line with
Sean Couturier and Harry Zolnierczyk. Brayden Schenn seemed to be put in his spot on
the third line with Max Talbot and Jake Voracek.

… Claude Giroux’s sister Isabelle was proposed to by her boyfriend on the Winter
Classic ice during the family skate.

10. Delaware County Times- 'Classic' matchup: Rangers, Flyers meet in showcase

Dan Geltson

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr hit the ice looking more
ready to shag flies than practice the power play.

The Philadelphia Flyers stars smeared eye black to fight the glare on a sunny morning as
they skated on a rink constructed on the site of two Fall Classics that underwent a
makeover as it shifted into the home of the Winter Classic.

Jagr later strode shirtless around the Philadelphia Phillies' clubhouse with a baseball bat
slung over his shoulder.

Skater up!

Cold, wind, ice. Conditions that usually spoil the enjoyment of a World Series game are
on deck for the fifth edition of the NHL's inside-the-park extravaganza, this one set for 3
p.m. Monday between the Flyers and the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
Amid the HBO cameras and Stanley Cup-atmosphere that has infused the game with
enough energy to power the rink, a little perspective came Sunday from the Rangers and
Flyers in their final practices.

"When we wake up, all the fun is going to be over," Giroux said, "and it's about two
points on the ice."

The game was pushed back two hours because of a revised weather forecast that should
offer optimal game conditions for players and fans.

The game was scheduled for 1 p.m. The gates will now open at 1 p.m.

Last year's game at Pittsburgh was moved into prime time because of rain.
"Let's play," Rangers coach John Tortorella said. "It's time to play the game."

Workers stuck Christmas trees and winter firewood on the fake snow around the rink as
the finishing touches were sprinkled on a project that started just before Thanksgiving.
While fans hoped for winter wonderland conditions, the two-hour shift will at least mean
chilly temperatures and less sun.

"It's going to feel different to be out there," Rangers center Brad Richards said. "It'll be,
look around for a little bit, but you don't want to get clocked, so you can't look too
much."

The game is too important to gawk at the skyline.

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette made it clear winning the game between two teams jostling
for the top spot in the Eastern Conference is more important than putting on a show when
he benched slumping goalie — and "24/7" breakout star — Ilya Bryzgalov for Sergei
Bobrovsky.

Bryzgalov, the self-deprecating Russian, has failed to live up to the nine-year, $51
million contract he signed in June and now finds a spot on the bench for the Winter
Classic.

With temperatures expected in the low 40s, Bryzgalov joked he'd sip Earl Grey tea to
keep warm. He could be in hot water after revealing before Laviolette's announcement
that Bobrovsky would be in charge of trying to stop Marian Gaborik and Ryan Callahan
instead of him. Laviolette has strict guidelines on how he presents the day's starting
goalie — never a day ahead, rarely at morning skate — and Bryzgalov's defiance may
keep him on the bench.

Laviolette refused to announce a goalie even after he was told Bryzgalov spoiled the
news.
"I have great news and even better news," Bryzgalov said. "Great news, I'm not playing
tomorrow night. Good news, we have a chance to win the game tomorrow night."

The Flyers counted on Bryzgalov to become the goaltender that would lead them to their
first Stanley Cup championship since 1975. He's 14-8 with a pedestrian 3.01 goals
against average, and has allowed five, four and five goals in three of his last four starts.
"Six, five, next game if I give up three, it's going to be progress," Bryzgalov said.

His dry wit made him a hit on the first three episodes of HBO's behind-the-scenes look at
both teams before the Classic. His two little children, meanwhile, bickered at a Christmas
celebration over who was more Russian.

Laviolette planned to discuss his decision with Bryzgalov later Sunday. Oh, to be a fly —
or a "24/7" camera — on the wall for that talk.

Bryzgalov admitted Sunday leaving Phoenix for big money and a hockey-mad market has
made him feel added pressure.

"I like it here," he said, "but something's gone wrong with (my) game. Too much
thinking. I wish I got (a) $450,000 salary."

Earlier this season, Bryzgalov said he was "lost in the woods."

Pine Barrens, perhaps?

Bryzgalov has shone on the HBO series that will whittle 750 hours of footage down to
four over its brief run. HBO has pushed back the final episode of "24/7" to Thursday
night because it needed an extra day to put the episode together.

HBO has 12 cameras filming Monday's game.

The camera crews have remained a silent presence, always filming, never talking or
intervening.
In last week's episode, Bryzgalov's dog was caught chomping on his son's arm.

"I would say the kid would have had to have cried rather than just yelled at the dog"
before the crew helped, senior producer Dave Harmon said. "If the kid wasn't crying, then
we're going to keep shooting."

HBO airs a daytime version of the show where profanities are censored so families can
watch together.

Tortorella said the cameras have not been a distraction.
"I think we've handled it well," he said. "We've had a number of distractions right from
the get-go of camp. The guys have handled it well. This has been a great experience for
them. I'm glad we've gone through it. We're honored to be part of it."

11. Delaware County Times- Winter Classic: Lindros' welcome back a warm one at
Citizens Bank Park

Anthony SanFilippo

PHILADELPHIA — They may not have skated one shift together, but Eric Lindros and
Bob Clarke finally had a chance to bury a very heavy hatchet.

Before the Winter Classic Alumni game Saturday, won by the Flyers alums, 3-1, over the
Rangers at Citizens Bank Park, Lindros and his former boss shared a moment in the
locker room that essentially put an end to a decade-long cold war.



“There’s nothing like the sanctity of the locker room,” Rick Tocchet said. “I saw them
talking to one another, it was pretty cool to see. I’m sure a lot of guys were wondering
what the reaction was going to be because they hadn’t spoken up until that point. But
they were talking and it was like, ‘OK, business as usual, let’s put our gear on.’”

It was just the beginning for Lindros, who received perhaps the warmest reception from
the 45,000-plus fans that packed Citizens Bank Park.

There was a standing ovation, a substantial cheer; a welcome home rarely seen on this
city’s sports landscape.

It was bigger than Allen Iverson. It was more substantial than Dick Allen.

“I was excited and I was real happy for him,” said Keith Primeau, who served as an
assistant coach for the Flyers alumni. “I know there are a lot of people who cared about
him as a player and a person from his time here and it was really nice. The people here
always had a real affinity for him. The problems were never between him and the fans.
The fans loved him. It was much deeper rooted than that. It was nice to see the
appreciation for him and it was deserved as well.”

The problems, of course, were between Lindros, the enigmatic superstar, and Clarke, the
general manager who didn’t deal with him — or Lindros’ intrusive parents — all that
well.

But Clarke was willing to let bygones be bygones.
“Once Eric was gone, the wounds were over as far as we were concerned,” Clarke said.
“Eric was an MVP in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers. ... Certainly we’ve had our
battles but once he was gone it was over I thought. We’re both Philadelphia Flyers.”
It is a common bond that the two will always share, regardless of their differences as GM
and player.

“It was great,” Lindros said. “It really felt special. It had been a while since I had been
back here but this place is the best. It really is. There were so many well-wishes and
that’s special. It was great to finally come back here and catch-up with some people I
haven’t seen in a while and even make some new friends, too.”

Lindros himself assumed that all those No. 88s in the crowd were people who dug up old
jerseys out of long-term storage.

“Did you smell something out there?” he asked. “It smelled like a lot of moth balls in the
crowd. But really, it was very special. It was 45,000 people. It’s fantastic.”

And while Lindros was a little emotional when it came to talking about the fans and what
they meant to him, he still remained a bit stoic about the relationship with Clarke.

He admitted he talked to Clarke before the game, but wouldn’t divulge any details,
choosing to keep that conversation private.

As for the game itself, Lindros didn’t score a goal — although he had several chances,
including a chance at an empty net in the final minute, but couldn’t connect.

However, he did have, what was, the play of the game, taking a touch pass from Mark
Recchi and beating Darius Kasparaitis down the right wing.

Lindros then slid a perfect pass to John LeClair who beat Ranger goalie John
Vanbiesbrouck for the game’s first goal.
The image was so familiar, Lindros, arms raised, skating over to hug LeClair with Recchi
hopping on top to give them both a pat on the head.

And while the average age of the triumvirate is now north of 40 and the goal ultimately
was meaningless, the sold out crowd celebrated like it was a clinching goal in a playoff
game.

“I’m biased but I’ve played in other cities and Philly fans are the best,” Tocchet said.
“I’m not just saying that, either. For them to react the way they did to him was pretty
cool.

“I’m sure even the guys in the crowd that didn’t like Lindros as a player were cheering
him. You have to remember, when he was here, he was a pretty dominant player. There
was (Wayne) Gretzky, (Mario) Lemieux and he was right with them for a few years. It’s
just unfortunate because of the injuries that he couldn’t play for 16 or 17 years.
“Concussions are something that are an individual thing and you can’t judge a player
because of them. Sidney Crosby is the best player in the league and who knows if he’s
ever going to get back. That’s got a lot of people thinking differently about Eric now.”

12. Delaware County Times- WINTER CLASSIC: It’s the perfect setting for some
outdoor hockey

Timothy Logue

PHILADELPHIA — When it comes to the Winter Classic, everything is wonderfully
upside down.

The fans in the nosebleed seats enjoy the best views. Beloved players of yore slip back
into their sweaters and take another rush up ice and everyone is treated to the splendidly
unusual spectacle of watching hockey in the house of Howard, Hamels, Utley and
Rollins.

Friday afternoon, media members were invited onto the ice for a one-hour open skate
that, in addition to being somewhat sad, gave everyone a feel for just how much players
and fans will enjoy each other’s company over the next few days.



“When (fans) walk in here tomorrow, this is going to be something that they will never,
ever, ever forget,” said Flyers color commentator Steve Coates.

Taking a few turns on the ice in the middle of Citizens Bank Park was exhilarating —
even for those who skate like a newborn deer — but it was the unorthodoxy of it all that
had people wide-eyed.

With so much of pro sports pre-packaged and predictable, the prospect of Danny Briere
firing a shot into a 20 mile-per-hour headwind or a fan catching a foul puck is as good as
it gets —especially in Philadelphia on the heels of a season’s worth of Andy Reid
postgame press conferences.

In Reid speak, the NHL really has truly put their sport and their players in a better
position.


NBC play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick said it is no accident the league has selected
the Flyers to play in two of the first four Winter Classics.
“No one is lukewarm about the Flyers,” he said. “You can look at franchises, including
the Original Six, and some people will say ‘I hate ’em’ or ‘I love ’em’ or ‘I’m OK with
them,’ but with the Flyers it’s polarized. And that means eyeballs because you either
want to see them win or you want to see them humiliated.”
Even though the Flyers are 36 years removed from their last Stanley Cup, Emrick said
they have always maintained a high profile among fans across the league.

“The franchise is an edgy franchise and so that gets people interested,” he said. “As soon
as they see Philadelphia Flyers — whether they have gray hair like I do or whether they
are young and 15 years old — they know that the Flyers are a franchise that’s a little
different.”

And not at all out of place playing in the elements on a baseball field.

“Their compete level is going to be terrific and when you add the element that everyone
is going to be watching them play, I think the game is going to be terrific,” Emrick said.

But even if the Winter Classic fails to deliver on the ice, the oddities and mix of faces and
generations alone virtually guarantee success.

Though he still has nothing to say, it was cool to see Eric Lindros holding court with the
press along the first-base line and to watch Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko
pull on a Flyers sweater with his name on the back and fire wrist shots on net.

Like the excellent farewell the Phillies gave to Veterans Stadium, bringing back Von
Hayes and the like, the Winter Classic gives Flyers fans one more chance to chant “Ber-
nie!” and watch the LCB Line and Lindros and LeClair don the orange and black.

While some parts of the 100 level will offer obstructed views, the vast majority of seats,
especially in the upper reaches of the ballpark, will not disappoint. The 1,500 temporary
seats in center field are some of the best downstairs. Everything in the 300 and 400 level
is good, particularly by the foul poles and near first base.

“It doesn’t make any difference where you sit, the bottom line is just to be in this
building,” Coates said. “Everyone is going to have a great time.”
He believes the intensity on the ice will be every bit of what it is in the stands.

“They are going to play for their lives because you want to win the Classic,” Coates said.

13. Delaware County Times- Winter Classic: Eric Lindros talks about return to
Philly

Jeff Wolfe

PHILADELPHIA – Eric Lindros had one of the best memories of his NHL career while
playing for the Flyers against the New York Rangers in the 1997 playoffs.

He hopes to create another good memory Saturday in the NHL Winter Classic Alumni
Game when Flyers from past eras take on many former New York Rangers at 3 p.m.
today at Citizens Bank Park.
Lindros’ time with the Flyers was often marked in controversy with then Flyers General
Manager and all-time great Bobby Clarke. They had a rocky relationship at best, that
ended when Clarke traded Lindros in the summer of 2001 after Lindros sat out all of the
2000-2001 season.

Whether time has healed the old emotional wounds remains to be seen. But Lindros
hopes it has.

“You look back at what happened and there are different points of view,” Lindros said to
a group of reporters at Citizens Bank Park Friday afternoon. “I don’t think there is
anything positive in looking back at that. I don’t see any merit in looking back and
questioning the past.”

While Clarke wasn’t available to the media Friday afternoon, but has said that any
animosity he had toward Lindros was gone when Lindros went to on to play for the
Rangers.

Another former player who put on the pads for both the Flyers and Rangers and was
familiar with Clarke and Lindros was goalie John Vanbiesbrouck, who played for the
Flyers during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons.

“I know it’s one of the questions that I will have and that a lot of people will have,”
Vanbiesbrouck said of the Lindros-Clarke relationship. “I do know that forgiveness is a
great thing.”

14. Bucks County Courier-Times- Flyers will go with Bobrovsky in Classic

Wayne Fish

PHILADELPHIA — In less time than it takes a Claude Giroux shot to hit the net, Ilya
Bryzgalov traveled from “lost in the woods’’ to Lost in Space.

The Flyers’ beleaguered goaltender underwent his second public crisis of confidence on
Sunday when he announced that not only was he not starting Monday’s Winter Classic
Game (at new 3 p.m. starting time) against the New York Rangers, but that the Flyers
might have a better chance of winning without him.

Instead, second-year netminder Sergei Bobrovsky, who has better numbers than his
Russian counterpart this season, will get the call.
Bryzgalov spent the better part of half an hour after practice at Citizens Bank Park
attempting to explain the situation.

But there really isn’t that much analysis needed. Bryzgalov has been shaky of late,
including a 5-1 bombing in Tampa Bay on Tuesday night while Bobrovsky looked cool,
calm and collected in Thursday night’s 4-2 win at Pittsburgh.
Right now it’s only fair that Bobrovsky play, despite this being a prestigious event in
which the Flyers would have liked to showcase their high-priced No. 1 goalie.

“I have great news and even better news,” Bryzgalov said. “OK, great news: I’m not
playing tomorrow. Good news: We have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

Obviously, Bryzgalov, who had a similar (“lost in the woods’’) meltdown after a rough
patch in November, was disappointed to learn news of the decision but how can he
argue?

Bobrovsky has a better record in terms of winning percentage (8-2-1 to Bryzgalov’s 14-
8-3) and better numbers (2.52 goals-against average to 3.01; .914 save percentage to
.890).

“Yes. I’m a human,” Bryzgalov said when asked about his level of disappointment.

“I’m not made from steel, but it is what it is and I had a good practice again like
yesterday and two days ago. We just keep moving forward and lots of games in front of
us. Lots of hockey. I heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley
Cup and prepare for this.”

Bobrovsky said he would not comment on the matter, calling it “confidential’’ through a
translator.

However, many of the Flyers’ other players said the decision to go with Bobrovsky was
justified.

“You know, ‘Bryz’ has had maybe a tough couple games but ‘Bob’ has been pretty
steady the whole year,’’ Scott Hartnell said. “I think it might be good for Bryz to get a
wakeup call, work on some things and getting back being the goalie that he can be that
we all know. That’s why Homer (general manager Paul Holmgren) signed him.
“He’s going to be good for us. I’ve got a lot of faith in him. He’s a good man and a great
goalie for us.’’

Kimmo Timonen believes in coach Peter Laviolette’s principle that the player who’s
producing better results deserves the ice.

“I would think so,’’ Timonen said. “You play well, you earn some playing time. As a
coach, I would do the same thing. You reward the player who plays well, works hard. It
doesn’t matter — Winter Classic, it doesn’t matter. You get some playing time, it’s fair
for everybody.’’

As a defenseman, Timonen appreciates Bobrovsky’s performances of late.
“He’s playing pretty well right now,’’ he said. “Obviously it makes our job a little easier.
It looks like he’s playing with the confidence. Every time a goalie plays with the
confidence, it shows.

“The way he played in Pittsburgh, he was calm, he played with confidence. As a player,
you can tell when a goalie has confidence and he has it right now. Hopefully he can keep
it up because it makes our life easier when a goalie plays really well.’’

Holmgren believes Bryzgalov might need to go back to the drawing board with
goaltending coach Jeff Reese.

“He’s had a chance to talk through some things (with Jeff). Am I worried about it? No,’’
Holmgren said. “He’s seen ‘Dr.’ Reese for the last couple days. If Sergei plays, that’s not
a bad thing, he deserves to play.’’

Laviolette wouldn’t get into the details of his decision, but did say that Bobrovsky has
performed well.

“Bob’s preparation is terrific,’’ Laviolette said. “I think with Ilya getting a lot of the
starts, Bob has had to spend a lot of time working with Jeff, and I think that’s really
helped. He spends a lot of time in the weight room and after practice, making sure that
he’s conditioned and ready.”

