PHILADELPHIA -- Rangers center Brian Boyle was all smiles during his team's afternoon practice, showing how excited he was to compete in his first Winter Classic. Afterward, a much more subdued Boyle addressed reporters from his locker.
"You've seen the games we've played throughout this year thus far, even in the preseason," Boyle said. "There's some bad blood there, there's a lot of fire, there's a lot of passion there. It's going to be a lot of fun to play in, but it's for sure going to be a little chippy."
Boyle is no stranger to "chippy" play, particularly in this rivalry. Fifth on the team with 36 penalty minutes this season, Boyle picked up a fighting major when he got into a scuffle with Philadelphia's Tom Sestito on Dec. 23, and he was assessed a roughing minor when he and Scott Hartnell got together in the teams' first meeting, Nov. 26.
Putting the physicality on the backburner, Boyle said how much he was enjoying the unique opportunity that comes with playing in the Winter Classic -- the family skate. As family members and friends of the players and coaches poured onto the ice for the post-practice skate, Boyle invited as many people as he could to join him.
"I'm going to hang out with my family and all that, have dinner, go to bed thinking about the game and come to the rink focused," Boyle said when asked about his preparation.
As for the crowd, Boyle said he was prepared to face whatever the rowdy, sold-out Philadelphia crowd gives to him. When asked his opinion on the average Flyer fan, Boyle gave a slight grin.
"Passionate," Boyle said. "That's all. I'm done there."