2012 Winter Classic Legends Game
See Old-Time Hockey, Again
It wasn't long ago that the National Hockey League (NHL), as a big four sport, seemed on the brink of ruin, but with some creative marketing, and a brand new outlook, the excitement is building bigger and bigger each year. Part of that success has been the NHLs annual take-over of New Years, and with the advent of the Winter Classic Legends Game, it's becoming a magical affair.
The NHL Winter Classic is an outdoor ice hockey game played by two rival NHL teams. It's a raucous affair that garners the biggest media coverage of any game all season. Typically, it takes place on New Years Day, however this year it'll be played on January 2, 2012, due to a scheduling conflict with the NFL, but it's also a match-up that should take people back to a time when hockey was played in the great outdoors.
Part of the game, since it was first played in 2008, was seeing the old-timers, who played without helmets, walk onto the ice for one last hoorah, but as of 2011, in a match-up between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals, a second game was included, called the Legends Game. It was a chance for fans to see their old favorites lace up the skates and hit the ice, like they used to. Last season it was Mario Lemieux, Paul Coffey and Peter Bondra, who dazzled the crowd, and this years Winter Classic could be even bigger.
In the 2012 Winter Classic, the Philadelphia Flyers play host to the New York Rangers, at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies. A day after New Years, the youngsters take the ice, but possibly the more exciting game will be on New Years Eve, at 1:00PM, between some of the Flyers' and Rangers' starts of yester-year.
Philadelphia Flyers' Alumni Roster
- Forwards: Bill Barbor, Bobby Clarke, Jim Dowd, Al Hill, Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrechuk, Reggie Leach, John LeClair, Eric Lindros, Ken Linseman, Shjon Podein, Dave Poulin, Brian Propp, Mark Recchi, Jeremy Roenick, Ron Sutter and Rick Tocchet
- Defensemen: Terry Carkner, Eric Desjardins, Larry Goodenough, Derian Hatcher, Mark Howe, Brad Marsh, Kjell Samuelsson, Chris Therrien and Joe Watson
- Goalies: Bernie Parent, Mark LaForest and Neil Little
- Coaches: Pat Quinn (Head Coach), Keith Primeau, Mike Nykoluk
- Off-Ice Ambassadors: Gary Dornhoefer, Dave Schultz and Ron Hextall
New York Rangers Alumni Roster
- Forwards: Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Broten, Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Mike Gartner, Adam Graves, Pat Hickey, Kris King, Nick Kypreos, Darren Langdon, Stephane Matteau, Brian Mullen and Darren Turcotte
- Defensemen: Ron Greschner, Darius Kasparaitis, Tom Laidlaw, Brian Leetch, Dave Maloney, Dale Purinton and Mathieu Schneider
- Goalies: Dan Blackburn and John Vanbiesbrouck
- Coaches: Mike Keenan, Emile Francis and Colin Campbell
- Off-Ice Ambassadors: Rod Gilbert, Eddie Giacomin and Harry Howell
Note-Worthy Winter Classic Invitees
The Flyers most famous line, the LCB line, will be in attendance, Bobby Clarke, Bill Barber and Reggie Leach, who led the team to both of its Stanley Cups in the 1970s. Mark Howe, star defenseman, and recent Hall-of-Fame inductee will be playing, along with his former teammates from the 1980s, Dave Poulin, Brian Propp, Ron Sutter and Rick Tocchet. Almost all of the dangerous Legion of Doom line will be playing, as Eric Lindros returns to Philadelphia, along with John LeClair. The recently retired Stanley Cup winner with the Boston Bruins, Mark Recchi will be there.
For the Rangers, the list isn't quite as long, but they've invited super-star Adam Graves, Mike Gartner, formerly the hardest shot in the NHL, Paul Broten, and Olympic hockey player Brian Leetch. One of the most hated and feared players of all time, Darius Kasparaitis will be playing, along with Glenn Anderson and Nick Kypreos. Goaltender, and former Vezina Trophy winner, John Vanbiesbrouck will be in the net with Dan Blackburn.
Notably Not In Attendance
One thing that seemed strange for the Flyers was the lack of a note-worthy goaltender. Ron Hextall will be there as an off-ice ambassador, but it would have been nice had they invited someone like Pete Peeters, or someone who's name would be more easily recognized than Mark LaForest and Neil Little, who didn't spend much time with the team. There has now been a late announcement, that Bernie Perant will be in net for the Flyers' Legends. He will play for only 5-10 minutes, due to being 66-years-old. This is exciting news that the Flyers' most famous netminder ever will be in on the ice. Mikael Renberg, the last member of the Legion of Doom line would have been a nice addition. Or, as he was not able to attend, Keith Jones, who later filled in for Renberg alongside Lindros and LeClair would have been a nice addition.
The Rangers will be missing a number of important names on their roster, including Mark Messier (Mark Messier has recently agreed to play in the Winter Classic) , who carried the team to the Stanley Cup in 1994, Mike Richter, the goaltender of that cup winning team, and a super-star in his own right, as well as "The Great One" Wayne Gretzky, who finished his career with the Rangers.