Another year has passed, and another NHL Winter Classic, also, has come to a close. And it was a great game that any hockey fan could appreciate.
It seems to me that the NHL has done a great job of fielding competitive and exciting games for the Winter Classics, and this one did not disappoint.
Walking away from the whole experience there are a lot of things to talk about—a lot of good, some bad and some ugly.
I thought Citizens Bank Park looked fantastic with a hockey rink in the middle of it.
And the NHL did a great job, as they do with all the Winter Classics, of making this game feel so special for player, fan, attendee and T.V. viewer alike.
The weather was a concern coming in, but it seemed to not have that big of an effect on the game, and the ice held up wonderfully compared to years past.
With a reputation of being rowdy, obnoxious and super passionate to their Philly teams, the Flyers fans were maybe the most quiet of any fanbase I have heard at a Winter Classic.
During the first period and through part of the second, it was almost as if they were bored with the great hockey being played in front of them.
I also thought the collective amount of booing going on toward the Canadian national anthem was particularly classless.
You guys do know Claude Giroux is Canadian, right?
First of all, I am sorry Canada.
Melanie Fiona absolutely butchered the Canadian National Anthem. I hate when pop stars try to put a twist on national anthems. Sing it how it is meant to be sung, please—straight forward with honor.
Fiona sang it like she was trying to do her best Christina Aguilera impression. And it was brutal to listen to.
I thought the first 55 minutes of the game were just fantastic. The first period was a good, hard battle between physical teams—neither giving away nor allowing anything to be taken away.
The second was highlighted with a flurry of goals. And most of the third was riddled with some great tension and back and forth pace.
Overall the game had a great pace to it, and both teams played pretty well.
Sadly there is going to be one subject that will dominate most of what happened in this year's Winter Classic.
And it will be the myriad of head-scratching calls by the officiating crew.
What was a great game turned into something you never want to see in pro sports: referees deciding the outcomes of games.
There were several poor calls that almost put Philadelphia back into the game down 3-2 including a highly controversial penalty shot awarded to the Flyers with 30 seconds left in the game.
It's pretty sad that some folks will walk away from this great game with a bitter taste in their mouth based on the controversy in the last five minutes.
Scott Hartnell obviously doesn't have a reputation as the cleanest or most respected of hockey players, but he did nothing to improve that reputation at the Winter Classic.
Hartnell decided it would be a good idea at the end of the game, after time had expired, to start a post-whistle scrum that started with a pretty bold shot on one of the Rangers players.
Hartnell doesn't see himself as a goon, but certainly everyone who watched this game on national TV and watched his antics after the final whistle will think otherwise.
Brayden Schenn has had a real tough go so far in the NHL.
Up until the Winter Classic, he has been sidelined with numerous injuries, had yet to record a point and was the center piece in a trade with the L.A. Kings that still has many fans spitting poison.
However, Schenn netted his first NHL goal, and it couldn't have been on a better stage.
Good for you, Brayden. Welcome to the NHL goal column.
I understand that the NHL had to fill the two-hour void caused by the pushed starting time. But a two-hour pregame was a little much.
It was not quite as ridiculous as the Super Bowl pregame shows (which I believe is scheduled to start in about 45 minutes), but it was getting there.
I mean who doesn't like two hours of Jeremy Roenick, Mike Milbury and Bob Costas...right?....Right?
No. 68 had a Winter Classic to forget about.
The Czech legend played more than seven minutes in the game before leaving to address an "equipment issue."
No doubt Jagr was injured, considering he played just two more shifts after the first-period absence—a sad way to make a mark on this big game.
Let's end this on a positive note.
Every dog has his day, and today, was Mike Rupp's day.
Rupp was named first star of the game and tallied two of the Rangers' three goals. Normally a player who does his on-ice talking with his fists, it wouldn't be surprising if these were the only goals scored all season.
It just goes to show you that any one player can make a difference in a hockey game, no matter how unlikely.