“You know, as of recently, he’s played really well. His numbers are outstanding. But I
think his whole work ethic couldn’t be better.’’

So, Bryzgalov has to go back to the drawing board and hope he can regain some of his
own confidence before the season begins to slip away from him.

15. Bucks County Courier- Times- Flyers-Rangers Significant Moments

Wayne Fish

April 28, 1974: Flyers defenseman Barry Ashbee hit in eye by the puck in Game 4 of the
Stanley Cup semifinals against Rangers and is later forced to retire.

May 5, 1974: Flyers defeat Rangers 4-3 in Game 7 of their playoff series and go on to
beat the Boston Bruins in the Finals for their first Stanley Cup.

Feb. 17, 1979: During a Flyers-Rangers game, future Hall of Fame goaltender Bernie
Parent is struck in the eye by a stick, ending his NHL career.

April 24, 1979: Rangers defeat Flyers 8-3 at the Spectrum to complete a five-game upset
in quarterfinals.
April 13, 1985: Tim Kerr sets NHL playoff records for most goals in one period (4) and
fastest four goals by one player (8:16) in the second period of the Flyers’ 6-5 division
semifinal win over the Rangers in New York.

Jan. 9, 1993: The Flyers record franchise win No. 1,000 at Rangers’ expense in a 4-3 win
over Rangers at Spectrum.
April 12, 1993: Mark Recchi collects an assist vs. Rangers, passing Bob Clarke’s team
record for points. Recchi finished with a still-team record 123 points.
May 23, 1997: Eric Lindros scores game-winner with 6.8 seconds to play as Flyers defeat
Rangers 3-2 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. It was the latest regulation-time
game-winning goal in Flyer history.
Dec. 5, 2002: Michal Handzus scores on a penalty shot in overtime to lead Flyers over
Rangers 3-2. It was only the second overtime penalty shot winner in NHL history.

Feb. 15, 2009: Mike Richards scores a goal while the Flyers are two men short in 5-2 win
over Rangers at Madison Square Garden. It’s the third time Richards has scored in his
career in that fashion making him the first in NHL history.

April 11, 2010: Brian Boucher outduels Henrik Lundqvist in a shootout for a 2-1 Flyers
win. They qualify for playoffs and later advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

16. Bucks County Courier-Times-Winter Classic facts and figures

Wayne Fish

2012 WINTER CLASSIC

What: The fifth annual Winter Classic Game between the New York Rangers and Flyers.

When: 3:05 p.m. (changed from original 1 p.m. start)

Where: Citizens Bank Park.

Tickets: Sold out.

TV/Radio: NBC/WIP 94.1-FM, 610-AM.

Season series: New York leads, 2-0.

What to watch: The Flyers will have to get a little more proactive if they want to get the
upper hand on the Rangers. In their two losses to New York this year, the Flyers have
failed to untrack their league-leading offense, totaling only two goals. . .It's a big four-
point game, with the Flyers having a chance to move back into a tie for first with the
Rangers in the Atlantic Division. . .The NHL moved the starting time back to 3 p.m. with
hopes of a better ice surface as the sun begins to go down. Temperatures are supposed to
be in the low 40s but dropping throughout the afternoon.
Statistics: Special teams -

Power play: FLYERS - 8th in NHL, 32 for 166, 19.3 percent; New York - 21st, 21 for
138, 15.2 percent.

Penalty kill: FLYERS - 16th in NHL, 29 for 165, 82.4 percent; New York - 6th, 18 for
129, 86.0 percent.

Leading scorers: FLYERS-Claude Giroux, 2nd in NHL, 17 goals, 28 assists, 45 points;
New York - Marian Gaborik, 29th in NHL, 22 goals, 11 assists, 33 points.

Plus/minus: FLYERS-Scott Hartnell, 7th, plus-21; New York-Michael Del Zotto, 2nd,
plus-25.

17. Bucks County Courier-Times- Winter Classic by numbers


WINTER CLASSIC BY THE NUMBERS
1 Cable cam that will be used in network coverage by NBC and CBC

2 Current Rangers who have played in past NHL Winter Classics (Mike
Rupp, Pittsburgh, 2011 and Erik Christensen, Pittsburgh, 2008)

3 Baseball parks that have hosted an NHL Winter Classic — Wrigley
Field, Fenway Park and Citizens Bank Park

3 Rangers who had seasons of 50 or more goals (Vic Hadfield 50 in
1971-72, Adam Graves 52 in 1993-94, Jaromir Jagr 54 in 2005-06)

4 Colors were used to light the Empire State Building on Dec. 28 in
celebration of the NHL Winter Classic (Flyers orange and white,
Rangers blue and red)

4 Of the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the U.S. since
1975 were NHL Winter Classic games.

6 Flyers who had seasons of 50 or more goals (Reggie Leach 61 in
1975-76, 50 in 1979-80; Tim Kerr 54 in 1983-84, 54 in 1984-85, 58 in
1985-86, 58 in 1986-87; Mark Recchi 53 in 1992-93; John LeClair 51 in
1995-96, 50 in 1996-97, 51 in 1997-98; Bill Barber 50 in 1975-76,
Rick MacLeish 50 in 1972-73)

9 Members of the 1994 Stanley Cup Champion New York Rangers (including
coaches) are participating in the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni
Game: Glenn Anderson, Colin Campbell, Adam Graves, Mike Keenan, Nick
Kypreos, Brian Leetch, Stephane Matteau, Mark Messier, Mike Richter

9 Active Flyers who have played in past Winter Classics: Daniel Briere,
Philadelphia, 2010; Matt Carle, Philadelphia, 2010; Braydon Coburn,
Philadelphia, 2010; Claude Giroux, Philadelphia, 2010; Scott
Hartnell, Philadelphia, 2010; Maxime Talbot, Pittsburgh, 2011; Kimmo
Timonen, Philadelphia, 2010; James Van Riemsdyk, Philadelphia, 2010;
and Matt Walker, Chicago, 2009

10 Playoff meetings between the Flyers and Rangers (Flyers have won six)

14 Members of Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers team
participating in the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni Game, including
coaches and off-ice ambassadors: Bill Barber, Bob Clarke, Terry Crisp
, Gary Dornhoefer, Larrry Goodenough, Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrachuk,
Reggie Leach, Bernie Parent, Jimmy Watson, Joe Watson, Mike Nykoluk,
Dave Schultz, Don Saleski

25.5 Hours of NHL Network live coverage of Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
activities

39 Average temperature in Fahrenheit at puck drop for the four NHL
Winter Classics (2008 — 31.1, 2009 — 31.9, 2010 — 39.6, 2011 — 51.7)

51 NHL Alumni who played in the Molson Canadian 2012 NHL Alumni Game on Dec.
31

53 Length, in feet, of the world’s largest mobile rink refrigeration
unit, specially built for the NHL Winter Classic

66 Goals scored by Eric Lindros as a member of the Rangers (over 3
seasons)

69 Players in NHL history who have played for both the Rangers and
Flyers

70 Broadcast cameras (all networks) that will capture all the NHL Winter Classic action
at Citizens Bank Park, including a cable cam and an airplane cam

93 Miles separate Philadelphia and New York City

112 All-time regular-season games won by the Rangers over the Flyers

114 All-time regular-season games won by the Flyers over the Rangers

134 Goals scored by Jaromir Jagr as a member of the Rangers
300 Ton capacity of refrigeration trailer that will keep the ice cool at
Citizens Bank Park

311 Regular-season and playoff games between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia
Flyers including the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

314 Goals scored by Eric Lindros as a member of the Flyers (over 8
seasons)

350 Gallons of paint used to make Citizens Bank Park ice white

2003 The year the Heritage Classic was played in Edmonton between the
Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens, the first regular season NHL
outdoor game in history

2008 The year the first NHL Winter Classic was played in Buffalo between
the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins, with Sidney Crosby netting the
game-winner in a shootout

3,000 Gallons of coolant used to freeze the Citizens Bank Park rink

4,500 Soft pretzels projected to be purchased by fans during the
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

9,000 Cheese steaks projected to be purchased by fans during the
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

10,000 Hot Dogs projected to be purchased by fans during the
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

12,000 Cups of hot chocolate and coffee projected to be purchased by
fans during the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

20,000 Gallons of water needed to create a two-inch ice surface on
Citizens Bank Park

27,000 Plastic bags prevented from entering circulation thanks to the
continuing NHL Green initiative to provide reusable commemorative
bags free with purchase at official merchandise locations.

47,000 Fans are expected to attend the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter
Classic at Citizens Bank Park

75,000 People are expected to pass through Spectator Plaza between
Saturday, Dec. 31 through Monday, Jan. 2

218,259 Total spectators in attendance at the first four Winter Classics
According to ARAMARK

18. Bucks County Courier-Times- Looking back to Fenway

Wayne Fish

PHILADELPHIA — Only one of the first four Winter Classic games has ended with the
home team victorious and that was 2010 when the Boston Bruins rallied to edge the
Flyers 2-1 in Fenway Park on New Year’s Day.

After defenseman Danny Syvret gave the Flyers a 1-0 lead at 4:42 of the second period,
Philadelphia protected the lead until the final three minutes, when Mark Recchi scored a
tying goal.

In overtime, Marco Sturm scored at 1:57 for the winning goal.
Despite the loss, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette (a Massachusetts native) was pleased by
the event.

“The experience is once-in-a-lifetime,” he said at the time. “Bruins, Flyers, 40,000 fans
on a perfect day, you couldn’t ask for anything better for the game of hockey.”

The Flyers get a chance to become the second home team to prevail when they take to the
ice against the New York Rangers (at a new 3 p.m. starting time) in WC-5.

The Flyers goaltender from the 2010 game at Fenway Park, Michael Leighton, said
everyone can caught up in the excitement.

“You don’t realize how big of a deal it is,’’ Leighton recalled, “until you’re actually there
and see what it’s like.”

Other memorable moments from that game:

The Flyers’ Daniel Carcillo and Boston’s Scott Thornton engaged in the first fight.
James Taylor sang the national anthem.

A replica of Boston captain Zdeno Chara’s Winter Classic jersey sold in local stores for
$300.

Only seven Flyers players (not including the injured Chris Pronger) remain on the team
from the 2010 Winter Classic Game.


19. Camden Courier-Post- Benched Bryz steals Winter Classic show
Randy Miller

PHILADELPHIA — A New Year’s Day morning practice was followed by a family
skate with the sun shining down on Citizens Bank Park. Then, the Flyers headed indoors
to the Phillies clubhouse for another episode of the Ilya Bryzgalov Show.

As usual, it was entertaining, and this time everything wasn’t just caught by HBO’s
cameras for its “24/7” reality series.

The hockey story of the day wasn’t supposed to be who would tend goal for the Flyers
against the New York Rangers in today’s Winter Classic, which had its start time
changed from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. because of the sunny weather forecast.

Coach Peter Laviolette intended to do what he always does and announce his goaltender
decision the morning of the game, but Bryzgalov blew that in his own bizarre way.

Standing in the area of the clubhouse where Phillies pitchers talk after home games,
Bryzgalov was first asked if he knew whether he’d start today.

“I have great news and even better news,” he said. “OK, great news, I’m not playing
tomorrow night. And good news, we have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

This was a bit of a surprise. Bryzgalov has been slumping, but he was traded to the Flyers
this summer as a free agent and then signed to a nine-year, $51-million contract. Only a
few months later, he’ll sit and watch an outdoor affair that is one of the most-hyped
Flyers regular-season games ever.

Instead, the start will go with their other Russian goaltender, 23-year-old backup Sergei
Bobrovsky, a rookie starter last season who did well until flopping in the playoffs.

“I think it might be good for Bryz to get a wake-up call and work on some things and get
back to the goalie he can be,” Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell said.

Bryzgalov, 31, says he first learned he’d be sitting from a roster of today’s lineup posted
in the dressing room. Then, his benching was confirmed by goaltending coach Jeff Reese.
Bryzgalov says he didn’t feel the need to talk to Laviolette, who was said to be furious
that the goaltending decision was made public.

“He makes these decisions,” Bryzgalov said of Laviolette. “He is responsible for results,
and I can understand him. He probably wants to put the best lineup for what he’s got.”

After announcing he’d sit, Bryzgalov threw out a few more gems.

How’s his mind-set?
“Make sure I don’t forget early in the morning my thermos,” he said. “Put some nice tea
in and enjoy the bench.”

Is the disappointment bigger because it’s the Winter Classic?

“Oh yeah, that’s the only reason. … It’s still some special game. Outside, stepping on the
ice (during practice Sunday) I was like, ‘Oh man, this is cool actually.’ But I’ll have my
thermos. Like I told you.”

How down is he? Has he lost hope?

“I’m a human. I’m not made from the steel, but that is what it is. … This is just hockey.
Just hockey. You remember [how I said on '24/7'] about how big is universe? Our
problems here? Come on. Are you serious? If you think your life is bad, all of somebody
even on Earth have it worse. Be happy. Don’t worry, be happy. It’s not the end of the
universe.”

What will he do with his goalie mask and pads that were made especially for the Winter
Classic?

“I’ll try to make some money. Try to sell it piece by piece. Everybody is making money
on this game and the players have to, too.”

At 5:30 p.m., Bryzgalov continued the comedy show by tweeting a picture of his
thermos. No kidding.

As this must-see ballpark interview was playing out, Bobrovsky was across the clubhouse
trying hard not to talk about being named today’s starter. After all, he knows by now that
his coach does not want in-house secrets spread to the media.

“I’m not commenting on it,” Bobrovsky said through a Russian reporter. “It doesn’t
matter who starts because the most important thing is the result. It’s two points on the
line.”

The Flyers currently trail the Rangers by two points for first place in the Atlantic
Division, and they’d be ahead two if they hadn’t lost the first two meetings this season,
both at Madison Square Garden.

Laviolette wouldn’t confirm Bobrovsky would start — even after hearing Bryzgalov had
spent 30 minutes talking to reporters about sitting, but he did say he’d play the goaltender
whom he believed would give his team the best shot at winning.

“He makes these decisions,” Bryzgalov said of Laviolette. “He is responsible for results,
and I can understand him. He probably wants to put the best lineup for what he’s got.”

After announcing he’d sit, Bryzgalov threw out a few more gems.
How’s his mind-set?

“Make sure I don’t forget early in the morning my thermos,” he said. “Put some nice tea
in and enjoy the bench.”

Is the disappointment bigger because it’s the Winter Classic?

“Oh yeah, that’s the only reason. … It’s still some special game. Outside, stepping on the
ice (during practice Sunday) I was like, ‘Oh man, this is cool actually.’ But I’ll have my
thermos. Like I told you.”

How down is he? Has he lost hope?

“I’m a human. I’m not made from the steel, but that is what it is. … This is just hockey.
Just hockey. You remember [how I said on '24/7'] about how big is universe? Our
problems here? Come on. Are you serious? If you think your life is bad, all of somebody
even on Earth have it worse. Be happy. Don’t worry, be happy. It’s not the end of the
universe.”

What will he do with his goalie mask and pads that were made especially for the Winter
Classic?

“I’ll try to make some money. Try to sell it piece by piece. Everybody is making money
on this game and the players have to, too.”

At 5:30 p.m., Bryzgalov continued the comedy show by tweeting a picture of his
thermos. No kidding.

As this must-see ballpark interview was playing out, Bobrovsky was across the clubhouse
trying hard not to talk about being named today’s starter. After all, he knows by now that
his coach does not want in-house secrets spread to the media.

“I’m not commenting on it,” Bobrovsky said through a Russian reporter. “It doesn’t
matter who starts because the most important thing is the result. It’s two points on the
line.”

The Flyers currently trail the Rangers by two points for first place in the Atlantic
Division, and they’d be ahead two if they hadn’t lost the first two meetings this season,
both at Madison Square Garden.

Laviolette wouldn’t confirm Bobrovsky would start — even after hearing Bryzgalov had
spent 30 minutes talking to reporters about sitting, but he did say he’d play the goaltender
whom he believed would give his team the best shot at winning.
“You know, the game is still important,” Laviolette said. “I think you can’t lose sight of
that first and foremost. Whether it’s played here (at Citizens Bank Park) or the Wells
Fargo building, you have to make decisions on where is the best avenue to beat the New
York Rangers.”

Statistically, Laviolette is making the right call.

Bryzgalov has a 14-8-3 record in 26 games, 25 as a starter, with a career-worst 3.01
goals-against average and career-worst .890 save percentage. In his last four games, he’s
0-4 with 4.57 goals-against average and .816 save percentage.

Meantime, Bobrovsky is 8-2-1 in 14 games, 12 as a starter, with a 2.52 GAA and .914
save percentage. He’s 2-0 with a 1.57 GAA and .959 save percentage over his last three
games and 5-1 with a 1.55 GAA and .947 save percentage over his last eight.

“I think if you look at Peter’s patterns in who plays, if a guy is hot he usually plays him,”
defenseman Braydon Coburn said. “Bob had a great game in Pittsburgh (last Thursday)
… so I think it makes sense.”

“Credit to Bob. He works hard. He’s in unbelievable shape. This guy probably is the last
guy to leave from the practice rink every day. I know, because I’m usually the second to
last. This guy works his butt off every day. People forget he was a rookie last year. The
confidence I’ve seen him play with this year has been impressive. Good for him because
he’s played well for us."

Serveral other veteran Flyers supported Bobrovsky in goal, as well.

