Thursday, December 31, 2015

2016 Winter Classic Preview

Now that tonight's games are over, let us look forward to tomorrow's outdoor clash, as the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins go head-to-head at Foxboro Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.

This one really has the makings of a great game, in terms of the match-up, the importance of the game and just how many pool players are involved this year.  Of course, having 27 pool teams this season certainly helps the cause, doesn't it?

The Canadiens are struggling through some major injuries, especially to their number one goalie, which has seen them fall from a big lead they had in the Atlantic Division and now see themselves right in the thick of the race for the division lead, sitting just behind the Florida Panthers.  The Bruins, they are right behind those two and could find themselves in the lead, with any kind win over the Canadiens.

Let's have a look at the players chosen in the pool, shall we?

Montreal Boston
Mike Condon John R. Tuukka Rask Dale C.
Carey Price John S. Jonas Gustavsson Stacey C.
--- ---
Max Pacioretty Dale C. Patrice Bergeron Neil
Tomas Plekanec Jeremy David Krejci Dale B.
Alex Galchenyuk Dale C. Loui Eriksson Cindy
Dale Weise Stacey M. Brad Marchand Brian
Brendan Gallagher Derek & Dan Ryan Spooner John S.
David Desharnais Benson Matt Beleskey Brenda & Seward
Tomas Fleischmann Kristy & Don Jimmy Hayes Jeremy
Lars Eller Stacey M. Brett Connolly Mike
Torrey Mitchell Derek W.
--- ---
P.K. Subban Dale B. Zdeno Chara Brenda & Seward
Andrei Markov Neil Torey Krug Tony
Jeff Petry Stacey M. Colin Miller Eric
Nathan Beaulieu Cindy Dennis Seidenberg John S.

Players in red are injured, players in orange are suspended, players in blue are in the minors.

Dale C. and Stacey M lead the number of active players listed in this game, both teams having three players to hit the ice tomorrow.  Dale's team includes the projected starting goalie for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask.  It's unfortunate that the other two of his players are on the other bench, but that's the way it goes.  No one drafts for the Winter Classic.

What we do know for sure is that Brad Marchand won't be in uniform for this game, as his 3-game suspension kicks in tomorrow and what a poor time for that to happen.  This will strike one of Brian's players from the lineup, which maybe has more play in the PIM pool than the overall standings.  Also having some play in the PIM pool, was the announcement that Brendan Gallagher will be dressed for the Habs, returning from his broken hand.  Great news for Derek & Dan.

The money teams, heading into this game, have some presence or maybe it would be better to say, that only some of the money teams have a presence.

Brenda & Seward have a couple of key Bruins in the mix, which will keep it interesting for them.  Matt Beleskey hasn't quite been the force he was acquired to be, but Zdeno Chara keeps pounding away.

Jeremy has a player on either side, Tomas Plekanec of the Habs or Jimmy Hayes of the Bruins, both have some offensive upside in this game.

John P. is noticeably absent, likely because of his love for the Maple Leafs.

Neil, who has climbed up, back into the conversation, also has a couple players going on Friday afternoon, one on each side, Andrei Markov for the Habs and Patrice Bergeron for the Bruins.  Can he make the jump back in before the end of the week?

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