An outdoors spectacle for the NHL by Joseph Wolkin

Drama, suspense, action and fast-paced confrontations combine to develop the core of  the NHL. But for the Winter Classic, an annual thriller for hockey fans throughout the United States and Canada, it’s a whole lot different than a regular game. This year’s match-up was no short of breath taking as the Rangers left Philadelphia victorious over the Flyers.
The hope of the program was to make a rise in TV ratings, bringing new fans into the sport. In matter of fact, with an attendance of 46, 967 people according to ESPN.com, the 2012 Winter Classic left it’s mark with the ninth highest attendance in the history of hockey and the fourth highest in the history of the NHL.

“It’s a normal game, but it’s played outside which creates a lot more enthusiasm,” said junior Michael Laut.

Even though it was delayed by two hours because of inclement weather, it just added more suspense to a traditional hockey game being played at a baseball field. The Rangers were the odds on favorite entering the game according to NBC broadcasters. Mainly because they won four games in a row entering the highly publicized event. Even though the Flyers may have one of the best lines in the NHL, they were no match for the Rangers as snow sprinkled down on Citizens Bank Park during the game.
With being surrounded by roughly double the amount of fans their accustomed to, players on both sides were fiercely awaiting to showcase their talents. As soon as the first whistle blew the two teams were clashing the boards like a category five hurricane.
Having two of the top three most penalized teams was a shoe-in problem according to NBC broadcasters. But in the first period only two players were penalized, Matt Carle of the Flyers and Brad Richards of the Rangers.
The teams weren’t doing much scoring in the first period, but when the second period came they were at it like the end of the world was nearing. Three goals were scored in a matter of two minutes and twenty five seconds. An unfortunate turn for the Rangers, but a fan favorite in Philadelphia. The crowd was soaring under the spectacle of the Flyers beating the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately for them, the Rangers had what it took to win after all. With much doubt heading into the third and final period, the Rangers rallied early with goals by Mike Rupp and the game winning goal by Richards just five minutes into the period. Hendrik Lundqvist’s 34 saves were just the right amount to edge the Rangers over the Flyers.
Since 2008, two different teams have faced off in a brutal outdoor match as opposed to the usual indoor games. Ratings for the Winter Classic have been outstanding the past several seasons. According to NBC, it has averaged about 4.1 million viewers from 2008-2011, an astonishing mark for a sport with not as many viewers as it deserves. But for this one game, much suspense was made as fierce rivals were at it again.
“Well it’s the only game that they play outdoors and played on a bigger hockey rink, plus so much hype is made about it. It just gets any die hard fan excited,” said sophomore, Alec Goldenberg.
As Goldenberg stated about the hype of the game, in the weeks leading up to the Winter Classic, HBO used its series “24/7” as a way for fans to see the actual preparations for the game. The show shared inside access to the Rangers and Flyers’ players, coaches, etc, gearing fans up for a game. Not only did it provide locker room clearance to viewers, but it offered fans the opportunity to know players personally through family outings and personal triumphs or failures on the ice.
The Winter Classic proved to be what it is. A game to show fans how incredible hockey truly is. An astonishing effort by all the players on both sides leading up to the game showed what hockey is really about.

Top players on the New York Rangers Top players on the Philadelphia Flyers
Ryan Callahan (Right Wing) Danny Briere (Center)
Brandon Dubinsky (Left Wing) Claude Giroux (Center)
Marian Gaborik  (Right Wing) Jaromir Jagr (Right Wing)
Dan Girardi  (Defenseman) Sergei Bobrovsky (Goalie)
Marc Staal (Defenseman) Scott Hartnell (Left Wing)
Brad Richards (Center) Matt Carle (Defense)
Hendrik Lundqvist (Goalie) Chris Pronger (Defense)
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