“Bob has gone through a lot the last couple of years," center Danny Briere said. "Nobody
expected him to be here last year. He made the team. He played a lot. You know, he had
a rough patch in the playoffs. He came back this year after we signed someone else and
he keeps working hard. He keeps playing better and better. It’s totally deserved. For us, it
doesn’t matter who’s playing anyway, but it’s good to see Bob being rewarded for his
play.

Added Hartnell, “Talking with Bob last year when we were having our end-of-the-year
meetings, he said, 'I’m not sure if we’re going to get a goalie next year, but I want to be
No. 1.’ I think that’s given him fuel to work out every day after practice and when he gets
a chance to play to be great. He deserves the start. He’s played great. I think it’s great to
have healthy competition between the two."

In a strange coincidence considering Sunday’s goaltending news, Bobrovsky is using a
Phillies locker for the Winter Classic that was used last season by pitcher Vance Worley,
one of the top rookies in the majors in 2011. A few feet away, Bryzgalov is lockering at a
stall used by Ali Modami, a batting practice pitcher who was let go following last season.
“You reward players who play well and work hard,” defenseman Kimmo Timonen said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s the Winter Classic. Doesn't matter."

20. Camden Courier-Post- Flyers share fun with loved ones

Randy Miller

PHILADELPHIA — Not much of a skater, Lucie Talbot gingerly stepped onto the
Citizens Bank Park ice rink and then grabbed hold of her famous son as he pulled her
along for a slow lap.

“Hold on!” Flyers forward Max Talbot called out with a big smile.

Nearby, defenseman Braydon Coburn scooped his 11-week-old daughter from his wife
and sped around the rink bouncing little Rory from chest level to above his head again
and again.

“She was giggling,” Coburn said. “She liked the bounce … or maybe it was the wind in
her face. She’s been sleeping a lot lately, so she was wide awake. She was looking
around and taking it all in.”

The Flyers got in a New Year’s Day morning practice Sunday, then stayed on the ice for
an enjoyable skate with friends and family who are in town for today’s Winter Classic.

“We went out there and had practice, then we were able to bring all these people in and
let them experience this unique situation,” Coburn said. “But come (Monday) morning,
you’re right back to Game 37.”

Dream come true: Rookie winger Zac Rinaldo was still giddy the day after meeting
childhood hero Eric Lindros, who played for the Flyers in Saturday’s Winter Classic
Alumni Game.

“It was like a late Christmas gift for me,” Rinaldo said. “I was a huge fan from when I
was 8 years old until (Lindros) got traded from Philly,” Rinaldo said.

Lindros is bigger and did a lot more scoring, but Rinaldo says he tried to be like him on
the ice before evolving into a player who is known for being a middleweight fighter.

“I told him if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be the player I am today, and that’s the truth,”
said Rinaldo, who has one goal in 31 games.

“Shoulder to shoulder, every hit that Lindros made was a perfect hit. I wanted to make
myself have a perfect hit every single game. … Honest to God, everything he did, I try to
do. Scoring? I haven’t quite matched up to his potential in scoring, but I’m trying.”

Rinaldo wishes that he had the chance to play with Lindros … or even against him.
“I’d definitely try to hit him,” he said. “He’d probably put me on my butt, but I’d be
honored to take a hit from that guy.”

Outdoor nightmare: Ilya Bryzgalov won’t start in goal today, but even if he did, there’s
no way he’d be able to top what he says occurred in an outdoor game that he played in as
a 15-year-old back home in Russia.

“Fans (were) jumping over the boards and started fighting,” he said. “Oh man, it was a
great show. I fought the other players, even fans from the home team. Somebody pulled a
knife. It was nasty. Five people died.”

Sky bothers Jagr: Jaromir Jagr, who is on record as saying he’d rather play indoors, was
bothered by a bright morning sky during Sunday’s practice.

“It must be the light,” the future Hall of Fame right wing said. “I didn’t feel very
comfortable when I was skating. When you get the puck, you lose it in the light for a
second.”

“I didn’t feel very comfortable when I was skating. When you get the puck, you lose it in
the light for a second.”


21. Camden Courier-Post- Entertaining Bryz Q&A on Winter Classic benching and
more

Randy Miller

Here’s comments from Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov following a New Year’s Day
morning at Citizens Bank Park.

Do you know if you’ll be in goal for the Winter Classic?
Bryz: “I have great news and even better news. OK, great news, I’m not playing
tomorrow night. And good news, we have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

Are you disappointed?
Bryz: “Of course I am. I’m a human. I’m not made from the steel, but that is what it is. I
had a good practice again [Sunday], like yesterday and two days ago. We just keep
moving forward, you know, and lots of games in front of us, lots of hockey, and I heard it
was still main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this.”

What you’re mindset?
Bryz: “Make sure I don’t forget early in the morning my thermos. Put some nice tea in
and enjoy the bench.”

On moving forward, what will help you get out of your slump?
Bryz: “Nothing new. Working on technical things.”

Is the disappointment bigger because it’s the Winter Classic?
Bryz: “Oh yeah, that’s the only reason. If it was going to be another game, maybe I
wouldn’t be able to process it like that. It’s still some special game. Outside, stepping on
the ice [during practice Sunday] I was like, ‘Oh man, this is cool actually.’ But I’ll have
my thermos. Like I told you.’

Have you lost hope?
Bryz: “Who, me? This is just hockey. Just hockey. You remember about how big is the
universe? Our problems here? Come on. Are you serious? If you think your life is bad, all
of somebody even on earth have it worse. Just be happy. Don’t worry, be happy. It’s not
the end of the universe.”

On what to do with Winter Classic mask and other equipment that was intended to be
used for the game:
“I’ll try to make some money. Try to sell it piece by piece. Everybody is making money
on this game and the players have to, too.”

On HBO cameras being everywhere
Bryz: “There’s everywhere. They asked, ‘Did I used the soap after I used the restroom.’
Play by play and detail after detail.”

When did you find out you’re not starting?
Bryz: “They have a roster every day and basically you can see if you’re playing or not.
Actually, my goalie coach Jeff Reese told me I wasn’t playing tomorrow night. Is it a big
deal or not, guys?”

How you talked to coach Peter Laviolette about it?
Bryz: “No, I didn’t see a reason why. He’s the head coach. He makes the decisions and
he’s responsible for the results. I can understand him. He probably wants to put the best
lineup for what he’s got.”

Do you feel like you’re in a competition for the starting job now?
Bryz: “There’s always competition.”

Are you concerned about your role on the team?
Bryz: “I don’t worry about it. Every team is different. You’ve got to adjust and see if it’s
going to work. If it’s not to going to work, maybe I’m not going to be feeling well if I’m
not going to be playing a lot. Who knows?”

On skating outside as youngster:
Bryz: Great. Oh, yeah. I remember … we fought a team. I was 15 years old. Man, fans
jumping over the boards and start fighting too. Oh man, was a great show. I fought the
other players … even fans from the home team, they jumped over the boards and start
fighting. It was like, somebody pulled a knife, they they throw the sticks. It was nasty.”
It was like a prison fight?
Bryz: “Yeah, five people died.”


22. Philly Sports Daily- Bryzgalov Says Team Is Better Without Him In Winter
Classic

Dave Isaac

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Even when he’s not playing, Ilya Bryzgalov steals the
spotlight. In front of all to see, the 31-year-old netminder announced to a locker room full
of media members that when everyone is watching the Winter Classic on Monday, so
will he. From the bench.

“I have great news and even better news,” said Bryzgalov. “OK, great news: I’m not
playing tomorrow night. Good news: we have a chance to win the game tomorrow.”

Perhaps it is his famous sense of humor. Maybe it was the HBO cameras, but many
people didn’t believe him.

“No, I’m not playing, guys. I’m telling you, definitely,” said Bryzgalov. “Yeah it was
written down. Actually my goalie coach, Jeff Reese, he tell me I’m not playing.”

Well, surely he has to be disappointed. The Flyers signed him to a nine-year, $51 million
deal in the offseason. He was supposed to be the guy to lean on.

“Yes. I’m a human,” said Bryzgalov. “I’m not made from steel, but it is what it is and I
had a good practice again like yesterday and two days ago. We just keep moving forward
and lots of games in front of us. Lots of hockey. I heard it was still the main goal in
Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this.”

So what will he do on Monday?

“Make sure I not forget in the morning my thermos, put some nice tea [in it] and enjoy
the bench.”

That means that Sergei Bobrovsky will get the nod. He has won two in a row and four of
five. Bobrovsky has a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage as opposed to
Bryzgalov’s 3.01 goals-against average and .890 save percentage. He was reluctant to
talk about the Winter Classic, noting that no official announcement had been made by
Peter Laviolette.

For the second-year player, it was a veteran move. Bryzgalov said he hadn’t spoken to
Laviolette, but was willing to disclose he wasn’t playing.
“No, I didn’t see the reason why,” said Bryzgalov. “He’s the head coach. He makes these
decisions and he’s responsible for the results. I can understand. He probably wants to put
the best lineup he’s got for [the game].”

Laviolette wasn’t willing to let Bryzgalov’s diatribe be the official stance of the team.

“I’ve been consistent with how I’ve made the announcement of goaltenders,” said
Laviolette. “I have not spoken to either goaltender yet and I have not announced anything
yet. We plan on making an announcement later on today as to who the starter will be.”

So why would Bryzgalov say that he wasn’t playing?

“I don’t know,” said Laviolette. “I haven’t spoken to either one of the goaltenders. I plan
on speaking to them after I get done with you guys and we plan on making an
announcement before the game…sticking with company policy that we’ve had since I’ve
been here.

“New year, same policy.”

Yeah, we’re early in 2012, so early the fireworks haven’t stopped yet.

23. Philly Sports Daily- Flyers Not Concerned With Outspoken Bryzgalov

Dave Isaac

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Things were certainly different in Phoenix. There weren’t
as many cameras and there was definitely no Winter Classic. So when Ilya Bryzgalov
came east to one of the biggest hockey markets in the league, the Flyers knew they
weren’t exactly getting the same goalie that played in Phoenix.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean they were expecting for him to announce, in
dramatic fashion, that he had been benched for the Winter Classic, or say that he was
“lost in the woods” in his first month as the Flyers’ starting goalie.

Through the first three months of the season, Bryzgalov posts a 14-8-3 record with a 3.01
goals-against average and .890 save percentage. His career average is a 2.57 goals-
against average and .914 save percentage.

“When Bryz gets in the net … he’s gotta earn it back,” said Scott Hartnell. “I don’t think
it’s a No. 1, No. 2 thing. It could be 1A and 1B. But not he’s gotta realize he’s gotta get
his job back.

“Obviously, Ilya is a tremendous goalie, but I think he’s had some bad luck the last
couple of games and even though it’s the Winter Classic and the big game, it’s still two
points in the standings. We want to get it, and if Bob’s our best chance right now for us to
get the points, then we gotta go with him.”
There is certainly a case to be made that the Flyers’ expensive shiny new toy, one that
cost $51 million across nine years, didn’t know what he was getting himself into. Some
say he’s more interested in being an off-ice personality than a Vezina Trophy candidate.

“People doesn’t care how I feel, right? They wants the show, they wants the
entertainment,” said Bryzgalov. “You remember the Rome, right? Antique Rome?
Roman Empire. What they want? Gladiators and bread. That’s all they want. The crowds
doesn’t change: They still the same. It’s going to be past 300 years ago again in the
future. It’s going to be the same. It’s all the crowd needs.”

While he’s certainly put on a show, as evidenced by HBO’s “24/7,” the Flyers would
probably rather he focus more on his play. The past few days in practice, he’s worked a
little bit extra with goalie coach Jeff Reese. That’s who told Bryzgalov he would be
taking in the Winter Classic from the bench and the goalie then relayed the message to
the media, much to the chagrin of Peter Laviolette.

Still, those in charge say they aren’t worried about the mental status of Bryzgalov.

“It’s good that Ilya’s had a couple of days here to do a couple of extra things with Jeff,
talk through some things, I think he’ll be better because of it,” said general manager Paul
Holmgren. “Am I worried about it? No. He’s seen Dr. Reese the last couple days.

“If Sergei [Bobrovsky]’s playing tomorrow, it can’t be a bad thing. He deserves to play.
He’s played well. If Ilya was playing tomorrow, I’d think Ilya would have a good game
too. I’m not concerned about who’s playing.”

“I’m not worried about Bryz,” said Danny Briere. “Bryz is a good goalie. He’s going to
bounce back. He’s had some bad luck lately, but we all know he’s a good goalie. We’re
going to need him down the stretch. We’re going to need him in the playoffs. I’m not
worried at all.”

Laviolette, on the other hand, wasn’t willing to diagnose Bryzgalov’s mental status.

“You know, I’m not sure how to answer that question,” said the coach. “You can
probably ask him that. I’m not sure. I think that’s more of a personal question, are you
struggling. I can’t speak for him.”

The potential problem for the Flyers is when he speaks for himself.


24. Philly Sports Daily- Flyers Back Bobrovsky For Winter Classic Start

Dave Isaac
CITIZENS BANK PARK — They’re almost like polar opposites. Sergei Bobrovsky is
calm and quiet. He rarely shows emotion, even if he’s on the wrong end of a blowout
game. Ilya Bryzgalov, for better or worse, wears his heart on his sleeve.

With the entire hockey world watching, the Flyers will turn to Bobrovsky in the Winter
Classic on Monday at 3 p.m. The team confirmed that Bobrovsky will start after
Bryzgalov dramatically announced his benching following the team’s practice.

But Philadelphia is used to drama in the goal crease. There isn’t really any outrage over
Bryzgalov starting the game. In fact, the Flyers were quick to credit Bobrovsky who
quietly works behind the scenes.

“Talking with Bob last year when we were having our end-of-the-year meetings, he
struggled at the end of the year and he knew it,” said Scott Hartnell. “I think he’s a little
tired from playing 30 games to playing 50 or whatever he played. He said ‘I’m not sure if
we’re going to get a goalie next year, but I want to be No. 1.’

“I think that’s given him fuel to work out every day after practice and when he gets a
chance to play to be great. He deserves the start. He’s played great. I think it’s great to
have healthy competition between the two.”

Hartnell isn’t alone.

“Credit to Bob. He works hard. He always stays late,” said Braydon Coburn. “He’s in
unbelievable shape. People forget he was a rookie last year. The confidence I’ve seen him
play with this year has been impressive. Good for him because he’s played well for us.”

This season, Bobrovsky is 8-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save
percentage. He was reluctant to talk about the opportunity to start in the Winter Classic,
but his smile showed his interest.

“It doesn’t matter who starts because the most important thing is the result,” said
Bobrovsky through a translator. “It’s a real game. It’s two points on the line, so it’ll be
special, but the result is the most important thing.”

While Bobrovsky was talking about the seriousness of another regular season game, one
against the Rangers who have beaten the Flyers twice already this year, Bryzgalov was
caddy-corner in the dressing room, talking about what kind of tea he’ll be drinking from a
thermos on the bench.

“It’ll be Earl Gray probably. Lemon, lots of sugar. Sweet. I hope I have enough for the
whole game,” said Bryzgalov. “It’s supposed to be colder [on Monday], so we’ll see. I’ll
probably make sure I have enough towels. I always wear long underwear and I usually
wear lingerie too… what have you guys gotten from this conversation? Basically nothing,
right?
“People don’t care how I feel. They want a show. They want entertainment. You
remember Rome right? Antique Rome, the Roman Empire? What did the people want?
Gladiators and bread. That’s all they wanted. The crowd hasn’t changed. It’s still the
same. It’s going to be the same in the future.”

While Bryzgalov has certainly stolen the show this year, Bobrovsky hasn’t regressed at
all after playing 54 games his rookie year. It can be a tough thing to do to take a seat in
the back after spending most of the year in the driver’s position.

“I haven’t seen any of that from him,” said Coburn. “This guy probably is the last guy to
leave from the practice rink every day. I know, because I’m usually the second to last.

“This guy works his butt off every day. He’s always out there keeping himself in shape
and you can see the mental preparation he does before games. He’s kind of a little bit on
an opposite to Bryz. He’s easygoing and Bryz is a personality.”

Bobrovsky did, however, admit it’s been tough.

“It’s not up to me,” he said. “It’s not my choice and there’s no other way. In comparison
to playing every game, it is more difficult to be as confident and as prepared because I
never know when I’ll start. There’s no rhythm for the preparation.”

Everyone will likely be a little thrown off by playing outdoors in the Winter Classic on
Monday, so he won’t be alone in his awkward feeling. But he’ll be in there. Calm and
quiet, Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes.

25. Philly Sports Daily- Zolnierczyk Eager For Outdoor Excitement

Dave Isaac

CITIZENS BANK PARK — Forgive Harry Zolnierczyk if he hasn’t stopped to smell the
roses. He’s been a little busy surpassing expectations. He was part of the marketing
campaign for the outdoor series in Philadelphia. His face has been plastered on SEPTA
buses — promoting the Phantoms game on Jan. 6.

He hasn’t played for the Phantoms since Oct. 29. Instead he’s been quickly moving up
the ranks, being a versatile piece for the Flyers. He’s been a fixture on a few lines for the
NHL club this year and he’s anxious to keep going.

After all, 2011 was a good year for him. He signed his entry-level contract with the
Flyers in March and by Oct. 18, in his first NHL game, he had a goal. Now he has the
opportunity to play outdoors in 2012 and he’d like to spend it with his family, even if
they weren’t able to make it in time for the family skate following Friday’s practice.

“My mom’s driving in right now and a couple of her good family friends, some neighbors
are driving with her,” said Zolnierczyk.
Sounds like a good opportunity to take a quick breather and reflect on how far he’s come.

