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January 5, 2012 | 3:03pm ET
Bruins hoping for return trip to Winter Classic
By Shawn Hutcheon, Boston Correspondent
TheFourthPeriod.com

BOSTON, MA -- For hockey fans across the globe the NHL's 2012 Winter Classic hockey game in Philadelphia has come and gone with the hometown Flyers losing to the New York Rangers 3-2, but what will never be lost are the memories from the event.

In the 2010 Winter Classic, the Bruins defeated Philadelphia 2-1 on Marco Sturm's overtime goal at Boston's Fenway Park; home to one of Major League Baseball's fabled franchises, the Red Sox.

Ten players including Milan Lucic, Tim Thomas, Andrew Ference, David Krejci, Shawn Thornton, Daniel Paille, Patrice Bergeron, Tuukka Rask, Johnny Boychuk and Zdeno Chara remain on the Boston roster from that game.

On the morning of the 2012 event, members of the black and gold shared their favorite memories from the day hockey took over the home of baseball hall of famers Ted Williams, Carl Yastzemski and Carlton Fisk.

"Well, it's really a neat atmosphere playing outside," Tim Thomas said. "Being an American kid, I really appreciated playing in a baseball stadium because you had dual dreams growing up; you wanted to be a baseball player and a hockey player. To play in such a historic baseball stadium such as Fenway Park was really cool. Fenway had its own atmosphere and feel."

"From the technique side, it was a challenge because outdoor lighting is definitely different from what we've become accustomed to inside a hockey arena so that was one of my biggest worries going into it. It turned out that with the weather we had, kind of cloudy combined with the black under the eyes made seeing the puck a lot better."

It was a day Thomas will never forget for two reasons.

"That was a special day because we won in overtime and I was named to the (United States) Olympic team," Thomas explained. "It was one of the highlights of that year."

When an athlete is asked for his favorite memories from a particular game, nine out of ten times they will tell you whether the team won or lost. Such was the case with David Krejci when asked about the 2010 game, with a broad smile the 25-year-old center said, "I remember we won."

"I had family here for the game and they had fun. I had a great time on the ice and everything was great," Krejci continued. "I'd like to do it again some time down the road."

Shawn Thornton made the conscious decision to soak in the atmosphere before he stepped onto the ice.

"One of my favorite memories is coming out of the Red Sox dugout, being led out by Bobby (Orr). I was fortunate enough to be behind Z (Zdeno Chara) so I was the second or third guy out. It was a pretty cool experience. Playing in Fenway was special... coming out of the dugout, I looked up at the Fenway Park sign and took it all in for half a second. It was one of my top five hockey experiences of my life, for sure."

When asked if he would be in favor of playing in another New Year's Day event, the big winger was quick to answer, "Yeah, sure, I'd love to play in another one."

Thornton also suggested where he would like to play his next Winter Classic, "Well, not next year because the Rangers are in this one but I think a Bruins vs Rangers game in Yankee Stadium would be pretty cool."

Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien would not mind a return trip to hockey's mid-winter marquee match up either.

"It was a lot of fun," he said of the 2010 match up with the Flyers. "It was a really, really great experience for our hockey club... and maybe someday we'll get another crack at it."

Julien went on to sum up the purpose of the Winter Classic.

"We're trying to sell our game... it's not an issue in Canada, but we know there are some states that aren't as aware of hockey as others and we're trying to make it more popular so you try and sell it as much as you can," he said. "I think those kinds of things (annual Winter Classic events) do a really good job at promoting our game. It's a really unique thing and I think most people want to have a look at those things."

The Boston Bruins are happy, and proud, to have been one of the first teams to play in the yearly contest that began in 2008 and are hoping people will want take another look at them in a future Winter Classic.

Yankee Stadium, anyone?

Shawn Hutcheon is the Boston Correspondent for The Fourth Period Magazine.

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