If you haven’t noticed, the Winter Classic is days away. After your New Year’s hangover tune in on Jan. 2 for a classic match between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers. I won’t spew a bunch of numbers or stats, rather top reasons to watch:
1. Jaromir Jagr- legend in his own time for both his skill on the ice and off. Jagr was formerly the captain of the New York Rangers and took the city by storm with his skill, hair and partying. The classic hockey hair is the mullet of Jagr.
2. Henrik Lundqvist- called King Henry by his followers and fans who hate him, he is the best of the best in his craft of goaltending. Watch him make ridiculously spectacular saves in the face of sticks and pucks flying at his pretty face. He won’t flinch or cry at all.
3. Claude Giroux- one of the most talented skaters on the ice. The Flyers have a piece of hockey gold with this one and expect some skilled offensive play with his 46 points on the year.
4. GAS LINE- Marian Gaborik, Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan have made this line for the Rangers the buzz on the streets of Broadway and beyond. Watch and enjoy the cohesion and concept of offensive maneuvers these guys create.
5. Peter Laviolette- coach of the Flyers will look calm and cool compared to the other man on the Rangers bench. But don’t be fooled. Laviolette shoved Dallas Stars Steve Ott recently. He has turned the Flyers into a powerhouse of impressive players. It’s fascinating to watch the interaction on the bench and see how it transcribes on ice.
6. John Tortorella- on the other bench is Torts, the Rangers coach who will be shouting or hanging his head at some dumb move from the Blueshirts. His crew is young, talented, but not always the smartest. He’s entertaining for sure.
7. Carl Hagelin- this Michigan rookie is shocking the hockey community with his speed and go-to presence on the ice. New York fans are tough to win over, but he’s charmed them by the style of his play and his fabulous hair.
8. Brad Richards- has taken over as gossip column king dating Olivia Munn. His start with the Rangers was slow, but now he’s jump-started to produce almost every game.
9. The outdoor game- outdoor hockey games are the purest form of hockey. Can’t get better than that.
10. The rivalry- Only 90 miles apart, the Flyers and Rangers are fierce rivals. Bitter and promised to be a battle beyond last years Caps/Pens game.
Living in southern New Jersey, there is a split between Philly fans and New York fans. The Winter Classic 2012 represents Atlantic hockey in the eastern US and plenty of viewers will recall fond times when these two have met before. Families may be divided, friends may jeer against each other, but it’s all in good hockey fun. Happy New Year!!