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Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 6:22 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Torts is into it

John Tortorella is all for the drama surrounding the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, but using his plain and simple terms, the Rangers coach summed up the importance of the game between his squad the Flyers on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

"At the beginning of January it's going to be a huge two points," Tortorella said with a deadpan look. "Our players will know that we're supposed to win this game to grab those two points."

He is, of course, accurate. The two points are big, especially when you consider the Flyers and Rangers are the first division rivals to play in a Winter Classic since Chicago and Detroit in 2009.

That said, Tortorella understands there are bigger elements at play here. Most notably, the rivalry between the Flyers and Rangers.

Tortorella agreed that the games against the Flyers are more intense than your average regular season game.

"Well, yeah, you're just down the street and it is a pretty bitter rivalry as it's gone on," he said. "I'll just leave it at that."

Imagine what he would have said had he gone on?
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 6:13 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Ancillary events planned at Citizens Bank Park

Comcast Spectacor President and COO Peter Luukko announced Monday that the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic won't be the only major hockey event to take place at Citizens Bank Park this winter.

Luukko said the Flyers and Rangers are planning to have an alumni game on Dec. 31. The Adirondack Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL affiliate, will also return to Philadelphia to play the Hershey Bears at Citizens Bank Park on Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. ET.

The Flyers, Phillies and the City of Philadelphia are also trying to secure some high school and college hockey at the ballpark, as well as some public skating.

The League is expected to have the rink ready by Dec. 31, so save for the alumni game, the ancillary events at the ballpark will likely be happening after the Winter Classic game is played on Jan. 2.

"We don't want to make this just one great game, but really a celebration and festival of hockey," Luukko said. "In 1967 when Ed Snider started the team, there were probably a couple of rinks and a handful of players (in the Philadelphia area). Today, there are 51 rinks in the area, 71 sheets of ice and over 35,000 kids registered to play hockey in the Philadelphia market. We are a hockey town."
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 5:44 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Big day for Hartnell tomorrow

Scott Hartnell was all smiles Monday at the announcement of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic coming to Citizens Bank Park, but he knows how important Tuesday is for him.
The Flyers forward is scheduled to be examined by a cardiologist in hopes of learning what caused his elevated heart rate between the second and third period of Friday's preseason game in Detroit.
Hartnell told the training staff of odd twitching in his right arm between periods, and when he was examined, an abnormal heart rate was discovered. As a precaution, Hartnell was held out of the third period of that game, skipped Sunday's practice and will not play in Monday's preseason game against the Rangers.

"I feel fine," he told NHL.com. "Last game in Detroit, my heart rate wouldn't settle down as it usually does. Arms were shaking a little bit. Just more precautionary, stay off the ice for a couple days.
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 5:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Who will be the star of the show?

The Flyers don't lack for over-sized personalities, so it'll be interesting to see which player or players steal the show when HBO's cameras start trailing the Philadelphia players and coaches for this year's installment of the "24/7" show.

"I guess I've got to show them something new," said one of those big personalities, team captain Chris Pronger. "Bring out my 'A' game."

Defenseman Matt Carle isn't someone who electrifies a room when he enters it, but he has a few good ideas who might draw the bright lights of the cameras.

"You got Scott Hartnell, he really stands out," Carle told NHL.com. "I think a guy that's really going to take everybody off guard, getting to know him early on here, is Ilya Bryzgalov. I'm sure people in Phoenix are used to his personality, but for us, I just met him a few weeks ago, he's that funny character."

James van Riemsdyk could be a star if he plays up to his vast potential, but he agrees with Carle in that Hartnell could steal the spotlight.

