Unfortunately, this year, we cannot call this the New Year's Day tradition, as the NHL has decided to move the Winter Classic to January 2nd, which will be played with a number of other games in the day, but we'll still have ourselves some outdoor hockey on our day off to begin the calendar year.
At Citizen's Park in Philadelphia, the Flyers will play host to the New York Rangers, which has a great feel to the rivalry that exists between the two teams and when you factor in the HBO series, 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, we have been seeing the build-up to what could be a very hard-fought match-up on the outdoor stage.
It doesn't appear like we'll be seeing much snow fly in the air in Philadelphia, as the weather forecasts are calling for clear skies and some windy periods, but there could very well be a number of fists flying out there, which is probably much better for us fans watching from home. There have been some chippy games in this match-up already this season, so the national audience may get a treat... some old fashioned, gritty hockey.
In the draft this season, there are 27 players between the Rangers and Flyers that we can keep an eye on, two of which are injured and will not be playing in this game for certain (Chris Pronger and Marc Staal), not to mention only two of the goalies, out of four, will likely play a role outside, but that doesn't limit the points that could possibly come out of this game.
|New York Rangers||Philadelphia Flyers|
|Henrik Lundqvist||G||Stuart||Claude Giroux||F||Clayton|
|Marian Gaborik||F||Wes||Scott Hartnell||F||Scott|
|Ryan Callahan||F||Wayne||Jaromir Jagr||F||Scott|
|Brad Richards||F||Dale C.||Ilya Bryzgalov||G||Allan|
|Derek Stepan||F||Benson||Daniel Briere||F||Brenda|
|Artem Anisimov||F||Scott||Kimmo Timonen||D||Stuart|
|Michael Del Zotto||D||John||Jakub Voracek||F||Kristy and Don|
|Brandon Dubinsky||F||Jani||Matt Read||F||Scott|
|Martin Biron||G||Benson||Matt Carle||D||Dale B.|
|Ryan McDonagh||D||Wayne||James Van Riemsdyk||F||Scott|
|Dan Girardi||D||Brenda||Wayne Simmonds||F||Scott|
|Marc Staal||D||Wes||Sergei Bobrovsky||G||Scott|
Well, since Scott G.'s favourite team in the NHL is the Philadelphia Flyers, he stacked up huge on them and he should be considered the favourite to take the most points out of the Winter Classic, if it was indeed going to be a contest worth winning. Unfortunately for him, that isn't actually the case, so there really is no value in having the most guys in the game, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll get the most points either.
The names on the list may suggest that we could have a high-scoring affair and for the fan's sake, I hope we do see a lot of scoring in this game. Let's all hope that the ice conditions are what we would like to see and it works out to everyone's favour.