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2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Canadiens vs. Bruins

Simple Plan thrilled with Winter Classic experience

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Canadian punk-rock band Simple Plan has performed hundreds of shows, but Friday they were doing something for the first time.

The Montreal-based band, all of whom are huge hockey fans, performed "O Canada" prior to the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins at Gillette Stadium.

"We've been around for 17 years and this is the first time we have ever done the national anthem," drummer Chuck Comeau, whose dad used to have Canadiens season tickets, said prior to the game.

This isn't the first time they have performed at an NHL event.

"As hockey fans, we did the All-Star Game (2009 in Montreal), now we are doing the Winter Classic. All that's left is a Stanley Cup Final and we'll have the perfect trilogy," Comeau said.

Tailgating a highlight for Classic fans at Gillette

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Fans of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins were out in full force hours before the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, firing up their grills and tossing the football to create a party atmosphere in the Gillette Stadium parking lot.

Inside and out, the home of the NFL's New England Patriots was taken over by hockey fans and their passion for the game. Though the majority of fans were from the Boston area, many Canadiens fans made the trip from Montreal to revel in the excitement and take some lighthearted ribbing from the Boston faithful.

"Bruins fans have been great," said George Tsopeis of Montreal, who left home at 4 a.m. to make it to the game. "Some friendly jabs and some good lucks. It was really nice. It's my first time experiencing this. For a Montrealer to watch a Bruins game in this venue, it's beyond description."

Bruins coach Julien honors Belichick with hoodie


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was dressed for success at the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, and when you are in Gillette Stadium, that means wearing a hoodie.

Julien, who on Thursday promised a surprise for the outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens, led the Bruins into the stadium dressed like Patriots coach Bill Belichick, hoodie and all.

Julien visited the Patriots at practice Wednesday, and Thursday morning Belichick skated with the Bruins coach on the outdoor rink.

Patriots' Brady throws support behind Rask, Bruins


The image of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be featured on the masks of both starting goalies in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS), but there is no doubt which goaltender Brady supports.

Brady took to Facebook on Friday morning to show his support of Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, who, like Montreal Candiens goalie Mike Condon, will feature Brady and other Patriots on his mask for the Winter Classic.

Brady posted an image of himself wearing Rask's pads and jersey while running from members of the Miami Dolphins, who the Pats play in their season finale Sunday.

Women's hockey happy for Winter Classic showcase

Jon Lane - NHL.com Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Less than an hour remained before the puck was dropped for the inaugural Outdoor Women's Classic between the Boston Pride of the National Women's Hockey League and Les Canadiennes de Montreal of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, and NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan was beaming.

Rylan's league and her sport were about to take center stage on the eve of the NHL's signature regular-season event, the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET Friday; NBC, SN, TVA Sports). Her dream of elevating women's hockey was about to take a major step.

Moments like this don't come along too often for women's hockey. Every four years, the women compete in the Olympic Games, with the battle for the gold medal usually coming down to the United States facing off against Canada. However, most of the time between Olympiads is a void. Players compete in small leagues worldwide, making little or no money, and are generally off the radar.

But on Thursday at Gillette Stadium, women's hockey took its place on a grand stage. Les Canadiennes and the Pride played to a 1-1 tie through two 15-minute, running-time periods. To Ryan, the chance to be part of the Winter Classic festivities was just the start of something big and another giant step for the growth of the game.

Sights, sounds and news from Gillette Stadium

NHL.com Staff

Welcome to NHL.com's coverage of the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. Stay here throughout the Thursday for all the sights and sounds from Foxborough, Mass., as well as a roundup of NHL.com's coverage from the practice sessions for the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens, the Outdoor Women's Classic presented by Scotiabank and The NHL Alumini Classic, presented by Molson Canadian.

Julien won't reveal what he'll wear
4:00 p.m.

As he was walking out of his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked if he'll wear a fedora during the game on Friday the way he did during the 2010 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

Julien played coy.