“I guess so. You’re finally here,” he said. “There’s still a lot more to accomplish for this
team and definitely for myself, but it’s something you gotta take in today and that way
you’re ready when it comes tomorrow.”

Preparation has been a big part of Zolnierczyk’s plan. It’s what’s got him from Brown
University to the Philadelphia Flyers in less than a year.

“At the beginning of this year, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I set my
expectations high and it started a little up and down. As we started getting close, it started
looking like it was going to be realistic and I mean, it’s just another game, but I’m
definitely excited.”

Skating outside, in a baseball stadium, has that effect. Like most kids from Canada,
Zolnierczyk remembers spending all day outside playing with friends, and even some
long nights.

“Being from Toronto, outdoor rinks, outdoor ponds, things like that — I haven’t been on
those in years except maybe a couple Christmases ago just for fun, a late-night shinny,”
he recalled. “That was pretty special to have a full practice, gearing up for a full game in
the NHL outdoors. That’s pretty cool.”

Only 10 Flyers on the current roster have Winter Classic experience, so Zolnierczyk was
eager to get some knowledge of what to expect when the puck drops on Monday at 3 p.m.
Brown’s Meehan Auditorium holds only 3,100, so the jump to the NHL was big enough.
On Monday, he’ll see more than double a sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd.

“Max Talbot just said ‘try to picture this place kinda full because it will kinda throw you
off at the beginning,’” said Zolnierczyk. “Just the perception of people further back and
that many people surrounding you in that big of an environment, it’s something that you
have to be prepared for because it’s gonna happen fast [on Monday].”

Hopefully at some point in Monday’s activity, there will be a spare moment for the 24-
year-old to step back and take it all in. With how fast he skates and how fast he’s moving
up the ranks, he needs to force himself to stop, if only for a second, and take it all in.


26. Philly Sports Daily- Bright: No Goalie Controversy Despite Winter Classic Call

Ryan Bright

Although many choose to label the Flyers’ decisions concerning Ilya Bryzgalov and
Sergei Bobrovsky this season, one thing is for certain: there is no goalie controversy here.
By the nature of the word, a controversy has to be controversial. And the decision to play
backup Bobrovsky over starter Bryzgalov on Monday for the highly anticipated Winter
Classic at Citizens Bank Park against the New York Rangers, while bold, is not shocking,
let alone cause of a rift.

With victories in his last four of five starts, Bobrovsky has been the steadier hand for the
Flyers of late, even putting forth a more competitive effort against the Rangers on Nov.
26 — a 2-0 loss. One month later, Bryzgalov, in the same spot and same venue, Madison
Square Garden, allowed four in the 4-2 defeat.

Starting Bobrovsky over Bryzgalov is a good, simple hockey decision by coach Peter
Laviolette, who has a history of playing the hot hand in net throughout his career as
decision-maker. And at this moment in time — 36 games into the season — the talented
second-year netminder gives the Flyers their best chance at winning the game.

That’s all the reason Laviolette needs to go against the grain with his decision.

Bryzgalov is an outspoken and seemingly distracted player that has lost his last four starts
and is sinking way below his capabilities. However, it’s not an uncommon occurrence by
NHL standards. Legitimate NHL starters can stroll away from the same type of top-notch
game that made them stars, an example highlighted by Roberto Luongo in Vancouver and
Ryan Miller in Buffalo.

But Bryzgalov’s sudden stardom at the hands of HBO’s reality tv mini-series, “24/7,” has
amplified his struggles and put a microscope above his participation in the Winter
Classic. Yet, as the final whistle sounds on Monday night in Philadelphia, the hotter,
more focused and fully capable goalie will have started Game 37 on the Flyers’ season.

And there is nothing controversial about that.

27. Philadelphia Flyers- On The Fly: BOB GET CLASSIC START

Joe Siville

The Flyers announced today that Sergei Bobrovsky will start in the 2012 Bridgestone
NHL Winter Classic.

Bobrovsky currently owns an 8-2-1 record to go along with a 2.52 goals-against average
and .914 save percentage in 14 starts this season.

In his most recent start, Bobrovsky led the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the Penguins at
Pittsburgh on Dec. 29 by stopping 24 of 26 shots. He has also won his last three starts in
net and has appeared in relief twice during that span.

"Bob's been playing well for us," said Claude Giroux. "The last few games he's been
working hard and battles a lot."
It's that work ethic that seems to catch the attention of both the players and head coach
Peter Laviolette.

"Bob's preparation is terrific," said Laviolette. "He spends a lot of time in the weight
room and after practice making sure that he's conditioned and ready. I think it's his whole
work ethic that allows him to continue to be better."

"Give credit to Bob. He works hard. He's one of these guys that everyday he's busting his
hump," said defenseman Braydon Coburn. "The confidence I've seen him play with this
year it's been impressive and it's good for him."

Since earning a 4-3 overtime win against the Islanders on Nov. 23, Bobrovsky has gone
5-1-0 with a 1.55 GAA and .947 save percentage in which he has stopped 177 of 187
total shots.

The 23-year-old native of Novokuznetsk, Russia is in just his second year with the Flyers
and in the NHL. In his rookie campaign he posted a 28-13-8 record in 54 regular season
starts.

START TIME CHANGED!
The National Hockey League today announced that tomorrow's 2012 Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic will start at3 p.m., ET (NBC,CBC,RDS). The game originally was
scheduled for 1 p.m., ET.

The revised start time decision was based on tomorrow’s weather forecast
and should offer optimal game conditions for players and fans.


28. NHL.com- Flyers confirm Bobrovsky will start, 'Bryz' on bench

Adam Kimelman

PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov informed the media following Sunday's
practice at Citizens Bank Park who the team's starting goaltender would be for Monday's
game against the New York Rangers.

It won't be him.

Bryzgalov, signed by the Flyers to a nine-year contract during the summer in hopes of
stabilizing the team's long-running goaltending issues, announced he would serve as the
backup to Sergei Bobrovsky when the puck is dropped for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC). Just after 5 p.m. Sunday, the Flyers confirmed
Bobrovsky will be Philadelphia's starter in goal Monday.
"I have great news and even better news," said Bryzgalov after the Flyers' morning
practice. "OK, great news is I'm not playing (Monday), and better news is we have a
chance to win the game (Monday)."

Coach Peter Laviolette, though, said no such decision had been made earlier Monday.

"I have not spoken to the goaltenders yet and have not announced anything yet," he said
after practice. "We plan on making an announcement later (Sunday) as to who the starter
will be."


Bryzgalov said he received the information from goaltender coach Jeff Reese, not
Laviolette.

"We have a roster every day they put out and basically you can see if you're playing or
not," said Bryzgalov. "What's written down, and actually my goalie coach, Jeff Reese, he
tell me I'm not playing."

Bryzgalov said he didn't talk to Laviolette after seeing his name slide to No. 2 on the
depth chart for Monday's game.

"I didn't see the reason why," he said. "He's the head coach. He makes these decisions
and he's responsible for results. I can understand him. He probably wants to put the best
lineup (on the ice)."

Laviolette said he wasn't sure why Bryzgalov would speak out publicly.

"I don't know," he said. "I haven't spoken to either one of the goaltenders. I plan on
speaking to them after I get done with (the media), and we plan on making an
announcement before the game."

Bryzgalov said he isn't particularly happy to be sitting out and instead was focusing on
the bigger picture.

"Yes," he said when asked if he was disappointed in being the backup. "I'm a human. I'm
not made from steel. But it is what it is. I had a good practice today, just like yesterday
and two days ago. We just keep moving forward. There's lots of game in front of us, lots
of hockey. I heard it was still the main goal in Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and
prepare for this."

When asked what his mindset would be now, he replied, "Make sure I don't forget my
thermos with some nice tea and enjoy the bench."

His teammates are sure Bryzgalov's stay on the bench won't be a long one."I think it
might be pretty good for Bryz to maybe get a wake-up call and work on some things and
get back to being the goalie that he can be and we all know," said forward Scott Hartnell.
"That's why (GM Paul Holmgren) signed him, and he’s going to be good for us. I have a
lot of faith in him. He's a good man and a great goalie and he'll be there for us when we
need him."

However, Hartnell said Bryzgalov would have to earn his way back into the lineup.

"When Bryz gets in the net, he's got to earn it back," he said. "I don't think it's a No.
1/No. 2 thing. It could be 1A or 1B, whatever you want to call it. He's got to realize he
has to get his job back."

Most players said it didn't matter to them who started in the net, but said they wouldn't be
surprised if it were Bobrovsky due to his recent strong play.

"I think you look at Peter's patterns about who plays and not, and he usually, if a guy is
hot, he plays him," said defenseman Braydon Coburn. "I think this being as big a game as
it is, and Bob had a big game in Pittsburgh and kept us in there and we were able to get
some goals and he got the win, it makes sense."

"You reward the players who play well, work hard," added defenseman Kimmo
Timonen. "It doesn't matter. If it's Winter Classic or whatever, it doesn't matter. It's fair
for everybody. The way he played in Pittsburgh, I think he was calm and he played with
confidence. As a player, you can tell when your goalie has that confidence and he has that
right now. Hopefully he can keep it up because it makes our life easier when the goalie
plays well."

Bobrovsky has won his past three starts, including a 24-save performance in Thursday's
4-2 win against the Penguins in Pittsburgh. In 14 games this season, he's 8-2-1 with a
2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage.

In his one start this season against the Rangers, he stopped 30 of 32 shots in a 2-0 loss
Nov. 26.

On the other side, Bryzgalov is without a win in his past four starts (0-3-1), including
allowing four goals on 24 shots Dec. 23 against the Rangers. For the season, he's 14-8-3
with a 3.01 goals-against average and .890 save percentage -- fourth-worst among the 46
goalies who qualify for the League leaderboard.

Bryzgalov has had a roller-coaster start to his tenure in Philadelphia. He started with wins
in his first three starts, including defeats of both of last season's Stanley Cup Finalists.
Then came a five-game skid without a win that was capped by him allowing four goals
on 10 shots in a 9-8 loss to the Winnipeg Jetsthat included him saying he was "lost in the
woods."

He won six straight preceding this current losing streak, and became a star for his
eccentric quotes on HBO's "24/7" show, ranging from his views on the universe to laws
concerning tigers in China.
Bobrovsky was taken aback by Bryzgalov's pronouncement, and refused to confirm that
he would be the starter. All he would allow for is saying it would be nice just to play.

"It doesn't matter who starts (Monday) because the most important thing is the result,"
Bobrovsky said via a translator. "It's a real game, there's two points on the line. It would
have been special but the result is the most important thing."

Teammates also were adamant in saying that more shouldn't be made of one start in an
82-game season.

"The thing about Bryz is he's new to our team and obviously he's had some great game
this year," said defenseman Braydon Coburn. "We're still growing. I'm sure whenever
you get into a stretch and you get a goalie that's playing hot, you go with him. I'm sure
Byrz's time is coming."


29. NHL.com- Weekes: Laviolette fearless when picking goalies

Dan Rosen

PHILADELPHIA -- As someone who played for Peter Laviolette, NHL Network analyst
Kevin Weekes has an intimate knowledge into how the Philadelphia Flyers coach goes
about making his decision on a starting goaltender.

Weekes told NHL.com Sunday that Laviolette has become more flexible in selecting his
starter since Weekes played 66 games for the coach in 2003-04. He also said Laviolette
showed that flexibility during the Flyers' run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2010, when he
used Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher to get Philadelphia to Game 6 against the
Blackhawks.

It appears Laviolette's flexibility is on display once again because, according to Ilya
Bryzgalov, the star goalie who signed a nine-year, $51 million contract with the Flyers in
the offseason, Laviolette has chosen Sergei Bobrovsky to start for the Philadelphia in the
2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

Bryzgalov announced in the Flyers' dressing room Sunday morning that goalie coach Jeff
Reese told him he would not be starting Monday; instead, he would be the backup to
Sergei Bobrovsky.

Laviolette did not confirm the move in his press conference, which followed Bryzgalov's
pronouncement.

To Weekes, the goalie sideshow is interesting because it adds layers to the coverage of
the Winter Classic, and it's telling for how Laviolette sees the difference in play between
Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.
Bryzgalov is 0-3-1 in his past four starts, having allowed 16 goals. Bobrovsky is 3-0-0 in
his past three starts with only six goals allowed.

"In this situation, of course Ilya Bryzgalov wants to play. Why the heck would he not
want to play?" Weekes told NHL.com. "This is the Winter Classic. You're the signature
guy. You've been an All-Star a couple of times. They signed you to this big deal. You
want to come in and put on a show for the Philly faithful.

"But you know what? I don't believe in entitlement. I believe in earning your keep. That
was my whole experience in the NHL, so I can't really identify with a guy being entitled
to play."

Bryzgalov never hinted that he feels any entitlement, nor did he say he deserves to play.
But clearly he was disappointed in being shifted to the backup role while admittedly
being upset with how he's played.

Bryzgalov has been hot and cold all season, with only 14 wins and a 3.01 goals-against
average in 26 appearances. He gave up four goals on 24 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Rangers
on Dec. 23.

Bobrovsky was in net for the Rangers' 2-0 win against Philadelphia on Nov. 26.

"I think one factor is he's played his entire career in the West. It's a different style of the
play in the West," Weekes said of Bryzgalov, who came to Philadelphia after playing his
first nine NHL seasons in Anaheim and Phoenix. "This is his first year in the East. He's
with a new team. He's playing in Philly -- huge expectations, great hockey market,
unbelievable fans. He hasn't found his comfort zone here yet."

But Weekes said there's no reason to believe Bryzgalov is going to be a bust in
Philadelphia.

"It's not as though he has forgotten how to stop the puck," Weekes said. "Let's keep in
mind this guy is a two-time All-Star. He just hasn't hit his stride yet. He's still adjusting to
the new team, the new rink here in Philly and all the new arenas in the Eastern
Conference.

"Those aren't excuses. Of course you expect him to perform and he'd be the first one to
tell you he hasn't played up to his potential yet. It certainly has created a buzz around
here, for sure."


30. NHL.com- Classic practice day delivers 'unbelievable feeling'

Danny Briere
Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere is blogging about his Winter Classic
experience exclusively for NHL.com. From his first turns on the ice at Citizens Bank
Park on Sunday, through the family skate, to the his thoughts the morning of the game, to
a wrap-up of the entire Classic experience, Briere will deliver his thoughts directly to
NHL.com readers.

When I saw the layout at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, one of the things I really wanted
to see was how the locker room would look with our gear in there, and to be in the
Phillies' locker room and see our names and gear hanging up that was a cool feeling.


Walking into the ballpark was a great feeling, as well. Walking around, looking at all the
stands, they were still empty, but that's what I can't wait to see tomorrow, with them
filled. That was an unbelievable feeling.

Being on the ice, that was nice. Just testing the ice to get ready for tomorrow's game,
getting a feel for it -- just looking up in the sky, it's almost magical. When you look
above you and there's no roof over your head, that was really magic. I think that's the best
word. It brings you back to your childhood playing outside. It's a really, really cool
feeling.

The family skate, I remember in Boston was the highlight of my week. I made sure I
really enjoyed it today and soaked it all in today.

I had my three sons, my dad and other friends and family down, but the real highlight
today for me was having the chance to skate around with my little nephew, Zaac, my
sister's boy, who's 2 years old. That was probably my highlight, to see his eyes looking
everywhere. Having the chance to go on the ice, his smile, that made it all worth it right
there.

Also, I got to see Claude Giroux's sister get engaged. That was a pretty cool moment, as
well. To do it on the ice, not too many people will be able to say they did something like
that. That was really cool to see as well. It's original. That was nice.

Today was a fun day. Today was the day where we enjoyed it, we were kind of joking
around, just having a blast, relaxing. I'm planning on tonight after dinner, when I start to
wind down for the night, that's when there's going to be a shift in focus, where it's going
to go from fun to a focus on tomorrow's game.

It's a different day. We wake up, get a quick bite to eat and then it's game time at 1 p.m.
The preparation is really going to start, the hard focus, the more serious focus is going to
start tonight.


31. NHL.com- Flyers-Rangers rivalry to be viewed on national stage
Dan Rosen

PHILADELPHIA -- It took Philadelphia Flyers rookie forward Zac Rinaldo all of two
regular-season games against the New York Rangers to learn why there is so much hatred
in this Philadelphia-New York rivalry that will take center stage Monday in the 2012
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park (3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS).

"(Brandon) Dubinsky," Rinaldo told NHL.com when asked to give a reason why he
dislikes the Rangers so much. "He told me I was a liability on the ice and he told me I
was a bad hockey player. Then the next game I asked him to fight, and he doesn't back it
up. That's a coward move. You don't tell someone he's a bad hockey player and then not
back anything up. That's a coward."

Given a chance to respond, Dubinsky, the Rangers' fifth-year forward who has played 28
games against the Flyers, at first said he wasn't going to, but then his answer bled into a
jab at Rinaldo.

"I've never even heard of the guy, really," Dubinsky told NHL.com. "So, no need for me
to say anything else besides that."

Rinaldo said he won't create a sideshow with Dubinsky on Monday because "he's not
even worth my time," but the war of words between the two players Sunday are enough
of an indication of the type of game fans should expect Monday.

The Rangers and Flyers do not like each other very much. The Flyers' fans flat-out can't
stand the Rangers' fans, and vice versa.

The rivalry traces back to the Flyers' first season in 1967 and has featured 311 games, but
for the first time the two sides will take it outdoors in a game that, while it is still for the
requisite two points, means so much more for the national stage it will be played on and
where the teams are in the standings right now.

