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NHL Winter Classic

Savard, Bourque ready for Blackhawks-Bruins showdown at Winter Classic

Former forward, defenseman reflect on playing outdoors prior to game at Notre Dame Stadium

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Denis Savard didn't want to jinx it. The former forward, who is now an ambassador for the Chicago Blackhawks, was simply recognizing the situation.

"I hate to say this, but we haven't won a [Winter Classic] game yet, so we're due," Savard said of the Blackhawks, who will play the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana, on Tuesday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVAS, SN), the sixth time they will play outdoors (0-5-0).

Savard and former Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque discussed outdoor games and their playing days during the MillerCoors Beer Summit at the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Park free fan festival at Millennium Park in Chicago on Sunday.

Savard, 57, had 1,338 points (473 goals, 865 assists) in 1,196 career games over 17 seasons in the NHL; he played for the Blackhawks from 1980-90 and 1995-97. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2000.

Bourque, 58, played 22 seasons in the NHL; he played for the Bruins from 1979-99. He scored 1,579 points (410 goals, 1,169 assists) in 1,612 career NHL games and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004.

Bourque called the annual Winter Classic "fabulous."

Video: Bruins, Blackhawks fans enjoy NHL Winter Classic Park

"It's an incredible experience for players and their families," he said. "I've played in [three] outdoor games as an alum, and they're a lot of fun. Our games are a lot slower, but it's great."

Savard and Bourque grew up in Montreal and fondly remember honing their skills on the outdoor rinks there.

"We were out there every single day with our friends, meeting up after school, on weekends," Bourque said. "You were working on skills without even knowing it. You're just having fun with your buddies. It had so much to do with us becoming, I think, who we've become in terms of our careers playing hockey."

Savard said there was too many players and not enough outdoor rinks, so there would be three separate games played on one sheet of ice.

"Some nights, if you got there early enough, you'd get the nets. If you were late, you'd go cross-corner," Savard said. "We all had different colored jerseys, but I knew the four guys I played with and the five we played against. I say to everybody, that's where I learned how to play the game the real way, about skill, about playing with your head up, because you had to. There were games going on in all different directions."

The Bruins (21-14-4, 46 points) hold the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Blackhawks (15-20-6, 36 points) are seven points behind the Dallas Stars (20-16-3, 43 points) for the second wild card from the West.

"The game should be exciting," Savard said. "It's a great day for hockey. I know there have been a lot of [outdoor games], but I still think it's the place to go and the place to be, so it's exciting."

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