Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere blogged about his Winter Classic experience exclusively for NHL.com, from his first turns on the ice at Citizens Bank Park and the family skate, to the his thoughts the morning of the game, to a wrap-up of the entire Classic experience, which ended with a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers.
This game was going to overtime.
That's all I had in my mind as I stood at center ice and waited to take the penalty shot in the last minute today.
Coming in on Lundqvist, I had beaten him once on the blocker side, once on the glove side. He had stopped me a couple times before as well in shootouts, but I was still convinced I was going to score. I tried to surprise him with a quick little shot, unfortunately he was quicker than me. I've got to give him credit for that.
I thought the whole day was really cool. Coming out of the tunnel, seeing the whole place in mostly orange; that was a great experience. This was almost like the preparation, the whole thing going into it, was like a playoff atmosphere.
The second period we played really good. We really took control of the game. We were really good on the forecheck, controlling the end zone, winning all our battles.
And when Brayden Schenn scored, everybody was so happy for him. He's played some good hockey lately, had lots of chances. It was just a matter of time for him to get his first goal. What a special moment for him, to be able to say he scored his first goal in a Winter Classic. We were all thrilled for him. We were hoping we could give him a win as well so he could probably appreciate it and celebrate it even more.
Up 2-0, we thought we were in control.
Unfortunately we gave up a bad goal near the end of the second and that gave them some life. Going back into the room, we still felt like we were in control. We played the way we wanted to. It was just a matter of keeping the same pressure on them in their zone. Then they came out and they scored two quick goals. And then you're playing hockey from behind, trying to catch up. We got some chances but Lundqvist made some key saves.
With that chance in the last minute, I thought I had the chance then. I was so close to his pad I had to shovel it in. And as the puck was going across the line, their defenseman jumped from behind and swiped it with his hand. And the penalty shot was called.
After I missed the penalty shot, you have to try to forget about. I didn't have the time to feel sorry about myself or to let bad thoughts creep into my head. All I was thinking was there's 20 seconds left, let's try to find a way to crash the net and find a loose puck.
We created a couple chances, too. We had our chances after that. In the end, it was a game like that. Everything was really tight, there wasn't much out there. They came out on top. It's frustrating. I take the blame for this one, but at the same time, I'm also hoping that it makes us better for when we have big games again.
Right now we're probably just thinking about this a little more for the rest of the night. But tomorrow, going back to the rink it's going to be back to reality, I guess. Try to get back on track.
Overall, it was a great experience. I don't regret it; just disappointed about the outcome. You can't dwell on it too long. You've got to move on and get ready for the next game. Chicago is also a tough team, probably first in the West. It's not going to get any easier for us.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere will blog about his Winter Classic experience exclusively for NHL.com, from his first turns on the ice at Citizens Bank Park and the family skate, to the his thoughts the morning of the game, to a wrap-up of the entire Classic experience
As players we all have routines we go through to get ready, and we try to stick to them as closely as possible whether it's a 7 o'clock start or a 1 o'clock start.
So when the NHL announced today's game was being pushed back, most players would agree with me that moving the game from 1 to 3 was a big relief. There's so much that goes into our preparation and getting your food in the morning. When you play at 1 o'clock, you can't eat 2-3 hours before the game, so you have to get up really early to eat, so you're not coming in with a full stomach before the game. Moving the game back gives you a chance to sleep an extra hour, an hour and a half, at least. Everything in your preparation, you have more time, you're not rushed, you have that much more time to get ready for the game. We were all happy the game was pushed back a couple hours.
The real hard focus started last night, thinking about the game, thinking about different players, what you're going to do in different situations, who you're going to face, the defensemen, the goalies -- especially for me. The system, what they like to do and what you're going to see the next day. That's when it started.
This morning I woke up and went down to eat with a couple guys, and we talked about what it's going to be like, what to expect. That's all part of the preparation as well. Having the chance to chat with your teammates about what to expect gives you a different perspective on what's going to happen out there.
The ride in isn't going to be much different for me. I want to try to keep it as close as possible to what I usually do. It's going to be a quiet ride. I don't talk very much, just thinking about the game, thinking about what you're going to see, what you're going to see on the breakout, things like that. It's really going to be a hard focus again on the ride in. It's going to be very, very quiet.
For me, my routine, a lot of it is taking care of your equipment -- your sticks, your skates -- making sure everything is in place, and then you try to follow the same routine. We're all different as far as warming up, stretching. I have my own routine of stretching out, and an active stretch before the game. Then about half an hour before warm-ups I take 5-10 minutes to wind down and get into deeper thoughts about the game, and then it's just the rush of getting dressed and jumping on the ice and going.
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.
He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.
— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers