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Stanley Cup Final
POSTED ON Monday, 01.02.2012 / 8:24 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Despite loss, Snider still beaming about Classic experience

PHILADELPHIA -- Even though his team lost, it was tough to knock the smile off Ed Snider's face.

The Philadelphia Flyers' Chairman and founding owner was beaming following the spectacle he helped create here at Citizens Bank Park.

"It came off better than I would have imagined," said Snider. "We had a great weekend here. When we had the alumni game with the total sellout, I think that set a new standard for the League and I hope it works that way in every other city. We're really proud of our fans."

Snider said the only dark cloud on the day was the final result -- his Flyers lost to the New York Rangers 3-2.

"It was a good time until the end," he said. "We would have liked to have won the game. I'm very proud of the way the team played. We had many opportunities to win it. I think we played very well. I'm not disappointed from that point of view. It's a long season. We'll be fine."

Snider also was given a chance to weigh in on the goaltending issues that cropped up following Sunday's practice, when Ilya Bryzgalov -- the player Snider handed a nine-year, $51 million contract to this summer -- announced he would not be starting the next day's game against the Rangers.

"We have two goalies," said Snider. "One was playing better than the other coming into this game and won the start. It's not a big issue from the point of view of the team. We have two good goalies and we think they'll work out whatever issues they have. We think we're in good shape."

Snider even said he gets a laugh out of Bryzgalov's more eccentric comments.

"I think he's colorful," said Snider. "He's a colorful guy."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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POSTED ON Monday, 01.02.2012 / 5:45 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Red Sox closer amazed by ballpark transformation

PHILADELPHIA -- Andrew Bailey knows all about Citizens Bank Park, having attended games as a fan and pitched there in the past, but even he was shocked by what awaited him Monday afternoon.

"It's cool to see a stadium that I know what it looks like for baseball after having been here, and see it as something else," Bailey, the brand-new closer for the Boston Red Sox, told NHL.com. "I can't believe what it looks like now."

Bailey was a last-minute attendee to the sold-out game, driving down from his Connecticut home on Sunday afternoon to see the team of his youth, the Philadelphia Flyers, play the New York Rangers in the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. He couldn't stop smiling at his good fortune in what has already been an off-season of incredible good fortune.

The baseball closer grew up in Haddon Heights, N.J., not too far across the river from Philadelphia. His parents now live in Cherry Hill, N.J., a stone's throw from the Flyers' practice rink in Vorhees, N.J. The 27-year-old grew up at the height of the Flyers' renaissance with the Legion of Doom line, and hockey was a passion when he wasn't chasing his baseball dream.

"I grew up a big fan of the Flyers and I loved the Legion of Doom," Bailey said. "I watched them a lot."

Eric Lindros, the fulcrum of the Legion of Doom line, flanked by Mikeal Renberg and John LeClair, was in the ballpark and was introduced during Monday's first intermission, just to add to Bailey's enjoyment of the game.

Soon, though, Bailey knows that thoughts will have to turn to the coming baseball season and his job as closer for the Boston Red Sox, one of the most pressure-packed occupations in all of sport.

Bailey, who was traded to Boston in a major deal with Oakland right after Christmas, says he is ready to fill the shoes of Jonathan Papelbon, who, ironically, will call Citizens Bank park home this season after signing a free-agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

"The opportunity to win is so great in  Boston and I'm excited about that opportunity. Plus now I have a nation rooting me on," he said, referring to the team's fans, who are known as the Red Sox Nation.
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POSTED ON Monday, 01.02.2012 / 3:42 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Victorino a very interested observer

PHILADELPHIA -- Growing up in Hawaii, Shane Victorino can be forgiven for not being the biggest hockey expert in the world. That doesn't mean the Philadelphia Phillies' centerfielder isn't having a blast watching the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers skating in a rink built on his field.

"I think it looks great," Victorino said of the rink. "I wish they could do it every year here. This is something that not only is it great for the Phillies, but for the city, it brings a lot of excitement. What better rivalry than this? Both these teams, they're in first place. I'm excited to see it tonight."