"We got Max Talbot in there, he's got some personality, he's an interesting guy," van Riemsdyk told NHL.com. "Scott Hartnell is a fan favorite here, too, so I think he's going to be somebody they'll get a kick to see doing his thing behind the scenes."
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 5:21 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Laviolette and Tortorella eager for Winter Classic

Just because Peter Laviolette has already experienced the spectacle that has become the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, don't think for a second he considers having the perfect recipe for success.
Laviolette, whose team dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Classic at Fenway Park, does feel that each player needs to enjoy the experience since, for some, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"I think the Winter Classic presents itself a little differently than the Stanley Cup Final," Laviolette told NHL.com. "It's a tremendous event and there's always a focus
that goes into winning hockey games so that can't be lost in it. But you also need to enjoy it. It's not very often you get to play outside in front of 40,000 or 50,000
fans and those opportunities are rare. The day will be terrific and the days leading up to it. It's nice that family members get to be a part of something like this do, so the players will really enjoy it from both sides so the game.
"I don't think you'll have to worry about the game being competitive, but the thing is, you want to make sure you enjoy the event too."
Rangers coach John Tortorella can't wait to play hockey where the Phillies play baseball.
"I'm a huge baseball fan and I've run around this ballpark but never have been inside," Tortorella said. "There may even be some World Series' games here. I asked some people where the rink would be placed and they said they always put it behind the pitchers' mound because they don't want to take the mound out. I can't really envision it right now but to have this park packed … it'll be exciting for us all."
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 5:06 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Call him Mr. September

James van Riemsdyk has had quite the coming-out party at Citizens Bank Park.

A little over a week ago while taking batting practice with eight other Flyers' teammates at the ballpark, van Riemsdyk launched a pitch over the left field wall that was an estimated 350 feet. During a little shooting competition at the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic announcement at Citizens Bank on Monday, he was the only Flyers player to shoot a puck from home plate into the goal cage stationed at second base.

In addition to van Riemsdyk, Rangers captain Ryan Callahan and forward Marian Gaborik also scored.

The shot was impressive when you consider the fact each player had to lift the puck over a two-foot high wall just beyond the pitcher's mound before it entered the cage.

"I did what I normally do, I closed my eyes and just shot as far as I could," van Riemsdyk told NHL.com.

Van Riemsdyk, who is entering his third season with the Flyers in 2011-12, was a rookie when the Flyers dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Boston Bruins at the 2010 Bridgestone Winter Classic.

"I'm looking forward to the outdoor feel once again and how the fans kind of get up for it," van Riemsdyk said. "The whole event, in general, is great and family members get to skate with the players. I'm hoping for a little snow. I think that gives it that wintery feel and makes it intriguing."
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 2:17 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic chatter

'Worst-kept secret in sports'

Commissioner Gary Bettman, at a podium erected on top of a dugout at Citizens Bank Park, just made official what the commissioner himself called, "the worst-kept secret in sports," that the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at 1 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2012, between the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers.
Dignitaries from both clubs were in attendance, including Rangers Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, and Flyers Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Carle and Scott Hartnell. There also were a few hundred Flyers season ticket holders in attendance.
They just showed a great promotional video highlighting the great Rangers-Flyers rivalry, and the Commissioner also confirmed HBO is back on board for another edition of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning "24/7" series.
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 1:31 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Classic chatter

HBO returns with '24/7'

HBO is back this season with its Emmy Award winning 24/7 series.

The Flyers and Rangers will be featured in four episodes that air every Wednesday beginning on Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET.

The final episode on Jan. 4 will feature footage of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Atlantic Division rivals on Jan. 2 at Citizens Bank Park.

HBO 24/7 documented the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals last year. It was the first time the network went inside two teams during the season.
Posted On Monday, 09.26.2011 / 1:30 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Classic chatter

Welcome to Philadelphia

The NHL has invaded Citizens Bank Park for today's announcement of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The home of the Philadelphia Phillies has been turned into a temporary hockey heaven, as Flyers, Rangers and the beautiful Classic logo are all over the ballpark.

Dignitaries expected today include Flyers Chairman Ed Snider, Rangers GM Glen Sather, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, coaches and players from both teams, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and Phillies President David Montgomery.

You can follow along here at this blog, and NHL.com and the NHL Network will have live coverage.

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