NEWARK — As he did for the 2010 edition, Bobby Orr will return to Fenway Park for the festivities at this year’s Winter Classic.
Orr, who turns 75 in March, is the biggest name on a roster that includes former Bruins captains Zdeno Chara and Johnny Bucyk, Red Sox greats Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek, and musical acts the Black Keys, Bell Biv DeVoe, and the Boston Pops.
Television coverage of the Winter Classic begins at 2 p.m. Monday on TNT.
Between the game rink, which is laid out between first and third base, and the Green Monster is a baseball diamond-shaped ice rink that includes a faceoff circle at the pitcher’s mound. That’s where the fan favorites will drop first pucks rather than throw out first pitches.
Were rain not in the forecast, perhaps Orr, Chara, Bucyk, Wakefield, and Varitek would be lobbing snowballs. Frozen rubber will suffice.
While the Bruins and Penguins will try to earn 2 points, local skaters will be going for glory on the ice diamond earlier. Players ages 7 to 11 from a long list of youth teams — Acton-Boxboro Youth Hockey Association, Boston Junior Eagles, Boston Junior Eagles U10 Girls, East Coast Wizards U10, Hyde Park Youth Hockey, Nashoba Grizzlies, SCORE Boston, and Westwood Mites — will play shinny hockey and baseball-themed games all afternoon.
Before puck drop, Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart will introduce the Bruins and Penguins as they head from their dugouts to the ice diamond. The Pops will play throughout the introduction and will serve as the house band throughout the game.
That means orchestral renditions of “Sweet Caroline” and other tunes. Bruins anthem singer Todd Angilly will lead the crowd in “Take Me Out to the Hockey Game” as an homage to baseball’s seventh-inning stretch.
The colors will be presented by Boston University’s Army ROTC, the Charles River Battalion, while 60 uniformed cadets from BU, MIT, and Northeastern will unfurl the American flag over the Monster.
Bell Biv DeVoe, the Boston R&B trio, will sing the national anthem with backing from the Pops. The pregame ceremony will include American Sign Language interpretation from Brice Christianson and ASL performance by Stephanie Hakulin, as well as a flyover from F-15 jets of the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The pilots, sporting the Bruins’ Winter Classic jersey, will fly north to south.
Rock duo the Black Keys will perform during the first intermission, with a portion of that performance to be shown on TV.
Monday will mark the NHL’s 14th Winter Classic and 36th regular-season outdoor game.
Regular fourth-line center Tomas Nosek sat against the Devils Wednesday because of a minor issue, Jim Montgomery said before puck drop. It was Nosek’s first DNP of the season (3-4–7 in 34 games).
“It’s maintenance,” the Bruins coach said. “It’s nothing serious. We just don’t want to play him on a back-to-back.”
That caused a shakeup in the Bruins’ bottom two lines. Trent Frederic slid into Nosek’s spot in the middle, between Nick Foligno and A.J. Greer. Craig Smith, who played the night before in Ottawa, filled in for Frederic as the third-line right wing.
In the first period Frederic fought 6-foot-6 defenseman Kevin Bahl, who is four inches taller. Both traded shots and were left standing after a long bout.
Frederic, who played center in college (Wisconsin) and in parts of three seasons with AHL Providence (2018-20), can replicate some of what Nosek brings. Though Nosek is the Bruins’ top left-handed faceoff man — his 58.3 winning percentage ranked eighth in the league entering Wednesday — and formed the Bruins’ No. 1 penalty-kill duo with Charlie Coyle, the Bruins weren’t hampering their fourth-line forecheck by making that swap.
“His ability to take away time and space when he’s skating, is really good,” Montgomery said, adding that Frederic had the most experience at center of the available options.
Montgomery was a bit concerned about Frederic (2 for 4 on faceoffs Wednesday) being rusty in the circle, but he knew Nick Foligno (2 for 2) would help if Frederic got kicked out, which he did at least once. Coyle (10 for 13, 77 percent) and Patrice Bergeron (10 for 16, 63 percent) were their usual selves at the dot.
Frederic, who had lost five of eight faceoffs this year before Wednesday, was running at 46.8 percent for his career. He is a better offensive producer than Nosek, delivering 6-7–13 in 31 games this season.
Back in the saddle
Just like last Friday here, Linus Ullmark drew the start in net, and improved his league-best stat line to 20-1-1 with a 1.90 goals-against average and .938 save percentage. … Smith, who played his second consecutive game, has one assist in the last two months (1-3–4 in 20 games) ... David Pastrnak (assist) tied a season low with one shot on goal ... The Bruins were 0 for 3 on the power play (four shots). They killed both penalties they took without allowing a shot.