What do the Penguins Bruins players say about playing at Fenway Park?


“This is still one of the top 10, maybe even the top 5 moments of my hockey career.”

Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark walks down the locker room tunnel heading to practice before they play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic at Fenway Park. Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe

Within the past decade, a standard ice hockey rink has become a wintertime staple at Fenway Park.

Do not forget 2010 Winter Classic The Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers sit near the top of every list that ranks the NHL’s best outdoor games. The image of winner Marco Storm in overtime with a Green Monster background remains etched in Bruins lore.

David Craigie and Patrice Bergeron are the two remaining players from the 2009-10 squad. In front of a frenzied Boston fanbase, including a young Charlie Coyle, they each notched an assist in a 2-1 Boston win, with Craigie’s assist on Marc Recchi’s tying goal late in the third period, while Bergeron fed Storm into overtime. outcome.

“The last few days back at Fenway… it was definitely something I thought about,” Bergeron said after Sunday’s outdoor practice. “That’s what made it so special, right? The way it ended, fireworks and everything, was so special.”

The 2010 Winter Classic is just one of several memorable moments in the nearly 100-year history of the Bruins. The team will once again take part in the Fenway stage on Monday, this time against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With father time coming up, the 2023 edition will likely mark the last Fenway technical appearance for Bergeron and Krejci.

“They all have something special, right? The history of the stadiums we’ve played in speaks for itself. “It was my first one here, and I’m sure it might be my last. But, I still remember the first time we played here, and I’m still top 10, maybe even top 5.” [moment] In my hockey career.

Bergeron and Krejci remember the 2010 game very fondly. As does Penguins forward Jeff Carter, who scored a secondary on Danny Seifert’s first career goal to give Philly a 1-0 lead at 4:42 of the second period.

Carter also found himself on the ice for Recchi’s tag tying power play and Sturm’s clincher. Despite the difficult finish, the 25-year-old took in every nook and cranny, even against the less friendly frontier.

“It was so much fun,” recalls Carter, who will be skating in his fifth career NHL outdoor championship. “I was a little kid and I was trying to suck it all in and get out there and have fun and play.”

“I did not think [I’d get a second chance]. But here we go, Carter said. “It’s very special. It’s an amazing place.. It’s historic, right? So I feel very lucky that I let him two [games at Fenway]. “

However, Fenway’s own hockey experience expands beyond Bergeron, Krejci, and Carter.

A handful of men’s and women’s teams from local youth leagues, colleges, high schools, prep institutions, and adult leagues have had a golden opportunity to ice skate at “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.”

A handful of other penguins have also touched Fenway’s ice in the past decade. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin went 1-1 in 2010 and 2012 with Boston College against hot rivals Boston University and Northeastern. Goaltender Casey Desmith earned a nod for the University of New Hampshire against Maine in 2012. Forward Brian Rust scored for Notre Dame in the Irish tilt with BC in 2014.

The NHL’s saturation of outdoor games may have affected the fans’ viewing experience for some. The anticipation inside the locker rooms continues to intensify with each passing day.

Especially for Coyle, who’ll check out a bucket list item after getting a bird’s-eye view of winner Sturm atop a Green Monster.

“The Bruins win in dramatic fashion, and everyone is elated. It was fantastic. It’s something you’ll always remember,” Coyle said. “You just hope that one day you’ll be there and play in your own place.”

Unlike Coyle, Matt Grzelcyk never attended his third Winter Classic event. But he, too, was a ticketed spectator a week later during BC-BU’s first ever outdoor game.

Prior to that, Grzelcyk participated in the Fenway prep school opener in 2010. On his 16th birthday, the Charlestown-born Blue helped his Belmont Hill team overcome a multi-goal deficit against Saint Sebastian.

“It was my birthday night. It was 40 degrees, with light snow… exactly as I had dreamed of it weather-wise,” Grzelecik said. “The match went really well too. We were frustrated, but we ended up winning in extra time. Everything that happened before, all the excitement and having your family, that was the most special part of it. I’m looking forward to doing it on the biggest stage this time.” .

In fact, Grzelcyk will be bringing his family, including his father, John, a longtime member of the TD Garden bull ring who underwent treatment for prostate cancer in early 2022.

Grzelcyk also attended the first men’s college hockey tilt in Fenway, where he watched a future BU team earn a 4-3 win over BC a week after the Bruins-Flyers. After missing the 2014 BU Outdoor Game due to a separated shoulder, the 28-year-old is hoping to add another memorable moment to his hockey career.

So does McAvoy, who scored a goal in BU’s victory over UMass-Amherst during the 2017 edition of Frozen Fenway.

Unlike Grzelcyk’s first experience, McAvoy didn’t have much time to enjoy Fenway’s aura for the first time. After all, he was back on campus just hours before BU’s third trip to the Fens after leading Team USA to a gold medal victory over Canada during the World Junior Championships in Montreal.

“I remember coming back and being so tired,” McAvoy recalled. “I had a couple of days to be ok. Like, I don’t even know if we had rehearsed when we got back. We just ended up going there, and I remember it being really cold. A couple of hot chocolate and Gatorade for a pre-drink. I remember not being able to enjoy As much as I wanted, just because it was so fast and I was surrounded by so many other things.”

It wasn’t long before McAvoy traded his Scarlett and White blouse for black and gold. Just three months after his debut with Fenway, the Bruins signed their 2016 first-round draft pick for an apprentice contract.

Over time, McAvoy became Boston’s defensive anchor. He will skate in his third outdoor NHL game in five years after the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame and the 2021 Lake Tahoe Event.

Without too many distractions, McAvoy will cherish every moment about the Fenway environment.

“I’ll make sure this time I suck it all in,” McAvoy said.

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