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Winter Classic excites Mass. natives Flynn, Hayes

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As a fan of the NFL's New England Patriots, Brian Flynn has been to Gillette Stadium many times.

He never envisioned he would get the chance to play hockey here.

But with the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic taking place at Gillette on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports), that opportunity may become reality for Flynn, a center with the Montreal Canadiens.

"It's exciting for me," he said. "I try to come here to see a preseason game every year and it's such a great stadium. "

Flynn grew up 45 minutes away, in Lynnfield, Mass. He said that is where he fell in love with the game that may now lead him to one of hockey's biggest stages, the Winter Classic.

"I grew up playing on a lot of ponds after school and at night," Flynn said Wednesday during a press conference to promote the Winter Classic. "We'd get the floodlights out there. My uncle and cousins live on a pond right down the street from me, so I'd fly down there after school or late at night on the weekends, get out there and shovel the snow off. That's when hockey is a blast, playing out there all day long with your buddies and you don't even want to go in and get dinner or anything. You just want to keep going."

Bruins, Canadiens alumni to face off at Winter Classic

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The current rivalry between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will not be the only one celebrated at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

The League announced Wednesday there will be an alumni game played at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 31, pitting legends against each other one more time.

For many who have been involved in the competition between the Bruins and Canadiens over the past nine decades, the mere sight of the other's logo rekindles a rivalry that never goes fully dormant.

Yvan Cournoyer, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and a former Canadiens captain, said the rivalry defined a huge part of who he was as a hockey player.

He entered the NHL during the 1963-64 season, when he was 19 years old, and his second game was at Boston Garden. Asked about the reception from Bruins fans, he shook his head and laughed as he stood on the playing surface at Gillette Stadium.

"We won the game, so …," Cournoyer said, suggesting that he and his Canadiens had the last laugh. "So many memories against the Bruins. I started with six teams [in the League]. That was a lot of action with six teams. I almost say we grew up together, the Boston Bruins and me with the Montreal Canadiens."

Canadiens expect skillful Semin to spark offense

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Right wing Alexander Semin has rare talent, which is why Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin gave him a one-year contract last week.

"He's high-skilled," Bergevin said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium. "He brings something that not a lot of players do have, and obviously things didn't go his way in Carolina. He's going to have a chance to prove he is still the player he once was. He's still young, only 31 years of age. We hope he will bring his skill and compete level to Montreal."

Bergevin was here to promote the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Canadiens and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET: NBC, CBC, TVA Sports). It was the first time Bergevin publicly addressed the signing of the former Carolina Hurricanes forward.

New-look Bruins hope to be rolling by Winter Classic

Matt Kalman - Correspondent

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Boston Bruins missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season for the first time in eight years.

General manager Don Sweeney has overhauled the Boston roster since he was hired May 20 to replace Peter Chiarelli. The Bruins signed unrestricted free agent forward Matt Beleskey, traded for forward Jimmy Hayes, traded away forward Milan Lucic and defenseman Dougie Hamilton, and let several role players leave as free agents.

It will take some time for chemistry to develop, and all of the players will have to become acclimated with the style of play Sweeney and coach Claude Julien want to implement.

The Bruins are going to be in a state of flux, but they're also going to be in the spotlight because they're scheduled to host the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium, home of the NFL's New England Patriots, on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Although nothing will tarnish the buzz surrounding the event, given the venue and the longstanding rivalry between the Bruins and Canadiens, neither wants to be in the midst of a lackluster season when New Year's Day rolls around.

So for three months leading up to the Winter Classic, Boston will have added motivation to make sure it's playing well enough to be considered one of the elite teams in the NHL.

"You never want to be behind the eight ball right away, so you want to have a good start of the season," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said at the stadium Wednesday. "That's definitely the plan and the goal. This game is definitely something we're all looking forward to."

Winter Classic 'can't go wrong' with Bruins, Canadiens

Shawn Roarke - Director, Editorial

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A more perfect summer day could not have gripped the Boston area Wednesday. Temperatures soared into the low 90s with an occasional cooling breeze and the region was baking under a strong sun that rarely darted under cloud cover.

It was a day made for golfing, or perhaps hitting the famed beaches stretching along the coastline of nearby Cape Cod. Yet at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots of the National Football League, the talk was about hockey, specifically the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens that will be played here on Jan. 1, 2016 (1 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

"[Patriots owner Bob Kraft] promised me it would be at least 60 degrees cooler on New Year's Day," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in his opening remarks.

