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Classic practice day delivers 'unbelievable feeling'

by Danny Briere
Philadelphia Flyers forward Danny Briere is blogging about his Winter Classic experience exclusively for From his first turns on the ice at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday, through the family skate, to the his thoughts the morning of the game, to a wrap-up of the entire Classic experience, Briere will deliver his thoughts directly to readers.

When I saw the layout at Citizens Bank Park on Friday, one of the things I really wanted to see was how the locker room would look with our gear in there, and to be in the Phillies' locker room and see our names and gear hanging up that was a cool feeling.


Winter Classic start time moved to 3pm
The NHL, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, announced Monday's 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will start at 3 p.m. ET. READ MORE ›
Walking into the ballpark was a great feeling, as well. Walking around, looking at all the stands, they were still empty, but that's what I can't wait to see tomorrow, with them filled. That was an unbelievable feeling.

Being on the ice, that was nice. Just testing the ice to get ready for tomorrow's game, getting a feel for it -- just looking up in the sky, it's almost magical. When you look above you and there's no roof over your head, that was really magic. I think that's the best word. It brings you back to your childhood playing outside. It's a really, really cool feeling.

The family skate, I remember in Boston was the highlight of my week. I made sure I really enjoyed it today and soaked it all in today.

I had my three sons, my dad and other friends and family down, but the real highlight today for me was having the chance to skate around with my little nephew, Zaac, my sister's boy, who's 2 years old. That was probably my highlight, to see his eyes looking everywhere. Having the chance to go on the ice, his smile, that made it all worth it right there.

Also, I got to see Claude Giroux's sister get engaged. That was a pretty cool moment, as well. To do it on the ice, not too many people will be able to say they did something like that. That was really cool to see as well. It's original. That was nice.

Today was a fun day. Today was the day where we enjoyed it, we were kind of joking around, just having a blast, relaxing. I'm planning on tonight after dinner, when I start to wind down for the night, that's when there's going to be a shift in focus, where it's going to go from fun to a focus on tomorrow's game.

It's a different day. We wake up, get a quick bite to eat and then it's game time at 1 p.m. The preparation is really going to start, the hard focus, the more serious focus is going to start tonight.
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