The Rangers lead the Eastern Conference with 50 points, while the Flyers' 48 points puts
them in fourth place. The Flyers will leap the Rangers with a regulation win Monday.

"Every time when we play the Rangers, it's usually a tight game, 2-1 or 3-2," Flyers
defenseman Kimmo Timonen said. "It's hard-nosed, hard-forechecking games with a
couple of fights in there. The goalies play well. And I'm not expecting anything else
(Monday), even if we play outdoors and it's Winter Classic. I'm expecting hard-nosed
game and hard-forechecking game. Obviously it's just a different environment for both
teams."

The Rangers have owned the season series so far this season, with a pair of wins at
Madison Square Garden. They beat the Flyers 2-0 on Nov. 26 and 4-2 on Dec. 23.
Henrik Lundqvist started in goal in both games for the Rangers and stopped a combined
57 of 59 shots. Sergei Bobrovsky started for the Flyers on Nov. 26 and Ilya Bryzgalov
was in net late last month.

Lundqvist will start Monday against Bobrovsky.

"I can only speak for our team, we just go about our business," Rangers coach John
Tortorella said. "We don't change our game plan or do anything special against Philly."

New York has won the last four meetings between the rivals dating back to its 7-0 victory
March 6, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. However, the Flyers won the previous five
games, starting with their 2-1 shootout victory on the final day of the 2009-10 season that
put them in the playoffs and knocked the Rangers out.

"Hate is a big word, but that's definitely a word you can use between the Rangers and
Flyers. It's so competitive that it's always like a playoff game." -- Rangers' forward
Brandon Prust
Flyers forward Jody Shelley played for the Rangers in that game and scored their lone
goal. He vividly recalls the feeling of leaving Philadelphia that afternoon.

"You don't feel happy for any of (the Philadelphia fans) because you really hate them," he
told NHL.com. "We left there on the train with the image of the fans standing up so
happy, and that's not what you want. It's not us and them, it's the Flyers fans against
Ranger fans. We came to Philly knowing what the Ranger fans were doing that day, and
we were heading back to New York while these guys were standing up."

The Flyers fans that came up to New York for the games this season left disappointed.
The Rangers have won the two previous meetings between the clubs this season behind
strong goaltending from Lundqvist and a well-rounded offense, including points from 13
different players, led by Michael Del Zotto's 3 assists.

"They played great defensively," said Flyers forward Jakub Voracek, who like Rinaldo is
getting his first taste of the Rangers-Flyers rivalry this season. "Lundqvist was solid both
games and we struggled to score on him. I don't think we played bad games, we played
pretty solid hockey games, but we just couldn't finish."

Of course, it's not a Flyers-Rangers rivalry without some pugilism. Rangers forward
Brandon Prust has been in the center of that.

In the first game this season, Prust fought Rinaldo just four seconds after the opening
faceoff. He then fought Wayne Simmonds later in the first period Nov. 26. And in the
second meeting, he fought Marc-Andre Bourdon in the first period.

The two games this season have featured a total of 72 penalty minutes, including eight
fighting majors, two unsportsmanlike-conduct penalties and two roughing minors.
"Hate is a big word, but that's definitely a word you can use between the Rangers and
Flyers," Prust told NHL.com. "It's so competitive that it's always like a playoff game."

Giroux's sister engaged at Winter Classic

Arpon Basu

Claude Giroux got an interesting phone call a few days before Sunday's Phildelphia
Flyers practice for the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic.

It was his sister Isabelle's boyfriend, Eric, and he was looking for some advice.

"I'm going to propose to your sister, when should I do it?" he asked Giroux.

"Just do it on the ice," was Giroux's response.

So when the Flyers finished practice Sunday and their families were permitted to go for a
little skate at Citizens Bank Park, Eric came prepared to pop the big question. Except it
took him some time to build up the nerve.

"He was skating around for like half an hour," Giroux told NHL Network. "He was all
nervous, he didn't know how to do it."

Finally, he got down on one knee right in the middle of the ice and asked the big
question.

A stunned Isabelle said yes.

It was the second consecutive year a marriage proposal took place on the Winter Classic
ice. Last year in Pittsburgh, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green helped get a
longtime friend onto the ice for the family skate so that he could propose to his girlfriend.


32. ESPN.com- The Universe is hard to figure out

Scott Burnside

PHILADELPHIA -- And so the existential $51 million goaltender they call "Universe"
will view the Winter Classic from the end of the Philadelphia Flyers' bench, thermos of
hot tea close at hand.
"I have a great news and even better news. OK, great news I'm not playing tomorrow
night and good news we have a chance to win the game tomorrow," a self-deprecating
Ilya Bryzgalov told reporters after the Flyers skated at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday
morning in advance of Monday's Winter Classic game against the New York Rangers.
For a team that closely guards its goaltending decisions, Bryzgalov's admission that he
was being benched in favor of youngster Sergei Bobrovsky must have been a further
annoyance to the team that already has the kind of goaltending controversy it had hoped
to banish when it signed the former Vezina Trophy nominee to a whopper nine-year deal
last summer.
Instead, Bryzgalov has wilted under the pressure of the contract and with the HBO
cameras following him incessantly (he joked that they follow him everywhere, including
the washroom to make sure he uses soap), he seems to have morphed from engagingly
quirky to mentally weak, incapable of coping with the pressure of being The Man in a
town that's been searching for The Man in goal for decades.
Bryzgalov, talking to the media for close to half an hour Sunday, admitted he was
disappointed by head coach Peter Laviolette's decisions.
"I'm a human," he said. "I'm not made from the steel. But that is what it is. I had a good
practice today again, like yesterday and two days ago. We just keep moving forward, you
know, and lots of games in front of us, lots of hockey, and I heard it was still main goal in
Philadelphia to win the Stanley Cup and prepare for this."
As for his mindset, he said, joking, that his main goal Monday was to "make sure [I don't]
forget early in the morning my thermos, put in some nice tea and enjoy the bench."
The decision might be remembered as a defining moment for the team and its netminder.
A few days ago, we were discussing the goaltending dilemma facing Laviolette with
national analyst and former NHLer Keith Jones. He predicted Laviolette wouldn't bench
Bryzgalov because the snub might hamper the netminder's long-term effectiveness.
"If I was the player, that would bother me a lot. That would be a pretty strong message to
send," Jones said.
"I don't think probably I would take that kind of chance. But it's a question now which it
wasn't at the start of the year," Jones added.
He's right on all counts, but kudos to Laviolette for sending a message to Bryzgalov that
his current level of play is not acceptable for a team that is in a dogfight with the Rangers
and Pittsburgh Penguins for top spot in the Atlantic Division, and also sending a strong
message to the rest of the locker room.
Since winning six in a row early in December, Bryzgalov is 0-3-1 and has given up 16
goals. Worse, perhaps, has been his predilection for battering himself in public about his
poor play.
Bryzgalov said he hadn't spoken to Laviolette directly and that goaltending coach Jeff
Reese broke the news that he wasn't starting.
"No. I didn't see the reason why [to talk to Laviolette]. He's the head coach, he makes
these decisions. He is responsible for results, and I can understand him. He probably
wants to put the best lineup [that] he got for tonight," he said.
By comparison, Bobrovsky has been terrific for the Flyers. After being yanked early in
the playoffs last season, Bobrovsky seems to have matured, and with a win over
Pittsburgh in the team's last game, his record is 8-2-1 in 11 starts.
Laviolette is a demanding coach and players who play hard for him are rewarded. By
rewarding Bobrovsky with a start on Monday, Laviolette reinforces that he is good to his
word. That kind of decision will resonate in the Flyers' dressing room. Or it should.
Holding firm to the team's policy of not announcing the starting netminder until the day
of the game, Laviolette refused to confirm Bryzgalov's announcement. (It was later
confirmed on Sunday by the team.) But he did praise Bobrovsky's preparation all season.
"I think it's his whole work ethic that allows him to be better," he said.
GM Paul Holmgren, the man who redesigned the Flyers' lineup to accommodate
Bryzgalov and his contract, likewise declined to comment on the implications of the
goaltending decision.
"He's played well. You know, he's played well. So, why not?" Holmgren said.
There's a certain amount of risk, of course, with every lineup decision, and Laviolette
said he doesn't take any of them lightly. It is especially so with a game like the Winter
Classic, a high-profile contest that has been built up for weeks.
"It's always difficult," he said. "I have a lot of tough conversations today because the
game is still important. I think that you can't lose sight of that, first and foremost, whether
the game is played here or if it's played at the Wells Fargo building, I think you have to
make the decisions on where is the best avenue to beat the New York Rangers. … And I
had a lot of tough conversations today because guys want to play. Nobody wants to hear
that they're not playing or not in the lineup.
"Those are conversations that shouldn't be taken lightly. I think when it comes down to
making decisions, you want to put the team on the ice that you feel has the best
opportunity to be successful."
The HBO documentary "24/7" has made Bryzgalov something of a cult figure with his
take on life and the universe. And perhaps when the Winter Classic is past and the
cameras packed up, he will return to the strong play that he has shown at times this
season.
The Flyers have banked heavily that these moments aren't indicative of a long-term trend
but a minor detour on a long road that leads to a championship.
Asked Sunday if he had lost hope, Bryzgalov scoffed.
"Who, me? This is just hockey. Just hockey," he said. "You remember about how big is
the universe? Our problems here? C'mon. Are you serious? If you think your life is bad,
all of somebody even on Earth have it worse. Be happy. Don't worry, be happy."
And then, as though parodying himself, Bryzgalov noted that his not starting would not,
in fact, mean the end of the universe. True, although one wonders instead what will
become of "Universe" himself.


33. ESPN.com- Flyers' Timonen still underappreciated

Pierre LeBrun

PHILADELPHIA -- Even the spotlight of hockey's most watched television program
hasn't changed the fact one of the most talented defensemen of this era remains under the
national radar.
Three episodes into HBO's "24/7," you have not seen any clips of Kimmo Timonen
openly questioning the creation of the universe or comparing his dog to a hot girl.
That would draw attention to himself. And that's the last thing he strives for.
No, Kimmo Timonen is just doing his thing again this year, and, like his previous 12
NHL seasons, that's being a terrifically efficient player, a superb teammate and a
respected leader.
All without fanfare.
Oh, his story has been written many times. He tops the list of underrated players each and
every year, even though he long ago stopped being underrated by anyone in the game.
But it's his quiet demeanor that has kept the 36-year-old Finland product from crossing
over to a bigger spotlight shared by the likes of Zdeno Chara, Nicklas Lidstrom and his
injured teammate Chris Pronger.
Asked by ESPN.com on Sunday after the Flyers' practice on the outdoor ice whether he's
grown weary of the "underrated Kimmo Timonen" line of questioning after all these
years, he smiled and shrugged.
"It's really not up to me," Timonen said on the eve of the Winter Classic. "It's media
created. I go out there and do my job. If somebody recognizes that and says, 'He's a good
player,' then great. But if nobody does, nobody does. It's not up to me. I just do my job."
And he does it consistently, night in and night out, year after year.
"He's our anchor back there," Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told ESPN.com on Sunday.
Andreas Lilja has developed a great appreciation for Timonen's abilities now that they are
teammates.
"When you play against him, you think he's a good player, obviously," Lilja said Sunday.
"But now when you play with him, you get the opportunity to see him every day, it's
unreal how good he is with the puck and skating-wise. He buys himself time, that's what
good players do, they buy themselves time."
High praise from a Swede to a Finn, I told Lilja, who chuckled. But Lilja was just getting
warmed up.
"He reminds me of Lidstrom a little bit," Lilja said. "Same type -- they never really run
anybody over and they never get run over -- they're always in the right spot and one step
ahead of everybody else. It's fun to watch him play."

That's right, he said it: Lidstrom. There's no higher standard as far as comparisons go in
this era for a defenseman. Similarly, neither defenseman often makes the highlight reel
because it's not about end-to-end rushes or a big bodycheck. It's about the simple play,
the right pass, mistake-free hockey.
And like Lidstrom, it's about quiet leadership, actions speaking louder than words,
universal respect in the dressing room.
"Kimmo just goes about his business," Holmgren said. "I don't think he's a real vocal guy,
but trust me, he's a guy that our young players are looking at in terms of how he does
things and the way he prepares. ... He's a role model."
But is he still underrated? Surely, not. Just a little underappreciated.


New York Rangers Articles (FLYERS Next Opponent)

1. New York Times – Flyers Make Goalie Switch for Classic

Jeff Z. Klein

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers' No. 1 goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov, has been a star of HBO's
"24/7" series, quirkily philosophizing about Russian literature, the cosmos and other
subjects. But Bryzgalov is unlikely to be a marquee name when the Flyers take on the
Rangers in the annual Winter Classic on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
The morning before the N.H.L.'s big outdoor game, Bryzgalov told reporters that he
would not be a starter. His statement, apparently a case of a player speaking out of turn,
seemed to surprise Philadelphia Coach Peter Laviolette. Later in the day, the Flyers
announced on their Web site that Sergei Bobrovsky would start instead.
"I have great news and even better news," Bryzgalov said after morning practice at the
baseball stadium. "O.K., great news is I'm not playing, and better news is we have a
chance to win the game."
Bryzgalov, who said he was told that he would not start by the team's goalie coach, Jeff
Reese, was asked how he would prepare for the game.
"Make sure I don't forget my thermos with some nice tea and enjoy the bench," he said.
Reporters asked Laviolette whether it was true that Bobrovsky would start instead of
Bryzgalov. "I haven't spoken to either one of the goaltenders," Laviolette said before the
team's announcement. After the Flyers confirmed that Bobrovsky would start, Bryzgalov
sent a photograph of his thermos on Twitter.
Bryzgalov, 31, was a free agent last summer when he signed a nine-year, $51 million
contract with the Flyers, who were seeking to solve their perennial goaltending woes. But
he has recorded a poor .890 save percentage in 26 games so far.
Bobrovsky has a .914 save percentage in 14 games this season.
The Rangers, meanwhile, practiced Sunday afternoon. Coach John Tortorella said there
would be no lineup changes, which meant that Henrik Lundqvist, who said he had not
played an outdoor game since he was 10, would start in goal.
"I just can't get over the amount of hype that's involved in this one game," Tortorella said,
adding that he was confident his team could handle the charged atmosphere.
GAME TIME SHIFTED With the temperature expected to be in the 40s on Monday, the
N.H.L. announced that the starting time for the Winter Classic would be moved to 3 p.m.,
from 1 p.m., to ensure better ice conditions. Last year's game in Pittsburgh, between the
Penguins and the Washington Capitals, was also delayed because of weather. It was
moved from the afternoon to prime time, with the players dodging raindrops.
PREDATORS 5, FLAMES 3 Sergei Kostitsyn scored three goals to lead Nashville to its
third straight victory. Kevin Klein and Matt Halischuk also scored for the host Predators.
Jarome Iginla, Rene Bourque and Brendan Morrison scored for Calgary, which has lost
three straight. (AP)
New York Times LOADED: 01.02.2012

2. New York Times – With '24/7,' HBO Refines a Winning Formula

Richard Sandomir

HBO's "24/7" series has nearly perfected the documentary as a promotional vehicle.
They are shot superbly, written elegantly and narrated unobtrusively by Liev Schreiber.
The boxing version of "24/7" follows usually raucous fight camps before a match. The
series sticks to the lives of personalities, some under increasing pressure - boxers,
trainers, promoters, families, hangers-on - because there are no matches to show. But
inevitably, there is a match: the one that the series is advertising - the one that is produced
and sold via pay-per-view by HBO.
Last year, HBO leaped from boxing to hockey, with a "24/7" series dedicated to the New
Year's Day Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This year, for three weeks, HBO has carried the run-up to the Rangers-Philadelphia
Flyers Winter Classic on Monday. The fourth episode will be shown Thursday at 10 p.m.
Eastern, time enough to add a documentary gloss to the game.
The N.H.L. version of "24/7" is a promotional vehicle of a different sort - it is pushing
the broadcast of the Winter Classic on NBC and it carries plenty of footage from games
played in the week preceding each episode. The series is a critical element of the Winter
Classic marketing campaign.
So far, the HBO storytelling formula that made its debut last year has continued unabated
with "24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the N.H.L. Winter Classic." Start with close-up game
action that you cannot see on game broadcasts and elevate it with emotional, Russian-
sounding music.
Throw in at least one extremely foul-mouthed coach (the Rangers' John Tortorella,
standing in for last year's compulsively cursing Bruce Boudreau, then the Capitals'
coach). Now, mix in great audio to hear collisions and the hysterically profane on-ice
conversations. And add coaches' harangues; charity events; family gatherings (like that of
the Rangers' Brian Boyle, who has 12 siblings); players who are stitched up; and the
unveiling of a monumentally weird personality (Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers' goalie and
philosopher of the universe).
This is a series that clearly understands its mission: tell the parallel tales of two teams
heading into the most important event on the N.H.L. schedule apart from the Stanley Cup
finals. HBO follows myriad story lines with a nearly relentless ardor. There is a nonstop
yarn-spinning loop at work here: practices lead to games, to intermission rants, to players
in personal moments and to travel. Then repeat.
The loop works because material is culled week by week to overfeed it: Flyers Coach
Peter Laviolette yelling, "Montreal typical!" to protest a referee's call in a game against
the Canadiens; Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist playing guitar with John McEnroe;
Tortorella's touching relationship with a young Rangers fan with cerebral palsy (did your
eyes stay dry when the youngster's father lifted him into a bed draped in a Rangers
blanket?); the Rangers' Marian Gaborik buying a Christmas tree and schlepping it home
over his shoulder; and the pride felt by the grandmother of Ryan Callahan, the Rangers'
captain.
Concussions are frequently addressed - both teams have their share - but the series
focuses on the recovery of the Flyers' young superstar, Claude Giroux. He returned,
spectacularly, in Episode 3, with a four-point game. The series has shown the medical
caution shown by teams before they let players return after concussions. But curiously,
not a moment has been spent talking about Derek Boogaard, the former Rangers enforcer
who died last May of an accidental overdose of alcohol and painkillers; he was also
found to have degenerative brain disease that is believed to be caused by repeated blows
to the head.
It is a substantial omission, even if the Rangers have had no official comment on
Boogaard's death.
But there was nothing to prevent HBO from talking about Boogaard to the approachable
Giroux.
One of the elements missing here is the depiction of a strong coach-general manager
relationship like the one shown in last year's series, between Penguins General Manager
Ray Shero and Coach Dan Bylsma. Paul Holmgren, the Flyers' G.M., is visible, but his
Rangers counterpart, the publicity-averse Glen Sather, is not seen, heard or talked about.
Meanwhile, Tortorella offers HBO the breadth of his personality - propulsively profane
and quietly thoughtful. Laviolette's emotional extremes are less broadly drawn.
Hearing these coaches cajole and curse should make viewers wonder what part of these
pep talks motivates players. And do they occur with such vividness and volume when
HBO's cameras are absent?
How many f-bombs does it take to raise Jaromir Jagr's game? Does Laviolette's
exhortation to "start playing with some jam" mean much to the Flyers? Will the Rangers
follow Tortorella's challenge to "hit or get hit"? Do the Flyers believe in their hearts
Laviolette's assertion - "I'm 100 percent confident in our ability to score four goals" -
after they fell behind to the Rangers, 2-0, after two periods?
But in a series like this, you can move from the utterly enigmatic to the heartwarming.
In Episode 3, Bryzgalov cooked a holiday duck, and his outgoing son told his sister, "I'm
much more Englisher, and you're much more Russian." And Bryzgalov said, "I'm nothing
without them."
Now, do I need to watch the Winter Classic - or should I wait for HBO's version?

