NHL Winter Classic 2012: 3 Stars and 3 Bums

Andrew EideCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2012

NHL Winter Classic 2012: 3 Stars and 3 Bums

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    Another new year and another edition of the NHL Winter Classic has come and gone. This time the fans in Philadelphia watched their Flyers become the first team to lose two Winter Classics, as they fell to the New York Rangers, 3-2.

    There were plenty to like about this game—several great performances and some bum-worthy action.

    Normally we look at the three best and worst players of the previous week, but this week we offer a Winter Classic version of three stars and three bums.

    Who did you think shone bright during the game? Who did you think stunk up the joint?

    Here are you 2012 Winter Classic three stars and three bums.

Third Star: Claude Giroux

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    The Flyers star forward shone early and had one of the prettiest goals you’ll see indoors or outdoors. Giroux has been a marvel all season, and he seems to have shed all the symptoms of the concussion he suffered earlier this season.

    In the first period he had a nice mini break away only to be stoned by Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

    He made up for that in the second with a pretty top shelf backhand to beat Lundqvist and put his team up 2-0. That goal looked to be huge at the time.

Second Star: Mike Rupp

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    Playing in his second Winter Classic, Rupp got the Rangers on the board after the Flyers went up 2-0 when he beat Sergei Bobrovskry. He celebrated that goal by giving the Jaromir Jagr salute, which, depending who you root for, either was great or infuriating.

    Rupp wasn’t done, though, as he potted another big goal in the third period to tie the game at two. There was no salute the second time.

    The goal got the Rangers going, though, as they soon scored their third goal and never looked back.

First Star: Henrik Lundqvist

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    King Henrik was on his game from the beginning. As the Flyers came out of the gates the better team, Lundqvist kept the Rangers in it by stoning several great Flyers' chances in the first period.

    He stood even larger once the Rangers got the lead.

    After receiving some generous calls in the third, Lundqvist was great shorthanded and then, with ice in his veins, stopped Danny Briere on a penalty shot with 19 seconds left in the game.

    We've learned how smooth Lundqvist is off the ice by watching HBO's 24/7, and tonight we got to see that he is equally as smooth on it. But, of course, we've known that for quite a while.

Third Bum: National Anthems

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    You would hope that the NHL would bring out some better talent for a marquee game, such as the Winter Classic.

    First off, to sing the Canadian national anthem, they brought out someone they claimed had multiple Grammy nominations. We still aren’t sure who she was, or what her name is, and although she did an OK job with the song, we were still left unimpressed.

    Then Patti Labelle came out to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.  Everyone has heard of her, and everyone was shocked at how bad she sounded.

    Granted the song is a tough one, but this is the Winter Classic, and you need to bring your A-game.

    Whomever booked these singers gets a hearty, "You bum."

Second Bum: Sergei Bobrovsky

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    It seems the Flyers can’t escape goalie issues. They thought they had when they signed noted philosopher Ilya Bryzgalov.

    Bryzgalov ruffled some feathers by announcing he wasn’t going to start the Classic, as Bobrovsky had been playing better of late.

    Bobrovsky had very little action early in the game but then seemed to fight the puck the rest of the night. Rupp’s second goal, which tied the game, was pretty weak, and the go-ahead goal scored by Brad Richards wasn’t a whole lot better.

    Do the Flyers now have a goalie controversy? Bums.

First Bum: Officials

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    After calling nothing for the first 50 minutes of the game, the officials made their mark late.

    There was a terrible delay of game penalty on Ryan McDonagh, who apparently was penalized for being checked into his own net. That was followed by a bizarre double call on Ryan Callahan, who appeared to have an easy shot at the empty net.

    Then, with the Flyers on the prowl for the equalizer, the ref somehow decided that McDonagh covered the puck with his glove while in the crease. The replays weren’t conclusive, and the Flyers were awarded a penalty shot with 19 seconds left.

    The officiating at the end had a certain NBA let’s-even-things-up smell to them that opened the door for people to start yelling, “Conspiracy."

    The NHL can do better than that. Bums.