The Winter Classic game between the Bruins and the Canadiens on New Year’s Day was a novelty and a curiosity. There were 67,246 fans at Gillette Stadium, the game was on national television, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick even took a turn on a pair of ice skates the day before the game.
And Friday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he’d heard the idea floated that the Celtics might someday take one of their games outdoors, too. While that possibility remains a long way from materializing, it might be more than a pipedream.
Celtics president Rich Gotham said in a phone interview that he and Red Sox president Sam Kennedy have had cursory discussions in recent years about the Celtics playing at Fenway Park.
“I’ve gotten into it. I really do like the idea,” Gotham said. “I think if you can find a way to sort of differentiate the game and make it fun for fans, that’s a great thing. And the Winter Classic certainly does that. Even when Fenway stages certain events, like football games, it just makes it more special for people involved and the fans. I think if you can do it, great. At the same time, my job requires me to be pragmatic, so you’d need to look at the hurdles.”
Gotham said that he and Kennedy had informal conversations about a Fenway game a few years ago, and that the idea reemerged as recent events, such as the Boston College-Notre Dame football game, took place there.
The main and obvious obstacles, Gotham said, are weather and scheduling. The Celtics certainly would not play at Fenway in the dead of winter. And as New Englanders know, bitter chills can arrive early and end late, so that would mostly leave late October or early April as the most suitable options.
That is where scheduling issues would come into play, as the Red Sox could be competing in the postseason in October, and their regular season will be revving up in April.
A preseason game would probably be the safest route for at least an initial trial, because if the wind gusts were strong or rain showers arrived or some other issue arose, it would not affect the season. But Gotham said a preseason game would remove some luster.
“If you want it to be a really big event,” Gotham said, “then the preseason is less pleasing than a regular-season game, where there’s obviously more at stake.”
The Phoenix Suns played an outdoor preseason game at a Palm Springs, Calif., tennis stadium each year from 2008 to 2010. Of course, Boston is not Palm Springs.
In 2011 and 2012, a total of four college basketball games were played on aircraft carriers. But condensation developed on some of the courts and became a safety hazard and no games have been played on boats since then.
Celtics center Tyler Zeller was a member of the North Carolina team that played the first aircraft carrier game in November 2011. The Tar Heels faced Michigan State, with President Obama among the spectators.
“We had a little rain with like two or three minutes left in the game, but it wasn’t enough to make a huge difference,” Zeller said. “The first three or four minutes of the game were weird, just because you’re outside. But once the game goes on, you kind of get used to it, and it became pretty normal. It was an awesome experience.”
Zeller said he’d be in favor of playing at Fenway Park.
“It’d be cool,” he said. “Any time you can do a different venue is fun, and a really cool venue like Fenway would be awesome.”
“Logistically, I don’t know how they’d do it. But if they could figure it out, it’d be a fun idea.”
Gotham said that if the casual discussions with the Red Sox ever progressed to something more serious, he would consult the NBA about getting clearance.
“Whether or not there is a way, I don’t know, because it would be tricky,” he said. “But I’m a fan of those college games at those alternate venues. I think those are good for fans of the sport. I’m generally pro sort of thinking opportunistically.”
. . .
Celtics guard Avery Bradley will miss Monday’s game against the Nets because of a sore hip. Bradley suffered a hip contusion in the second quarter of the Celtics’ loss to the Nets on Saturday and sat for the rest of the game. He did not travel to Brooklyn with the team Sunday.
Marcus Smart, who recently returned after missing 18 games with a knee injury, will probably play more in Bradley’s absence. Smart’s playing time has been limited since his return and he has not regained his rhythm, but he played well in the fourth quarter Saturday, registering 5 points, 2 steals, and a rebound.
“I’m still working my way back, but I do feel better, a lot better,” Smart said.
“Hopefully, I can continue to grow and make steps toward my progress and healing.”
The Nets also lost a guard Saturday, although the injury is much more severe. Jarrett Jack suffered a torn ACL and a small medial meniscus tear in his right knee and he will miss the rest of the season.
■ When, where: Monday, 7:30 p.m., at Barclays Center.
■ TV, radio: CSN, WBZ-FM (98.5).
■ Scoring: Brook Lopez 19.8, Thaddeus Young 15.8, Joe Johnson 10.8.
■ Rebounding: Young 9.2, Lopez 8.7, Johnson 4.0
■ Assists: Shane Larkin 3.8, Johnson 3.8, Donald Sloan 2.2.
■ Head to head: This is the fourth and final matchup this season. The Nets have taken two out of the previous three games, including a 100-97 win Saturday at TD Garden as Lopez went for 30 points and 13 rebounds.
■ Miscellany: Nets guard Jarrett Jack suffered a torn right ACL and a torn right meniscus in Saturday’s victory, and will probably miss the remainder of the season . . . The Nets are only 3-8 in their last 11 matchups and are in fourth in the Atlantic Division.