3. New York Times – Rangers and Flyers Bring Bare-Knuckle History to a
Showcase

Jeff Z. Klein and Stu Hackel

PHILADELPHIA - When the N.H.L. and NBC originally plotted the Winter Classic, the
idea was to present two traditional rivals. It does not hurt that this year's matchup - the
Rangers and the Flyers - play in the first- and fourth-largest television markets in the
country, but these clubs also have a venomous history that is hard to equal.
Rivalries truly intensify with playoff encounters, and the Rangers and the Flyers have met
10 times in the postseason, with Philadelphia winning six times. The teams' antagonism
sprang to life during their first spring encounter, the 1974 semifinals.
The Flyers, led by Coach Fred Shero, had taken over from St. Louis and Chicago as the
West Division's powerhouse that year, punching their way to first place and earning the
Broad Street Bullies nickname.
By contrast, the Rangers maintained their traditional identity as a finesse team, one of the
East Division's elite clubs. But they had an equally long tradition of postseason failure,
and before the first puck dropped, the Flyers' chief fighter, Dave Schultz, got the ball
rolling by saying he was glad to face a club with "a reputation for choking."
The series went the limit and set a Stanley Cup record for hostility, as the referees
whistled 406 penalty minutes. The Flyers won Game 7 at home, 4-3, and that generation
of Rangers fans still fumes at the memory of what happened in the first period. After a
routine shoving match, Schultz punched out Rangers defenseman Dale Rolfe, pulling his
hair and continuing to pound the bloodied Rolfe, all while no Ranger came to his
assistance.
Afterward, Shero said the fight "took something out of New York." Emile Francis, the
Rangers' general manager and coach, derided his players for being "fat cats." Defenseman
Brad Park said he was nearly sickened by the Flyers' tactics, saying: "I decided if I had to
maim somebody to win the Stanley Cup, it wasn't worth it. It's a sport. It's entertainment,
right?"
Park's mother was asked if she would invite any of the Flyers to her home for dinner, she
replied, "I wouldn't invite them to my garage."
The Flyers' win over the Rangers made them the first 1967 expansion team to defeat an
established N.H.L. club in the playoffs, and they went on to become the first expansion
team to win a Stanley Cup by beating Boston in the finals. They repeated as champions
the next year.
Four years later, the Rangers lured Shero from Philadelphia to be their general manager
and coach. In a February 1979 game, Flyers defenseman Jim Watson pulled down
Rangers forward Don Maloney in front of the net and Maloney's stick caught the Flyers'
star goalie, Bernie Parent, in the eye, ending his career.
Two months later, without Parent, the favored Flyers were crushed by the Rangers in the
second round of the playoffs en route to a berth in the Cup finals. That series began a run
of nine years in which the teams met seven times in the playoffs.
By 1982-83, the Rangers had retooled again, this time under Herb Brooks. Using the
model he employed as coach of the 1980 United States gold medal team, Brooks
constructed a team of skilled, smaller skaters playing a puck-possession system. A .500
record, however, left them 26 points behind the division-best Flyers at season's end.
But the Rangers confused the bigger Flyers in an 8-2 victory in March, causing Flyers
Coach Bob McCammon to say, "No one hit their Smurfs all night."
The Rangers pinned the quotation on their bulletin board and embraced the new identity.
When the teams met in the playoffs, the Rangers decisively outplayed Philadelphia,
sweeping them in three games by a combined score of 18-9. "Still the worst I've ever
felt," Bobby Clarke, then the Flyers' captain, said years later.
This rivalry's biggest moments have not been confined to the postseason. The Flyers have
won 114 regular-season games in the series; the Rangers have won 112.
In the mid-1980s, the talented Rangers wing Tomas Sandstrom regularly aggravated the
Flyers with his scoring and some less-than-virtuous tactics.
In November 1988, the Flyers enforcer Dave Brown crosschecked Sandstrom in the head
and neck, sending him to a hospital with a broken jaw and a concussion. Brown was
handed a 15-game suspension. At the time, it was the second-longest ban by the N.H.L.
for an on-ice incident.
The rancor has also extended off the ice. In 1992, the teams competed to secure the rights
to the superstar-in-waiting Eric Lindros. After a dispute in which the Flyers and the
Rangers claimed victory, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the Flyers. In the 1995 playoffs,
Lindros helped eliminate the Rangers, who failed to defend their first Stanley Cup
championship in 54 years.
In 1997, Lindros's 9-point performance, including a hat trick in Game 3, helped eliminate
the Rangers, who had advanced two rounds because of the partnership of Mark Messier
and Wayne Gretzky. The Rangers missed the next seven postseasons.
In April 2010, the Flyers and the Rangers were part of perhaps the most cliff-hanging
conclusion to an N.H.L. season. Playing in the final game of the regular season, the
winner would make the playoffs and the loser would not qualify. With the game tied after
regulation and overtime, Flyers goalie Brian Boucher preserved the shootout victory by
stopping Olli Jokinen and sending the Rangers home for the summer.
The Flyers-Rangers rivalry began with fisticuffs emblematic of hockey in the '70s, and its
most recent big moment came in a skills competition, emblematic of the N.H.L. today. It
will be renewed, outdoors, on Monday.

4. New York Daily News – NHL Winter Classic between NY Rangers, Philadelphia
Flyers a big game, no matter what the start time

Pat Leonard

PHILADELPHIA - Monday's Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers "is a big
game no matter where it's being played," Brad Richards said after the Rangers' outdoor
practice at Citizens Bank Park Sunday.
It's also a big game no matter when it's played, and Sunday afternoon the NHL
announced it had moved the start time from 1 p.m. to 3, citing the weather forecast (high
41 degrees) but likely trying to avoid playing under direct sunlight, which could make an
already choppy ice surface worse.
Defenseman Anton Stralman said practicing outside Sunday was different but that he's
"played on ice around the league (indoors) that's much worse."
Firsthand, this reporter also can say after jumping on for a few laps that the post-practice
ice was choppy but serviceable.
Winds, which are expected to hit up to 19 mph on Monday, could also play a big part in
the game.
"I can't believe how much the wind had a factor," said captain Ryan Callahan. "You
could really feel the wind out there and the glare off the ice. But it's not going to change
the game too much or give anybody an advantage."
Last year's Winter Classic between the Penguins and Capitals was moved from 1 p.m. to
8 at Heinz Field to avoid predicted rain, but such a measure isn't expected to be necessary
Monday.
There were other intriguing story lines as the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers (23-9-
4) and the Flyers (22-10-4) practiced outside one day before the league's regular season
main event.
In the morning, Flyers No. 1 goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov told the media his more
consistent backup, Sergei Bobrovsky, will be starting in the Classic, even though coach
Peter Laviolette refused to confirm the team's decision.
Bryzgalov said since he wouldn't be starting, he would "make sure I don't forget my
thermos with some nice tea and enjoy the bench." Then in the afternoon, Bryzgalov - who
is in the first and most lucrative season of a nine-year, $51 million contract - tweeted a
photo of his thermos.
Contrast that controversy with the steadiness of the Blueshirts' Henrik Lundqvist (1.91
goals-against average, third in NHL), who admitted he's "never experienced a game like
this before, an outdoor game," but said he saw the puck well during Sunday's practice
against a lighter outdoor background, compared to arenas where the puck sometimes
disappears in the dark seats behind the glass.
Lundqvist also is excited about the challenge of harnessing his emotions during such a
unique event. He even talked a little trash.
"I respect (the Flyers) a lot, but I don't really like them," Lundqvist said. "In a good way.
I like playing against teams I don't like."
Injured Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who is close to returning from a concussion that
has kept him sidelined all season, turned heads when he skated with Dan Girardi on the
Rangers' top defensive pairing in practice. But John Tortorella said Ryan McDonagh,
who left practice early with the flu, would play Monday, and that there is no new
information on Staal.
"Nothing's changed, so don't work me on it, okay?" Tortorella said when pressed further
on Staal's status.
Forward Wojtek Wolski also is close to returning but will not play Monday.

5. New York Post – Torts expects McDonagh back on blue line

Larry Brooks

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan McDonagh left the ice just a few minutes into yesterday's
practice on the outdoor rink, but coach John Tortorella said the defenseman, who had had
a touch of the flu the last two days, would be in the Blueshirts' Winter Classic lineup this
afternoon against the Flyers.
"He's fine," the coach insisted.
McDonagh's departure from the rink left the Blueshirts with six defensemen. That
included Marc Staal, who slid into his old spot on Dan Girardi's left side for the club's
line rushes. McDonagh has played in that spot this season while Staal has been sidelined
by the after-effects of the concussion he sustained last Feb. 22.
Staal, who was cleared for contact last week, has been practicing with the club for two
weeks. It would not be a surprise if the 24-year-old alternate captain is cleared to make
his season debut for Thursday night's Garden match against the Penguins.
Until Staal is cleared, Tortorella doesn't want to know.
"I told my trainer I need a yes or a no," he said. "I don't want to talk about it. I don't want
to speculate. I don't want percentages. I want a yes or a no.
"When I get a yes, he'll play. Nothing has changed. Just because we skated outdoors
doesn't change anything that's gone on the past couple of weeks. He must feel brighter
because of the fresh air, I don't know, but nothing has changed."
**Mike Rupp was Martin Brodeur's teammate in New Jersey for five years, and, indeed,
scored the Cup-winning goal in the Devils' Game 7, 3-0 victory over the Ducks.
But the winger, who also has spent time in Pittsburgh, Columbus and Phoenix, said
yesterday that he believes current teammate Henrik Lundqvist, "is the most consistent
goaltender I've ever seen. "Other goalies maybe make more acrobatic saves but they're
not as consistent. There have been games where we haven't been great and maybe haven't
deserved to win, but you get to the third period but you have the chance because of
Hank."
Wojtek Wolski remains on injured reserve. Erik Christensen will be scratched for the
seventh straight game. Michael Sauer, sidelined since Dec. 5 with a concussion, and
Steve Eminger, out since Dec. 17 with a separated shoulder, were included in the team
picture on the ice for which the players wore their Winter Classic jerseys.
6. New York Post – Spotlight follows Rangers into Winter Classic

Larry Brooks

PHILADELPHIA - It isn't true the first 36 games of the Rangers' season have served as a
rehearsal for taking the outdoor stage here this afternoon, or that the first three months
have merely been a prelude to the Winter Classic, in which the Blueshirts will face off
against the Flyers.
It only feels that way.
"It's really exciting, I can't believe it's here after so many weeks and months," Henrik
Lundqvist said following yesterday's practice on the outdoor rink. "The build-up has been
great and I know the players are really enjoying this, so hopefully we're going to take that
feeling into the game.
"For me, there's going to be a lot to take in, there are going to be a lot of distractions, but
I have to focus and be able to do my job while I try to enjoy this. That's going to be a
little bit of a trick to find that balance."
The faceoff has been pushed back two hours to 3 p.m. from the original start time, which
should allow for better cloud cover so the glare of the sun would neither adversely affect
ice conditions nor have impact on the players' ability to see the puck.
Coach John Tortorella, who announced the Rangers' lineup would remain intact, insisted
it would be business as usual for his team, just as it has been throughout a season littered
with special effects.
"There won't be any problem with their focus," the coach said after the practice, which as
followed by the players bringing family members onto the rink for a skate. "This wasn't a
light day, this [family skate] was a light time, but we got in our work.
"It was a different day, but we certainly did what we needed to do."
The Rangers will enter the game with a two-point division lead over Philadelphia, who
will go with Sergei Bobrovsky in nets, as announced early yesterday morning by Flyers
No. 1 goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. The Blueshirts are 2-0 against the Flyers this season, with
both wins at the Garden.
"It's a big game no matter where we play it, but it's perfect that the first time we play in
Philly, it's outdoors," said Brad Richards. "When I went down the ice the first time [at
practice], the wind was in my face, my eyes were blurry, and it reminded me of how it
used to be. It was neat.
"You just enjoy it. I tried to enjoy [practice] as much as I could and soak it all in. It's a
great stage. I'm just going to try and play well."
Mike Rupp is the only Ranger in the lineup with previous experience in the Winter
Classic, having played for the Penguins in last year's 3-1 defeat to the Capitals in
Pittsburgh.
"You don't know what to expect from the weather, so you try to be simple," said Rupp,
who fought John Erskine in a match that was played under the lights and through
intermittent rain. "If you get down a goal, there's not going to be much tape-to-tape play.
"If you try and play pretty, it will be early. You have to play simple. The lead is a good
place to be."
The big outdoor stage will be a good place for the Rangers. Tortorella called it an "honor"
for the organization.
It is even more than that to Artem Anisimov.
"It is a dream," said No. 42. "The Rangers in the Winter Classic? I dreamed of playing in
this game. I can't believe it."

7. New York Post – Weather pushes back start of Winter Classic to 3 p.m.

Staff Reports

PHILADELPHIA - The NHL has pushed back the start-time of Monday's Winter Classic
matchup between the Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers to 3 p.m. ET due to weather
conditions.
The game, held this year at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, was originally slated to
start at 1 p.m. ET.
"The revised start time decision was based on tomorrow's weather forecast and should
offer optimal game conditions for players and fans," the NHL said on its website Sunday.
The Rangers come into the marquee event with the best record in the Eastern Conference
at 23-9-4, while the Flyers are in fourth place in the East with a 22-10-4 record.

8. New York Post – Rangers 2011 in Review

Larry Brooks

Death Be Not Proud
On May 13, two days after having been released from treatment in Los Angeles by the
NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, Derek Boogaard was
found dead at the age of 28 in his apartment in Minneapolis. It was the finding of the
Hennepin County Medical Examiner that Boogaard had died from an accidental overdose
of the painkiller oxycodone and alcohol. Boogaard played only 22 games for the Rangers
after signing a four-year, $6.5 million free agent contact on July 1, 2010, his season
coming to an end when he sustained a concussion in a fight with the Senators' Matt
Carkner in Ottawa on Dec. 9, 2010. A posthumous examination found that Boogaard had
been suffering from the degenerative brain disease CTE (Chronic traumatic
encephalopathy), a condition associated with multiple concussions.
Final Day Glory
A year after being eliminated from playoff contention on the final day of the regular
season with a shootout loss in Philadelphia, the Rangers entered the final day of 2010-11
needing an afternoon victory at home over the Devils followed by a Carolina defeat at
home to Tampa Bay that night to qualify for the playoffs. After taking care of their own
business with a 5-2 victory sparked by captain Chris Drury's only goal of the season (and
final goal of his NHL career), a large number of players dined and celebrated together at
a Manhattan restaurant while watching the Hurricanes lose 6-2 to the Lighting.
Can You Hear Us, Did You See That?
After Capitals' coach Bruce Boudreau defamed Madison Square Garden as just another
old arena, and not a particularly loud one at that, Rangers' fans bellowed "Can You Hear
Us?" in a rousing, ear-splitting series of chants in Game 4 of the first round as the
Blueshirts built a second-period, 3-0 lead. The building became much quieter, though,
when Washington rallied to tie 3-3 in the third period and then fell silent when Jason
Chimera scored at 12:36 of the second overtime for a 4-3 victory and a 3-1 lead in the
series. The Rangers were eliminated in Game 5 in DC.
The European Trek and the Broadway Hat
After spending two weeks in Europe that included four exhibition games in four countries
(Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovakia, Switzerland) within five days that preceded the
opening two regular-season games in Stockholm, the Rangers returned to North America
carrying an old battered black fedora that Brad Richards had found somewhere along the
way. The club dubbed it "The Broadway Hat" and would pass it around to the player of
the game following each victory. The hat had been passed around often, most often to
Henrik Lundqvist, in the Rangers' 22-8-4 start that had the Blueshirts in the first place in
the East as of Dec. 27.
Page Six Brad
Though other teams made higher bids, no other team offered as much up front ($28
million within 12 months) and no other team offered John Tortorella as coach to the
much-sought-after Brad Richards, the Dallas free agent center who had spent the first
eight years playing for Tortorella in Tampa, where the pair had won the 2004 Stanley
Cup, Richards signed a nine-year, $60 million contract on July 2 and has replaced Sean
Avery as the Rangers' Page Six regular, seen about town as he has been with actress
Olivia Munn.