"I have a surprise in store for you guys," Julien said.

Julien could go back to the fedora, but judging by his comment it doesn't sound like he will. What he might do, or perhaps what he should do, is wear a hoodie sweatshirt like New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is famous for doing.

Julien and Belichick are friends. They skated together prior to Boston's practice on Thursday and Belichick had Julien out at Patriots practice on Wednesday.

Bourque helps Bruins alumni defeat Canadiens

David Satriano - NHL.com Staff Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Ray Bourque scored 410 goals in his 22-year NHL career, some of the most memorable coming against the Montreal Canadiens. But the former Boston Bruins defenseman and Quebec native did something Thursday he never had the opportunity to do as a player: He scored a shootout goal when the Bruins defeated the Canadiens at the 2016 Winter Classic Alumni game presented by Molson at Gillette Stadium.

The Bruins trailed by two but rallied to tie, and Bourque's goal, on Boston's fourth shootout attempt, became the game-winner in a 5-4 victory in the final appetizer before the 2016 NHL Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic here Friday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS)

Bourque played all but 94 games of his NHL career with the Bruins. After spending 21 seasons with them from 1979-2000, he was traded to the Colorado Avalanche and won the Stanley Cup in 2001.

"I left [Boston] for a short time, but I've been wearing this jersey for quite a while with the alumni," Bourque said. "And I've traveled all over the Maritimes playing with the alumni and my old teammates. I live 25 minutes from the city and I'm not going anywhere. For me it's always a thrill to wear this jersey."

Classic alumni game special moment for Recchi

Matt Kalman - NHL.com Correspondent

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Five years after Mark Recchi scored the game-tying goal for the Boston Bruins in the 2010 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park, he was back in a Bruins sweater and playing outdoors.

But this time Recchi, now the player development coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, was playing against the Montreal Canadiens in the Winter Classic Alumni Game at Gillette Stadium on Thursday.

Recchi skated on a line with former Bruins teammate Marco Sturm and Sergei Samsonov, who preceded Recchi and Sturm in Boston by a couple seasons. Recchi scored twice and assisted on a goal by Sturm in the Bruins’ 5-4 shootout win.

The alumni game brought back memories of the 2010, 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers in Boston, when Recchi tied the game in the third period and Sturm won it in overtime.

“To get an opportunity to come back five years from the time we had an opportunity to play at Fenway, and come back and represent the Bruins again -- [Sturm] scoring a huge goal there to win in overtime, and to come back and score another nice goal today -- it’s a fun thing to be part of,” Recchi said. “And, especially, you don’t forget this. We’ll never forget it and our kids will never forget it. There are special moments throughout your career that you really, really enjoy.”

Canadiens' Gallagher to return for Winter Classic

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Brendan Gallagher could not be coming back to the Montreal Canadiens lineup at a better moment.

The fact that his return also coincides with the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Friday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports) is a nice bonus.

"I think when you look at this event, it's cool to bring in your family and friends and get an opportunity to be at a venue like this," Gallagher said. "Like I said from the start, I wouldn't come back if I didn't feel like I could help the team. I didn't want to come back for selfish reasons. The doctors helped me to come back and play, and now hopefully I can contribute."

Aside from the grand stage Gallagher will use to end his 17-game absence recovering from surgery to repair two fractured fingers on his left hand, the Canadiens desperately need what he brings to their lineup, especially in an important game against the rival Boston Bruins with first place in the Atlantic Division up for grabs.

Flynn: Coming home for Classic as a visitor

Brian Flynn - Special to NHL.com

Montreal Canadiens forward Brian Flynn gives his perspective on playing in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

I grew up 40 minutes away from here, so playing in the Winter Classic in this stadium is extra special to me.

I'm a huge New England Patriots fan, I think all the guys know that. Ever since Tom Brady took over they've always won, and I know how big the franchise is not only for the Boston area, but all of New England. I try to go to a preseason game in the summer every year before I have to start the season, because I obviously can't go to a regular-season game.

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