There was little need on this day to conjure up the anticipated cold and possible snow that could greet the Bruins and Canadiens when they take to the playing surface placed in the middle of Gillette Stadium's football field to continue their fierce rivalry. A glance at the outline of the ice rink in the middle of the turf, and a look at the scoreboards in each end zone displaying the Winter Classic logo, was enough to send most of those on hand on their own trip down memory lane.

Bruins-Canadiens rivalry takes centerstage at 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium

Alumni Game featuring team legends to be played at Gillette Stadium Dec. 31

NHL Public Relations

NEW YORK -- Representatives from the National Hockey League, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, New England Patriots, National Hockey League Players' Association and Bridgestone gathered today at Gillette Stadium to detail plans for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®. In January, the NHL announced that the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® will feature the Bruins and Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on New Year's Day, 2016. The event will be televised live on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 1 p.m. ET.

When these long-time rivals meet, Boston will become the first Club to host the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® for a second time, after defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime of the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® at Fenway Park. It will mark the first time the Canadiens will play in the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, and just the second time a Canadian-based NHL team will play in the game, following the Toronto Maple Leafs' appearance in 2014.

After injuries, Murray poised to boost Blue Jackets

Wednesday, 07.29.2015 / 10:59 AM / NHL Insider

When the Columbus Blue Jackets selected defenseman Ryan Murray with the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, they envisioned a player who could quickly become a fixture along their blue line.

Injuries have kept Murray from reaching his potential; he played 12 games last season after sustaining a knee injury, after having knee surgery in the summer of 2014. He would miss five additional weeks with a high ankle sprain he sustained in November.

But the 21-year-old appears primed to turn things around this season.

"I've been on the ice for almost two months now," Murray told the Blue Jackets website. "I've done some things differently this summer, changed it up a bit; the workouts have been less weight-based and more body and movement-focused things.

"I spent part of the summer at home in Saskatchewan, hanging out with my friends and family, relaxing, playing golf, and it was great. It was good to go home and recharge, and now I'm back here and ready to work."

Bernier, Maple Leafs $2.21M apart in arbitration: report

Wednesday, 07.29.2015 / 9:48 AM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Goaltender Jonathan Bernier, a restricted free agent who is scheduled for an arbitration hearing Friday, has submitted a request for $5.1 million for one year, with the Toronto Maple Leafs offering a one-year, $2.89 million contract, according to Sportsnet.

TSN reports the Maple Leafs' offer is the minimum allowed.

Bernier, 26, went 21-28-7 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .912 save percentage in 58 games for the Maple Leafs last season, when he made $3.4 million, according to TSN.

Predators sign forward Wilson to four-year contract

Tuesday, 07.28.2015 / 9:18 PM / NHL Free Agency 2015

Forward Colin Wilson signed a four-year, $15.75 million contract with the Nashville Predators on Monday to avoid arbitration. Wilson will be paid $3.75 million in 2015-16, and $4 million in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 for an average annual value of $3.9375 million, according to the Predators.

Wilson's hearing was scheduled for Tuesday in Toronto. The Predators also avoided arbitration with Craig Smith when the forward signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract on July 20.

"Certainly we were hopeful based on the [Smith] signing that [it] gave us a pretty clear position we felt where Colin could fit," Predators general manager David Poile told the Tennessean. "We did make the trip up here to Toronto. We met [Sunday] night with our lawyers to go over the brief and what have you, so we were ready to go to arbitration, but a couple of calls [Sunday] night and one [Monday] morning sort of solidified that we were both in the same place."

Canadiens' Subban surprises youth group in Toronto

Tuesday, 07.28.2015 / 4:52 PM / NHL Insider

Mike Brophy - Correspondent

TORONTO -- Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban has always taken pride in helping others, even long before he reached the NHL in 2010.

"When he was younger, a kid, he always gave away his lunch," his mother, Maria Subban, said Tuesday. "He would say, 'Mom, they don't have anything to eat.' He was always looking out for other kids."

A group of 110 children from Toronto's Jane and Finch area recently competed against a group of Americans, organized and supported by performer Pharrell Williams, in "Jeopardy" trivia. The Canadians won the event, and Subban and his family felt they should be rewarded.

So he gathered the victors, who are attending a summer camp called Success Beyond Limits (SBL) at York University and, along with some assistance from Gatorade, gave them prizes.

"I'm from Toronto, so whenever I can give back to communities here, I do," Subban said. "I know I play in Montreal and obviously I give back to Quebec and the city of Montreal a lot, but every now and then you have to remember this is my hometown. Even though I didn't grow up in Jane and Finch, I had a lot of friends and family members who lived in this area."

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