9. Bergen County Record – Winter Classic: No Staal for today's game

Andrew Gross

No Staal, Wolski
Neither Wojtek Wolski (sports hernia) nor defenseman Marc Staal (post-concussion) will
be returning to the lineup for today's Winter Classic as coach John Tortorella announced
the lineup will remain the same.
Staal, who has yet to play this season, continues to participate in contact drills without
subsequent headaches and appears to be close to regaining game conditioning.
"I told my trainer [Jim Ramsey], 'I need a yes or a no,' " Tortorella said. "When I get a
yes, he'll play. Just because we skated outdoors doesn't change anything that's gone on
the past couple of weeks. He must feel maybe brighter because of the fresh air."
Ryan McDonagh left Sunday's practice at Citizens Bank Park after 10 minutes because of
flu-like symptoms but Tortorella said the defenseman was "fine."
See ya
Today marks the last day HBO's "24/7" cameras will be around both the Rangers and
Flyers, with the fourth and final episode debuting Thursday at 10 p.m.
"They are great guys," Tortorella said. "I'm really surprised how they do blend in. But we
have one more day and then they can leave."
Bob to start
Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov said backup Sergei Bobrovsky would start today's Winter
Classic, though coach Peter Laviolette would not confirm his goalie decision.
"He's been playing well for us," Flyers center Claude Giroux said of Bobrovsky, who is
8-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average. "Obviously, Bob deserves it."
Henrik Lundqvist, who has beaten the Flyers twice this season, will start for the Rangers.
Weather report
According to the forecast on weather.com, today is expected to be a windy, cooler day in
Philadelphia with a high temperature of 41 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain.
Winds will gust from the west-southwest at 20-30 mph.

10. Bergen County Record – Rangers ready for hostile Philly crowd at the Winter
Classic

Andrew Gross

PHILADELPHIA - The Rangers, wearing their Winter Classic jerseys and toques,
stepped from the third-base dugout at Citizens Bank Park and made their way to the
outdoor rink for a team photo and practice Sunday.
The stadium workers, still cleaning up from Saturday's Rangers-Flyers alumni game,
started booing. Loudly.
Welcome to Philadelphia.
"You know you're in enemy territory," Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said. "That adds to
it."
Finally the longtime rivals will play their outdoor game today, after four months of hype
and a month of HBO cameras following both teams for "24/7." It was announced Sunday
that today's faceoff will be pushed back two hours to 3 p.m. due to weather
considerations.
"We want to beat them every time we play them," said left wing Brandon Dubinsky as
the Rangers have won the first two matchups this season, both at Madison Square
Garden. "It's an intense game and it will be no different [today]. It's going to be physical.
In my opinion, it will be everything it's been built up to be."
"It's been a good build-up," goalie Henrik Lundqvist added. "The last two games have
been two battles and the atmosphere has been great and I expect the same [today]. There
will be a lot to take in. At the same time, you have to be focused on your job."
This marks the NHL's fifth Winter Classic and the Flyers have been involved in two out
of the last three years, losing to the Bruins, 2-1, in overtime at Boston's Fenway Park in
2010.
"The event itself is phenomenal for hockey," Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think
the way HBO has come in and given - whether you're a hockey fan or not - an inside look
at how professional teams run, I think it's been tremendous for the sport."
Both teams practiced at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, followed by family skates.
Both teams deemed the ice surface sufficient, even if the Rangers' practice had to be
stopped twice to fix a divot behind a blue line. Rangers left wing Artem Anisimov said
the end boards were a little dead, meaning the pucks do not bounce off of them.
Since Friday, the main weather issue has been unseasonably warm temperatures and too
much sun, making it inadvisable to skate around 1 p.m., when the game was scheduled to
begin.
But temperatures are expected to drop today and the main issue may now be the wind,
which is expected to gust up to 20-30 mph.
"We're definitely going to feel it," Callahan said. "But everybody's skating in the same
direction so it's not going to give anybody an advantage. It's just one of the things we'll
have to deal with."
And, as the Rangers have proven this season as they've risen to the top of the Eastern
Conference standings, they can handle distractions. Be it a trip to Europe followed by a
trip to Western Canada as renovations to the Garden were being completed or be it the
HBO series and the hype surrounding the Winter Classic.
"We're excited it's finally here, we've been waiting since the summer," center Brad
Richards said. "We've been trying to play all the other games without looking ahead. It's
definitely going to feel different out there. But you'll settle in once the puck drops. Once
you get the feel of the people here, it will be a different feel and you'll look around a little
bit. But you don't want to get clocked.
"It's a big game no matter where it's being played," Richards added. "It's perfect that it's
in Philadelphia and outdoors."

11. Newsday – Rangers ready for Classic confrontation
Staff Reports

PHILADELPHIA -- With so many moving parts -- the weather, the lighting, the unsettled
ice, rivals separated by two points in the standings and the experience of competing in
front of a crowd of 45,000-plus -- players were hard-pressed to predict the outcome of
Monday's NHL Winter Classic between the Rangers and Flyers.
In fact, the local forecast already has triggered a pushback in the time the puck will drop
at Citizens Bank Park Monday -- 3 p.m. rather than 1 p.m. -- in an effort to make the
conditions more favorable.
But Rangers center Brad Richards is sure of one thing: "It's a big game no matter where
it's being played."
The Rangers have won both games against the Flyers at Madison Square Garden this
season, two physical, nasty affairs, but skating in the great wide open provides a different
challenge. "You'll settle in, I'm sure," Richards said after a 90-minute outdoor practice
Sunday. "Today we were looking around, and once it gets full of people, it'll be different.
Tomorrow, you might be kind of looking around early, but you don't want to get
clocked."
Forward Mike Rupp, who played for the Penguins in last year's Winter Classic, had this
advice: "It's important for us to go out and get a lead early. When you get down a goal,
there's not much tape-to-tape passing going on, so you really have to come out of the
gates. If you're going to try a pretty play, it's going to happen early in the game; when the
ice gets chewed up, you've got to play simple hockey."
For the Rangers, who have charged to a 23-9-4 record on the strength of overall defense,
clutch scoring and superb goaltending from Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron, "simple''
is the watchword of a group that has survived distractions this season.
"It started with the Europe trip and HBO [with camera crews chronicling the team's
moves for weeks] and talking about this game," said Lundqvist, who has never played
outdoors and will start in net against the Flyers' Sergei Bobrovsky. "But it's still going to
be different for me. It's going to be a lot to take in. There's going to be a lot of
distractions out there, a lot of things are going to pop up in your head. You want to enjoy
the experience, but you have to find a balance."
Lundqvist noticed one element in the rink built between first and third base that could
work to his advantage. "It's brighter around the glass, so it should be easier to see the
puck," he said. "Usually, you have stands right behind the glass and it's darker, so the
puck can disappear at times."
Ryan Callahan, one of the Rangers who wore eye black, said the sun glare and wind gusts
were surprising.
Nonetheless, coach John Tortorella expected that his lineup -- the same as in Friday's 4-1
victory in Florida -- "won't have any problem with their focus. We'll be ready to play and
I trust they will be able to handle the momentum swings and the hype. I just can't get over
how much hype is involved in this one game. I think it's great for the league, but as a
coach, I'm thinking about one thing: It's a divisional opponent, it's two points and we
want to win."

NHL Articles

1. NHL.com- Conklin has the tricks of outdoor goalie trade

Ken Baker

Ty Conklin has played goal in 206 NHL games, not a huge number. But, when it comes
to outdoor experience, nobody is more experienced.

Now the backup to Jimmy Howard in Detroit, Conklin is best known for the two Winter
Classics in which he played -- and won. In the first Winter Classic, in 2008, he led
Pittsburgh to a shootout victory against Buffalo. The next year, he was the winning goalie
in a 6-4 decision again Chicago. Those games came after he was the starting goalie for
Edmonton in the 2003 Heritage Classic, the League's first regular-season outdoor game.

"It is a fun day, so you have to try to go out and enjoy it. There's no point in getting all
wound up and worrying about it. The whole point of the game is to have fun." -- Three-
time outdoor game veteran Ty Conklin on playing outside
So I couldn't think of anyone better to track down on the eve of the fifth-annual outdoor
showcase to lend insight into what this year's Classic may look like from the crease.

The key to the game, which has played in a variety of conditions -- win, snow, rain,
brutal cold and bright sunlight -- is to forget everything and "just go out and have fun."

"It is a fun day, so you have to try to go out and enjoy it," the 35-year-old Conklin says.
"There's no point in getting all wound up and worrying about it. The whole point of the
game is to have fun."

Conklin confesses, however, that playing outside does pose unique challenges.

First off, Conklin says brighter is not better.
"My two games were pretty cloudy, so it wasn't an issue, but at Wrigley we practiced on
a nice and sunny day, and it was pretty hard to pick up the puck where the bright spots
where sun was shining on the ice. Luckily, my games were both semi-overcast."


And luckily for the goalies in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, cloudy skies are
in the Philly forecast for Jan. 2.

Conklin also says that the 40-degree weather expected this year is a godsend.

In the 2003 Heritage game in Edmonton, the minus-22 degrees (Fahrenheit) with a wind
chill was "really cold."

Conklin remembers changing into gloves that were being heated on the bench during
commercial breaks.

"I usually sweat a lot, but that day I didn't sweat at all and was dry. I don't like being dry
in my gear and that affected me."

Of his three NHL outdoor appearances, Conklin says the infamous "Ice Bowl" game in
Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, memorable for its snow flurries and temperatures
hovering around 30 degrees, was the most ideal weather-wise.
"The guys had to battle with the snow coming down, which works in my favor. The
worse the ice, the better it is for goalies. That's a given." -- Conklin recalls the first-ever
NHL Winter Classic in Buffalo
"The temperature was perfect, so the ice wasn't too soft or too brittle. That was an issue in
Edmonton. It was so cold the ice was breaking off in big chunks."

Conklin, who out-dueled Ryan Miller in a shootout that day in Buffalo, credits "a thin
layer of snow" on the ice for slowing down things enough to give him an advantage on
shooters.

"The guys had to battle with the snow coming down, which works in my favor," he said.
"The worse the ice, the better it is for goalies. That's a given."

Although Conklin feels "lucky" to have his place in NHL outdoor history, that doesn't
necessarily mean that the veteran netminder, whose Red Wings have Jan. 2 off, will be
glued to the television like the rest of us.

"I don't know if I will be watching," he admits with a chuckle. "If the wife and kids let
me, I might. I don't make the rules on the days off."

2. NHL.com- Blues' Cole suspended three games

NHL.com Staff
St. Louis Blues defenseman Ian Cole was suspended Sunday night, without pay, for three
games for delivering an illegal check to the head of Detroit Red Wings forward Justin
Abdelkader at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and based on his average
annual salary, Cole will forfeit $21,081.09. The money goes to the Players' Emergency
Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred at 9:11 of the first period. A minor penalty for illegal check to the
head was assessed on the play. The Red Wings beat the Blues, 3-0.

Cole will miss games on Jan. 3 (Phoenix), Jan. 5 (Edmonton) and Jan.7 (Colorado). He
will be eligible to return Jan. 10 at Montreal.

3. NHL.com- Malkin, Stamkos, Sedin grab monthly honors
NHL.com Staff

NEW YORK -- Centers Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steven Stamkos of
the Tampa Bay Lightning and Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks have been named
the NHL 'Three Stars' for the month of December.

FIRST STAR -- EVGENI MALKIN, C, PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

EVGENI MALKIN
CENTER - PIT
GOALS: 15 | ASST: 28 | PTS: 43
SOG: 149 | +/-: 5
Malkin tallied 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 13 games as the Penguins (21-13-4)
finished the month fifth in the Eastern Conference and just four points off the Conference
lead. Malkin recorded 19 points during a nine-game point streak from Dec. 8-29, tying
Anaheim's Teemu Selanne and Chicago's Patrick Sharp for the longest such streak in the
League this season. He tallied five points, including the seventh hat trick of his NHL
career, in an 8-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres Dec. 17. It marked Malkin's fourth five-
point game in his six NHL seasons. He followed up by assisting on all three Penguins
goals in a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Dec. 20. His eight points were a
career high for any two-game span. The 25-year-old Magnitogorsk, Russia native
increased his season points total to 43 (15 goals, 28 assists) in 31 games and climbed to
sixth place in the NHL scoring race.

SECOND STAR -- STEVEN STAMKOS, C, TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING

STEVEN STAMKOS
CENTER - TBL
GOALS: 26 | ASST: 17 | PTS: 43
SOG: 128 | +/-: 12
Stamkos surged to the NHL goal-scoring lead by notching 10 goals along with seven
assists in 13 games as the Lightning (17-17-3) ended the month within six points of the
eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Stamkos notched four game-winning goals
in a seven-game stretch from Dec. 15-31, beginning with an overtime strike in a 5-4 win
over the Calgary Flames. He also scored the game-deciding goals at Columbus (3-2, Dec.
17), vs. Philadelphia (5-1, Dec. 27) and vs. Carolina (5-2, Dec. 31), the latter capping his
fifth career NHL hat trick. The first overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft enters the
New Year with a League-leading 26 goals, four more than second-place Marian Gaborik
of the New York Rangers. Stamkos is the only NHL player to have scored at least 40
goals in each of the past three calendar years.

THIRD STAR -- HENRIK SEDIN, C, VANCOUVER CANUCKS

HENRIK SEDIN
CENTER - VAN
GOALS: 10 | ASST: 36 | PTS: 46
SOG: 59 | +/-: 15
Sedin led all NHL scorers in December with 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 15 games
and vaulted to first place in the NHL scoring race, spurring the Canucks (24-13-2) to top
spot in the Northwest Division. Sedin tallied points in 13 of 15 games, highlighted by six
multiple-point performances and one game-winning goal. Henrik assisted on each of
brother Daniel's three goals in a 6-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Dec. 6 and
tallied one-goal, two-assist performances in wins over the Minnesota Wild (4-0, Dec. 19)
and Anaheim Ducks (5-2, Dec. 29). Henrik, the 2009-10 NHL scoring champion, enters
2012 with the League points lead (10-36--46) in a bid for his second Art Ross Trophy in
three seasons.

4. NHL.com- Ovi enters the new year on a roll

John Kreiser

After the lowest-scoring year of his career, Alex Ovechkin is entering 2012 on an
upswing.

Ovi had just 32 goals in 2010-11 and entered the final week of the outgoing year with
only 12 goals. But maybe the two-day Christmas break was just what he needed, because
he looked like the Ovechkin of old in Washington's four games last week.

ALEX OVECHKIN
LEFT WING - WSH
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 31
SOG: 143 | +/-: -4
Ovechkin had a goal in Monday's 4-2 loss at Buffalo on Monday, then set up two goals
by Alexander Semin in Wednesday's 4-1 win against the New York Rangers. That was
just a warm-up for his weekend, when he scored twice on Friday against Buffalo and two
more times during Washington's four-goal third-period rally at Columbus.
Instead of the 11 goals he had at Christmas, Ovechkin now has 16 -- and a six-game
points streak during which he's gone 6-3-9.

Five up -- Five players who hit the new year playing well:

Steven Stamkos -- Tampa Bay's top gun was scoreless in his last two games before the
Christmas break, but the time off must have done him some good. Stamkos had six goals
in the Lightning's three games last week, including a hat trick in Saturday's 5-2 win
against Carolina. He has taken over the lead in goals with 26.

Henrik Sedin -- Look who's on top of the scoring race at the turn of the year -- it's none
other than the 2009-10 Art Ross Trophy winner, who has quietly been piling up points.
The assist-oriented twin had a goal and five helpers last week as Vancouver went 3-1-0
and enters the new year with a League-high 46 points.

Henrik Lundqvist -- As good as Lundqvist has been since entering the NHL in 2005, he's
taking his game to a new level with the improved New York Rangers. Lundqvist allowed
just one goal in winning his first two post-Christmas starts and enters Monday's
Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic with a 1.91 goals-against average, a .937 save
percentage and a 16-7-4 record that includes wins in his last four starts.

Jonathan Quick -- Darryl Sutter's arrival as coach in Los Angeles has perked up the
Kings, but his 4-0-2 record is largely due to the play of his goaltender. Quick went 3-0-0
last week while allowing just four goals and is 5-0-1 in his last six starts.

Jimmy Howard -- The NHL's winningest goaltender this season just keeps rolling alone.
Howard played all four of Detroit's games last week, won three of them and allowed just
six goals, capping a hectic six days with a 31-save shutout on Saturday. The win was his
23rd -- no one else has more than 19.

Five down — Five players who are hoping for better things to come in 2012:

Matt Cooke -- Cooke showed at the start of the season that he can be an offensive force
as well as a physical one for the Pittsburgh Penguins. But his point production has dried
up in the past couple of weeks. He's gone eight games without a point and is minus-6 in
that span.

Craig Smith -- Smith has gone from an early-season sensation to a player stuck in a goal-
scoring slump. After scoring seven times in Nashville's first 15 games, Smith went the
last 23 games of 2011 without a goal.

