It’s funny, in past years I never really cared if I watched the Winter Classic or not. I never really had a vested interest in it. But this year, the Rangers were playing. So I sat myself on my couch, surrounded myself with my laptop, tablet, iPhone and trusty mug o’coffee, snuggled into my Rangers sweatshirt and watched the game.
From the beginning with all of the pre-game hoopla I was hooked. NBC and NHL Network did a good job with all of the pre-game stuff, making you feel almost like you were there. Granted, there’s nothing like actually experiencing it in person, it was almost like being there, but warmer. As the puck drop got closer and closer, I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t sit still.
Then it was time. As the national anthems were being sung, albeit horridly done, I got goosebumps. Then the puck drop… As the game started I watched intently. But there were times I found my focus drifting off from the game and looking out into the crowd. You saw a mix of blue and orange in the stands. Then I’d focus back to the action. There were momentum shifts galore, and the saves by Lundqvist and Bobrovsky were stellar. Seeing Marc Staal back on the ice made me cringe and smile at the same time. Watching Rupp score not once, but twice was pretty snazzy too.
There is a certain grittiness that comes with the Rangers/Flyers rivalry, one that showed itself in this game. While there were no center ice brawls or all out fisticuffs, there were hard hits, epic saves, and a general grittiness to the game. You could feel the tension between the players on the ice, but they played an overall disciplined game. But there was also almost a childlike wonderment when you watched the players, especially in the pregame skates and in the practices on New Years Day. You saw the players stop and take in the sights, sounds and smells. For many, it was their first outdoor game, for some it was a return to their roots – pond hockey. Either way, there’s something magical about an outdoor ice hockey game.
Filed Under: Rangers
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