Victorino said he has tried skating once before, at a rink in Oahu -- the only one in Hawaii.

"I tried it as a kid, but wasn't very successful," he said. "I tried to run, not push off. That sport didn't last long for Shane."

Victorino made a fine choice by sticking with baseball. Now in his eighth season (seventh with the Phillies), he has won three Gold Gloves, played in two All-Star Games, and won a World Series with the Phils in 2008.

He said the ballpark certainly looks a bit different than he's used to, including the 1,500 temporary seats installed in his position for the game.

"I liked how it looked (with the seats), but it didn't shorten the ballpark," he said. "Those seats in center field, I like that. It's pretty neat to have those seats, but I like the park the way it is."

One other difference was the color of the attire the fans were wearing.

"I'm used to walking out there and seeing everybody in red," he said. "But seeing everybody in orange, it's great. I think it's awesome. It's definitely a red ballpark, but today it's orange."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK



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POSTED ON Monday, 01.02.2012 / 1:36 PM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Legendary performer LaBelle ready for anthem first

PHILADELPHIA -- In her long, legendary career, Patti LaBelle has played some of the most famous venues around the world.
 
But in a career that spans more than 50 years, the legendary performer will have a career-first Monday. LaBelle, a Philadelphia native, will sing the National Anthem in her hometown for the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
 
"It means that you're grown up," LaBelle told NHL.com. "I'm a grown-up woman."
 
LaBelle has won two Grammy awards, sold out buildings and won acclaim as an actress, author and chef, but she said even she's not sure what it's going to be like when she walks out in front of more than 47,000 people here at Citizens Bank Park.
 
"It's very unique," she said. "It's freezing out there. I've never, ever sung in weather like this."
 
LaBelle said she's not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but there's no doubt which team she'll be rooting for Monday.
 
"I'm not a hockey fan," she said, "but I know about the Flyers and they're great."
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POSTED ON Saturday, 12.31.2011 / 2:12 PM

By Dan Rosen -  NHL.com Senior Writer /NHL.com - Live from the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

Winter Classic tale of the tape

Records

Rangers -- 23-9-4, 50 points (1st in Atlantic, 1st in Eastern Conference)

Flyers -- 22-10-4, 48 points (2nd in Atlantic, 4th in Eastern Conference)



Last 10

Rangers -- 7-3-0

Flyers -- 6-3-1



All-time record vs. opponent

Rangers: 112-107-37-7

Flyers: 114-105-37-7



Head coach

Rangers -- John Tortorella (378-315-37-64 career record; 117-82-22 with Rangers)

Flyers --
Peter Laviolette (341-241-25-55 career record; 97-57-21 with Flyers)



Most points

Rangers -- Marian Gaborik, 33

Flyers -- Claude Giroux, 45 (tied for 1st in NHL)



Most goals

Rangers -- Marian Gaborik, 22

Flyers -- Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, 17



Power play

Rangers -- 15.2 percent (21st in League)

Flyers -- 19.3 percent (8th in League)



Penalty kill

Rangers -- 86.0 percent (6th in League)

Flyers -- 82.4 percent (15th in League)



Best in what period

Rangers -- 2nd period (plus-18 goal differential, 44-26)

Flyers -- 1st period (plus-7 goal differential, 42-35)



Active players under 30

Rangers -- 17

Flyers -- 16



First-round draft picks

Rangers -- 9 (Martin Biron, Michael Del Zotto, Jeff Woywitka, Marian Gaborik, Marc Staal, Brian Boyle, Ryan McDonagh, Steve Eminger, Wojtek Wolski)

Flyers -- 11 (Braydon Cobun, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Scott Hartnell, Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Andrei Mezsaros, Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr, Jakub Voracek)



Rookies on active roster

Rangers -- 2 (Carl Hagelin, Stu Bickel)

Flyers -- 6 (Matt Read, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo, Harry Zolnierczyk, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Brayden Schenn)



Winter Classic experience

Rangers -- Two players (Mike Rupp, Erik Christensen)

Flyers -- Nine players (Danny Briere, Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Maxime Talbot, Kimmo Timonen, James van Riemsdyk, Matt Walker)
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