Ales Hemsky -- Not much is going right for the veteran forward, who hasn't had a point
in his last eight games -- including two this week after missing a pair of contests with a
sinus infection.
RYAN GETZLAF
CENTER - ANA
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 19 | PTS: 25
SOG: 80 | +/-: -18
Ryan Getzlaf -- Anaheim is one of this season's biggest disappointments, and the lack of
production from Getzlaf is a big reason. He's gone without a point in five games, during
which he's minus-6, and has just six goals and 25 points in 37 games this season.

Mark Streit -- It's been a tough year for Streit, who missed all of last season with a
shoulder injury and has struggled as the leader of an undermanned defense on Long
Island. But the Isles need more from him -- he's gone five games without a point and is
minus-6 in that span, and is minus-16 for the season with just two goals.

Injuries, news and notes:

Out -- Nashville captain Shea Weber went on IR last week after suffering a concussion
on Dec. 23. The Predators hope he could be back late this week. … Tampa Bay
defenseman Victor Hedman is out indefinitely with what the Lightning say is a
concussion sustained on Dec. 27. … Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski isn't likely
to return until at least mid-February after breaking the inside bone of his left ankle on
Thursday. … Colorado will be without center Matt Duchene for at least four weeks after
the third-year center injured his right knee while trying to make a hit in Thursday's game.
… Pittsburgh lost forwards Arron Asham (lower body) and Pascal Dupuis (upper body)
with injuries in Saturday's game at New Jersey. … Toronto put center Tyler Bozak on IR
after he injured his shoulder last week. … Minnesota placed forward Jarod Palmer on IR
with an upper-body injury. … Buffalo says defenseman Christian Ehrhoff will miss
"weeks" after suffering an upper-body injury on Friday. Forward Andrej Sekera hasn't
played since leaving Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury. … Los Angeles
forward Simon Gagne has been out since sustaining a concussion on Monday; the Kings
placed him on IR. … Detroit is missing forwards Darren Helm and Tomas Holmstrom
due to groin injuries. … Calgary defenseman Derek Smith left Thursday's game with a
lower-body injury after blocking a shot and didn't play Friday. Center Alex Tanguay
went on IR with an upper-body injury. … Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar sat out
Saturday's game after being hit in the head by a puck during warmups. … Nashville's
Colin Wilson sat out Friday with an upper-body injury. … Islanders center Micheal
Haley hasn't played since injuring his hand Monday night. … Florida will be without
starting goaltender Jose Theodore will be out indefinitely with a lower-body injury after
being run over accidentally by a teammate on Saturday.

Returning -- Colorado activated forward David Jones (groin) from injured reserve. …
Devils defenseman Henrik Tallinder played Saturday; he missed six games with a back
injury. … Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen returned Thursday after missing more than a
month with a groin injury. … St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka returned Friday after
missing nearly three weeks with an ankle injury. … Islanders forward Brian Rolston had
a goal Thursday in his return after missing two weeks with a concussion. Defenseman
Steve Staios was back in the lineup Saturday after a concussion sidelined him for eight
games. … Calgary defenseman Anton Babchuk returned Friday after missing eight games
with a broken hand. … Wild forward Chuck Kobasew (concussion) returned Thursday.
… Buffalo center Nathan Gerbe was back in the lineup Saturday after missing 10 games
with a concussion.

Still out -- Washington freed up a roster spot by placing defenseman Mike Green on IR.
He's still sidelined by a groin problem. … Florida forward Marcel Goc is skating again as
he works to return from a concussion. … Columbus defenseman Radek Martinek is in his
third month of being sidelined with a concussion. … Blues center Andy McDonald is
skating at practice wearing a no-contact jersey, but he's nowhere near ready to return
from a concussion. … Anaheim's Jason Blake could return from a serious wrist injury
this week; he's been out since being cut by the skate of San Jose's Brent Burns on Oct. 14.
… Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers, who broke his wrist on Nov. 19 and was expected
back in about six weeks, is not ready to return. He's slated to see a doctor on Monday.

The week ahead -- The start of the new year brings one of the signature events of the
regular season -- the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC). This
year's edition should have a little extra animosity, as the Philadelphia Flyers host the New
York Rangers in a battle of the two top teams in the Atlantic Division.

Other games to watch:

San Jose at Vancouver (Jan. 2; Versus) -- The two Western Conference finalists meet for
the second time in less than a week; the Canucks beat the Sharks in OT at San Jose last
Wednesday.

Chicago at Philadelphia (Jan. 5) -- The Blackhawks come to the Wells Fargo Center for
the first time since June 9, 2010 -- when Patrick Kane's OT goal in Game 6 of the Final
gave Chicago its first Stanley Cup since 1961.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh (Jan. 6; NHL Network U.S./Canada) -- Four days after
playing one of their Pennsylvania rivals, the Rangers head to Consol Energy Center to
play the other one.

Vancouver at Boston (Jan. 7; NHL Network-U.S.) -- Last spring's Stanley Cup finalists
get together for the first time since the Bruins won Game 7 on June 15; the afternoon
game at TD Garden is their only meeting of the season.

Minnesota at Calgary (Jan. 7; CBC) -- The Flames are back at Scotiabank Saddledome
for the first time since before Christmas after a seven-game trip necessitated by the World
Junior Championship.

Tough week ahead:
Columbus Blue Jackets -- A team with all of one regulation road win in 2011 could have
picked a better way to start the new year than playing three games in four nights in
California.

Edmonton Oilers -- It's week 2 on the road for both Alberta teams, who've had to hit the
road while the World Junior Championship takes over their buildings. But the Oilers have
the tougher week, with the last four of their seven-game trip.

New York Islanders -- The Islanders start the new year with a game at Carolina on
Tuesday, then head west for back-to-backs at Anaheim and Phoenix.

Easy week ahead:

Montreal Canadiens -- Fresh from their holiday week trip through Florida, the Canadiens
are back home with only two games on the schedule, with Winnipeg and Tampa Bay
coming to the Bell Centre.

Nashville Predators -- The Predators, who welcomed Calgary in the only game played on
Jan. 1, stay at Bridgestone Arena to host Dallas and Carolina this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins -- The Pens have plenty of time to get themselves together for the
2012 portion of their schedule. They are off until Friday, when the Rangers come to town
after hosting Florida on Thursday, and stay at home to host New Jersey on Saturday.

5. NHL.com- Report: NHL investigating Barch-Subban incident

NHL.com Staff

Panthers forward Krys Barch was ejected from Saturday's Montreal-Florida game after
the first period. NHL Senior Executive Vice President Colin Campbell is investigating
the details of the penalty.

The Miami Herald, citing an unidentified League official, said linesman Darren Gibbs
heard Barch's verbal exchange with Subban at the end of the first period. The paper
reported that Gibbs evaluated Barch's comments as a racial slur and ejected Barch based
on NHL Rule 23.7.

Barch exited the Panthers' locker room without speaking to the media, but Florida coach
Kevin Dineen talked to reporters.

"Well, my take is we have an incredibly broken-up player in there who feels extremely
bad that there was an insinuation that something inappropriate was said and now it's
moved on to a league matter," Dineen said. "And obviously the Florida Panthers, Krys
Barch and all of us are really shaken up by this, that there was an insinuation that
something was said that was inappropriate.
"Again I'll leave it with the league right now, but I think this is always a very sensitive
area for anybody and we'll let the facts play out and make sure that things are handled
accordingly and move forward from there."

Subban talked about it post-game too.

"Personally, I didn't hear anything. I don't even know what happened, really," Subban
said. "A couple of guys on the ice told me that something was said. I don't know what
was said. I didn't hear it. As far as I'm concerned it's really out of my hands, so I don't
really know too much about it."

6. TSN.ca- MALKIN, STAMKOS, H. SEDIN NAMED TOP STARS OF December

Canadian Press

NEW YORK -- Pittsburgh Penguins centre Evgeni Malkin has earned the NHL's first star
of the month honours for December after recording 20 points last month.

Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning was named the second star, with third star
honours going to Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks.

Malkin had six goals and 14 assists in 13 games as the Penguins (21-13-4) finished the
month fifth in the Eastern Conference and just four points off the conference lead.

Malkin recorded 19 points during a nine-game point streak, tying Anaheim's Teemu
Selanne and Chicago's Patrick Sharp for the longest streak this season.
The 25-year-old increased his season points total to 43 (15 goals, 28 assists) in 31 games
and climbed to sixth in the NHL scoring race.

Stamkos surged to the NHL goal-scoring lead by scoring 10 goals while adding seven
assists in 13 games.

The centre helped the Lightning (17-17-3) end the month within six points of the eighth
playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Stamkos heads into 2012 with a league-leading 26 goals, four more than second-place
Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers.

Sedin led all scorers in December with 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 15 games. The
Canucks centre vaulted to first place in the NHL scoring race, spurring the Canucks (24-
13-2) to top spot in the Northwest Division.

Sedin had points in 13 of 15 games, highlighted by six multiple-point performances.
He begins 2012 with the points lead (10-36-46) in a bid for his second Art Ross Trophy
in three seasons.
7. TSN.ca- BEYAK: 2011 WAS A YEAR TO REMEMBER FOR JETS FANS

Dennis Beyak

As the calendar turns to 2012, Winnipeg and all Jets fans wherever they are, and there are
plenty, will always remember 2011. The year the Jets returned to the NHL will always
have a special place in the memory bank.

The Jets closed out 2011 with a 3-2 home win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
The Leafs had a 1-0 lead after one, the Jets scored all three of their goals in the second
and then held off a determined Leafs team in the third. Zach Bogosian tied the game and
Andrew Ladd scored 2:35 later to give the Jets the lead. Phil Kessel scored his 21st of the
year to tie it, before Blake Wheeler scored the winner. After no shots in Carolina on
Thursday, the Jets limited Kessel to just one shot.

So here are some numbers to digest.

- Jets were 10-3-1 in December, 9-3-1 at the MTS centre and 1-1 on the road in a stretch
that had them play 13 of 15 at home. It started with a home loss to Ottawa November
29th

- Jets sit in 7th spot and to show the importance of the game against Toronto, the Leafs
find themselves in 10th spot, despite the teams being tied in the standings going into the
game

- Jets scored two power play goals in the game with the third coming just seconds after a
Toronto penalty expired. It was the seventh time this season the Jets have scored two
power play goals in a game, and the 12th time the Leafs have given up at least two in a
game. The penalty kill continues to be an area of concern for the Leafs.

- Jets play 14 of their next 19 on the road, starting in Montreal Wednesday (TSN
National, TSN 1290). They are 5-8-4 but that record can be questioned because they
played so many road games at the start of the season. They are a much different team
now than they were in October. "We are more stable, more consistent, defend better and
play better as a group," was Coach Claude Noel's comment on the topic.

- Blake Wheeler extended his point streak to five games with a goal and an assist. The
6'5, 205lb, 25-year-old winger has points in 16 of his last 20 games (6-16-22).

- Jets again played without Jim Slater, Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little. Randy Jones
came off IR but did not dress while Derek Meech is back skating after going on IR in
mid-October. No timeframe yet on his return, same for Little and Byfuglien. Slater
should be ready for the road trip. With Slater and Little out, face-offs were again a
concern going into the Toronto game, but when the game ended the Jets had won 63% of
the draws. Patrice Cormier, up from St. John's, was a perfect 4/4 in the LA game and a
perfect 8/8 in the Toronto game. Alexander Burmistrov was 64%, Tim Stapleton 75%,
and Nik Antropov was 50% which was very good considering he was up against David
Steckel all game. Steckel is one of the top face-off men in the league.

- Starting with the Toronto game, the Jets now play 20 of 21 against Eastern Conference
opponents

Plenty of Leaf jersey's in the crowd at the MTS Centre, as there were when Montreal
came to town.

On the game, Coach Noel "felt we got a little unnerved in the third. They came hard at us.
We didn't seem to be emotionally into it in the first but Bogosian's goal got that going for
us in the second."
On his team, Coach has this to say. "The players have settled into their roles, our team
play has been great and there's lots of good things about our team right now. It was good
to get a couple of power play goals."

If you are a Jets player, coach, or fan, plenty of reasons to smile. At least until
Wednesday when a four-game road trip starts, looking for a win that would give them
their second four-game winning streak of the season.

8. TSN.ca- BARCH EJECTED AFTER ALLEGED RACIAL SLUR IN WIN OVER
HABS; ESPN.com- Report: Krys Barch uses racial slur

AP

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Panthers forward Krys Barch was ejected after reportedly directing a
racial slur at a Montreal player Saturday night, and Florida coach Kevin Dineen said it
was now a matter for the NHL to investigate.

Barch was given a game misconduct after a dustup at the end of the first period in
Florida's 3-2 win. The Miami Herald, citing an unidentified league official, said linesman
Darren Gibbs overheard Barch use the slur against P.K. Subban, whose parents are
Jamaican.

Barch left the dressing room before media members were allowed in for post-game
interviews, The on-ice officials were not made available for comment.
NHL executive vice-president Colin Campbell is investigating the incident but no
decision is expected on Sunday.

"Personally, I didn't hear anything. I don't even know what happened, really," Subban
said. "A couple of guys on the ice told me that something was said. I don't know what
was said. I didn't hear it. As far as I'm concerned it's really out of my hands, so I don't
really know too much about it."

Dineen was careful with his comments.
"Well, my take is we have an incredibly broken-up player in there who feels extremely
bad that there was an insinuation that something inappropriate was said and now it's
moved on to a league matter," Dineen said. "And obviously the Florida Panthers, Krys
Barch and all of us are really shaken up by this, that there was an insinuation that
something was said that was inappropriate."

"Again I'll leave it with the league right now, but I think this is always a very sensitive
area for anybody and we'll let the facts play out and make sure that things are handled
accordingly and move forward from there," he said.

Barch is not expected to respond to the allegations until the league's investigation has
concluded.

Canadiens head coach Randy Cunneyworth had few details to offer.

"I know it was some sort of a game misconduct," he said. "I'm not sure what was said or
how it was relayed or who exactly heard it. We're not aware of the exact words in any
way and we don't think we'll ever find out."

"The bottom line is there is no room for that. Those things have to be (addressed
immediately) and the referees are on the ball about those kinds of incidents," he said.
Shawn Matthias of the Panthers defended his teammate.

"You never want to see that and I know Barchy and I don't think that he's the type of guy
that would do something of that nature," said Matthias, whose seventh goal of the season
3:08 into the third period broke a one-all tie.

Added teammate Kris Versteeg: "I don't think we can comment on it because it's
obviously a touchy subject, but Krys is a good guy and he means no harm."

Tomas Fleischmann scored two goals, including an empty-netter with 40.2 seconds
remaining that ended up being the game-winner.

Panthers goaltender Scott Clemmensen bounced back from his worst outing of the season
the night before against the New York Rangers by stopping 17 of Montreal's last 18
shots. He replaced Jose Theodore 4:16 into the second period after Theodore left with a
lower body injury.

The Canadiens struck first at the 5:37 mark of the first period when Travis Moen blasted
a slapshot from the left circle 47 feet out past Theodore.

Fleischmann tied the game with a power-play goal 3:46 into the second period off assists
from Stephen Weiss and Brian Campbell, and Matthias broke the tie 3:08 into the third
with his seventh goal of the season.
After Fleischmann's empty-netter appeared to seal the victory, Montreal's Erik Cole made
it a one-goal game at the 19:30.

Clemmensen turned away another Moen shot with 14 seconds left and then got help when
Mike Weaver and Weiss blocked shots in the closing seconds.

Montreal lost its second straight game, both in the Sunshine State, and goaltender Carey
Price dropped to 13-14-7 on the season with the loss as he surrendered three goals on 35
shots.

Florida maintained its four-point lead over the Winnipeg Jets, 3-2 winners over Toronto,
in the Southeast Division and stayed five points ahead of the Washington Capitals.

Notes: With his assist on Fleischmann's tying goal in the second period, Weiss matched
Olli Jokinen for the most assists in Panthers' history with 231. ... Fleischmann has scored
three goals in two meetings with the Canadiens this season. ... Florida finished the month
of December 5-2-1 on home ice. ... The Canadiens continue to struggle on the road as
they fell to 9-11-1 away from home and are 0-2 against the Panthers this season.

9. ESPN.com- Josh Gorges gets 6-year extension

ESPN.com Staff

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens have signed defenseman Josh Gorges to a six-
year contract extension.

A source tells ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun the deal has a $3.9 million average salary,
making it worth $23.4 million total.

The Canadiens announced the deal with their assistant captain on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Gorges is in his sixth year with Montreal. He leads the team with a plus-
6 rating and 101 blocked shots over 39 games. He also has one goal and nine assists.

10. ESPN.com- James Wisniewski to miss 6 weeks

AP

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski will miss
six weeks after taking a puck to the inside of his left ankle while blocking a shot in
Thursday's 4-1 win at Dallas.

He will not require surgery, but won't be able to even walk on that leg for at least two
weeks before getting a walking boot.
Wisniewski signed a six year, $33 million contract on July 1 and has two goals and 15
assists in 29 games. He was suspended for the first eight games of the season for a hit on
Minnesota's Cal Clutterbuck. He has averaged 24:55 of ice time per game, 13th in the
NHL.

The Blue Jackets on Saturday recalled defenseman David Savard from their AHL affiliate
in Springfield, Mass., to help fill in for Wisniewski.



                                     -FLYERS-

				
DOCUMENT INFO
Shared By:
Categories:
Tags:
Stats:
views:12
posted:2/1/2012
language:
pages:87