Six members of the Hockey Hall of Fame will lace up the skates when alumni from the Philadelphia Flyers
and New York Rangers
take the ice for the 2012 NHL Winter Classic Alumni Game.
The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 31, on the same outdoor rink at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park that will host the 2012 NHL Winter Classic on Monday, Jan. 2.
Among those playing for the Flyers will be Hall of Famers Bob Clarke and Bill Barber
, who will reunite with linemate Reggie Leach to re-form the LCB Line, which combined for 141 goals and 322 points in the 1975-76 season.
Clarke believes it will be the first time the trio -- which led the Flyers to the 1975 Stanley Cup and back to the Cup Finals in 1976 and 1980 -- will be on the ice together since Leach left the Flyers after the 1982 season.
"Reggie hasn't lived (in the Philadelphia area) for a while," Clarke told NHL.com, "and Billy, because of his knee, he never played any alumni games. I don't know if we have since we quit playing.
"A lot of great memories we had as a threesome. I think it'll be a neat reunion. But I think it'll be just as neat to sit in the locker room with one another."
Joining Clarke, Barber and Leach for the alumni game from that 1975 Cup team will be teammates Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrachuk
, Larry Goodenough
and Joe Watson
Other former Flyers of recent vintage to take the ice will be Mark Recchi
, who retired in June after winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins, but who spent 10 of his 22 NHL seasons with the Flyers; Hart Trophy winner Eric Lindros
; three-time 50-goal scorer John LeClair
; and 500-goal scorer Jeremy Roenick
Among the defensemen on the roster are 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mark Howe
, Derian Hatcher
, Eric Desjardins
and Chris Therien
"This game is really about the fans," Therien, who played 11 seasons for the Flyers and currently is the team's radio analyst, told NHL.com. "It's about giving back to the fans, letting them experience some of the generations they've watched over the years. And it's an opportunity to really rekindle some relationships with some of the former players I played with, guys I've known around the organization. I think it's one the fans look like they're all excited about, and rightfully so. I think it’s a really good time. I know the players involved are all equally excited."
Therien said one of the selling points to him will be reuniting with Desjardins, who he formed a strong pairing with together during most the decade they spent as teammates.
"Having the chance to lace them up with my old partner, Desjardins, which is going to be just a great experience," he said. "I'm going to try not to let him down too much. But it'll be a nice chance in a unique setting to play with a guy who I spent so many years with and respected so much."
and Neil Little
will be in goal for the Flyers.
, who coached the Flyers to the 1980 Stanley Cup Final, will coach the Flyers' alumni team, with Mike Nykoluk
and Keith Primeau
serving as assistants.
Hall of Famer Glenn Anderson
, who won the last of his six Stanley Cups with the 1994 Rangers, will be on the ice, as will his teammate on that Cup winner, Hall of Fame defenseman Brian Leetch
. They'll be joined by forwards Adam Graves
and Stephane Matteau
from that championship team.
Also skating for the Rangers will be Hall of Famer Mike Gartner
; forwards Ron Duguay
, Nick Fotiu
and Ron Greschner
; and defensemen Dave Maloney
and Mathieu Schneider
The notably absent Mark Messier
has not officially committed to participate because he will be having shoulder surgery in early December. He hopes to be ready to play in time for the game.
Mike Keenan, who was behind the bench when the Rangers ended their 54-year Cup drought in 1994, will coach the alumni team, with Emile Francis
and Colin Campbell
as his assistants.
-- who also played for the Flyers -- and Dan Blackburn
will split time in goal.
The Rangers' website is reporting goaltender Mike Richter
is speaking with doctors and hopes to receive medical clearance to play in the game.
Three other members of the Hockey Hall of Fame -- Rod Gilbert
, Eddie Giacomin and Harry Howell
-- will serve as off-ice ambassadors for the Rangers. Hall of Famer Bernie Parent
, along with Don Saleski and Dave Schultz, with serve as off-ice ambassadors for the Flyers.
Clarke said there were a few Rangers he was looking forward to seeing, among them Gilbert, his teammate from the 1972 Summit Series, and Nick Fotiu
, a teammate in Philadelphia. He also was looking forward to seeing some of the players he watched from afar as a GM, like Leetch and Graves.
"Basically we're just old hockey players now," he said. "Doesn't matter when you retired. Once you're retired, you're just an old hockey player."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK