BOSTON – Jim Montgomery tried to imagine it all.
As a kid growing up in Montreal, the Boston bench boss was an Expos fan, but his favorite American League team was the Red Sox. Back then, standing in the middle of the field at Fenway Park would have been a dream come true.
So as Montgomery did just that on Sunday afternoon, he couldn’t help but think of all the people who have had similar visions.
Unreal, Montgomery thought. “The words that come to mind are thank you, an attitude of gratitude just because you’re at Fenway Park, and I think about how many people have dreamed of being in the middle of Fenway Park, and here we get to be a part of it. Winter Classic in the NHL.
“I think about my boys and what it would have meant to me to have had that experience at their age. It’s unbelievable. Very lucky.”
The Bruins certainly embrace another opportunity to play in what Montgomery has dubbed the NHL’s regular-season “Super Bowl,” a celebration and showcase of hockey in its purest form.
“It’s a great moment … it’s a special game and it’s not just another regular season game by any means,” Montgomery said Monday ahead of the 2023 NHL Discover Winter Classic between his Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s a great game to show what the NHL is all about. You have stars who have done so much in the league, you have young emerging stars, you have the speed of the game. both teams like to play fast, both. likes to make plays.
“I think it’s going to be a great event, and two teams that are in playoff position right now, and you expect to see that come the spring.”
Video. Bergeron speaks ahead of the 2023 Winter Classic
Outdoor hockey has become a regular occurrence for Boston over the past decade, beginning with Fenway Park and the club’s first Winter Classic appearance against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010. Since then, the Bruins have also played in the 2016 Winter Classic against Montreal at Gillette. Stadium, the 2019 Winter Classic against Chicago at Notre Dame Stadium, and the 2021 NHL Outdoor Game at Lake Tahoe against the Flyers.
“It’s my fifth [outdoor] game and I’m still looking forward to it [Monday]said the Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. “But also, you look at it on the calendar, it splits the year in half a little bit. This is one game. This is a special game. Excited and happy to be here.
“It’s great memories for all of us. It’s something to look back on and one of those events that’s up there on the list. It’s really a lot of fun. It’s special. When you think about Fenway Park and the history and all that. , being able to be there in that yard.”
While the Bruins are used to attending these types of events, they know they are unlikely to be accepted.
“These are great experiences for everyone [the families] being a part of it is special too. It’s a very unique experience. We’ve been lucky enough to be a part of a few now, but you never know if you’ll have another one…it’s so special. Everyone is having a lot of fun,” he said Brad Marchandwho is preparing for the third outdoor game of his career.
“It’s amazing. I’ve had a few outdoor games. They are very special,” he added David Pastrnak, who will also suit up for his third outdoor game. “For several days you have your family in town and it brings you back [being] a child sliding there.
“Especially here in Boston, you’re going to have the home fans, so I’m very excited [Monday]…two great teams that have had a lot of success throughout their history. It should be a good match.”
Video. Pastrnak speaks ahead of the 2023 NHL Winter Classic
And even if the focus is on embracing the moment, the Bruins, who are riding a 10-game hitting streak (7-0-3) in the contest, know they need to use this opportunity to step up their game and make sure the memories last. lasting for all the right reasons.
“It’s always a nice reminder that we still have to be in the moment, play the right way, be structurally sound and all that,” Bergeron said. “It’s a reminder to be grateful for playing this game. We’ve worked hard to be here. This is another event that we should certainly enjoy, but also work to make it a better event and come. above.”
Wait, there’s more!
- Linus Ullmark will start between the pipes for the Bruins.
- Thomas Nosek was a full participant in the Sunday practice. The fourth-line center has missed the past two games with an injury, although Montgomery said before Saturday’s game against Buffalo that the veteran center should be ready to play against the Penguins.
- Brandon CarloWith a black eye and several stitches, he was also a full participant in Sunday’s skate. In the third lap, the blue rider left Saturday’s matinee after taking a high stick under the visor.
- Pittsburgh enters the Winter Classic on a four-game losing streak and five of six. The Penguins are now tied with the Islanders for the last wild card spot in the East with 44 points. “First and foremost, how have they been able to be successful for so long,” Bergeron said of the most impressive thing about the Penguins. “They have been a team that has always been in the mix, winning three cups. It’s a group that just keeps doing it. It’s a challenge… it’s a great match, definitely a tough match for us.
Video. Montgomery talks ahead of Winter Classic at Fenway
*And Monday’s projected lineup
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Jake DeBrusk
Pavel Zacha – David Kreich – David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall – Charlie Coyle – Trent Frederick
Nick Foligno – Thomas Nosek – Craig Smith/AJ Greer
Hampus Lindholm – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelczyk – Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort – Connor Clifton
Video. Marchand shares his thoughts ahead of the Winter Classic