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Bonino back outside with Ducks in Stadium Series

by Curtis Zupke

LOS ANGELES -- Four years ago, Nick Bonino played in the NCAA version of the NHL Winter Classic. Bonino helped Boston University pull out a 3-2 win against Boston College at Fenway Park.

It was the first outdoor game between BU and BC, and it was played in a light snowfall and a wind chill that made it feel like 12 degrees.

Nick Bonino
Center - ANA
GOALS: 16 | ASST: 23 | PTS: 39
SOG: 101 | +/-: 4
Now a center for the Anaheim Ducks, Bonino gets to play in another iconic baseball stadium on the other coast in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series opener at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, against the Los Angeles Kings (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS2).

"Being a [Boston Red] Sox fan, you get to play in Fenway Park," Bonino said Friday. "That's a dream come true. And you're on the opposite side of the country playing in one of the biggest cities in the world in an outdoor game. I'm soaking it all in. It was pretty cool to get out there with the guys and get out there with the families. Today was a great memory, as I'm sure tomorrow will be."

When Bonino was in college, an outdoor game in Los Angeles was a dream. But the idea gradually picked up steam, and he said he could sense it coming to fruition eventually.

"It's funny," Bonino said. "About two years ago, guys started saying it was going to happen. We kind of thought it was a tall tale. And then last year it became a reality, something that's been on our mind ever since. It's pretty cool that it's here, 24 hours away."

The weather will be drastically different from that Fenway Park game, with the high expected to reach 80 degrees Saturday. It should drop into the low 60s by puck drop, but at practice Friday players said the warmer weather will be an adjustment.

Bonino is one of few Ducks with outdoor experience at the college level or higher. Tim Jackman, Mathieu Perreault and Saku Koivu have played in outdoor games in the NHL.

Bonino said it's difficult to compare the Fenway Park experience with what he will encounter Saturday.

"The ice is just so much different," he said. "It seemed like that game I didn't have to drink any water. My body was hot but it was cold outside. It felt perfect. Out here, you don't really see the humidity as much compared to a place like Florida, but then when you come here and you skate outside, you're sweating and it's really hot, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out."

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