The Bruins were looking sharp, both on and off the ice, at the Winter Classic
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Winter Classic was one for the team scrapbook.
After a memorable 4-2 win over their Original Six foes, the Blackhawks, the Bruins posed for one of the most unique NHL team photos ever captured.
Outside 88-year-old Notre Dame Stadium, they wore clothes that looked even older.
They had just changed out of their 1930s-inspired alternate uniforms with the big block-letter “B,” and stepped into garb from 1920s England: topcoats and three-piece suits, flat caps and fedoras, and lots of wool and tweed.
Patrice Bergeron, eye for detail sharp and timing ever perfect, wore a pocket watch and added a newsboy hat, which in his adopted hometown of Boston is called a scally cap. Zdeno Chara, looking like the top henchman of Bill the Butcher, wore a fedora and long brown coat.
It was a coordinated effort, born on Halloween when a group of young Bruins players dressed up like gangsters from the BBC drama series “Peaky Blinders,” about post-World War I British mobsters. The veterans got wind of it by the end of the night, when many fuzzy decisions are made, and decided that this would be a heck of a thing to do for the Winter Classic.
They followed through on it, though. Defenseman Torey Krug enlisted the services of a tailor, who helped outfit most of the team. Every player arrived at work Tuesday looking like proper gangsters.
Bruce Cassidy, who wore a corduroy varsity jacket along with the rest of his coaches, had no pregame plans to wear a fedora, as did former coach Claude Julien in the 2010 Fenway Winter Classic. Cassidy preferred to leave the sartorial snazziness to his players.
But by puck drop, Cassidy had borrowed Brandon Carlo’s brown fedora, and it was perched atop his head.
“I took a chance,” he said. “I’m not usually a fashionista, so I don’t know how it looked, but what the hell.”
Krug hoped the look would catch on.
“Look good, feel good, play good,” he said, smiling under his sharp gray scally. “You have a little bit of swagger, I think it bleeds into your game.”
Plenty of pomp
Also seen and heard in the land of the Fighting Irish:
Bruins legends Cam Neely, Ray Bourque. and Johnny Bucyk were introduced before the national anthem. On the Chicago side: Denis Savard, Tony Esposito, Bobby Hull (in a wheelchair), and Jill Mikita, the wife of the late Stan Mikita. Tim Brown, the 1987 Heisman Trophy winner for the Fighting Irish, dropped the first puck.
The band Weezer played a concert after the first period, and the South Bend Symphony Orchestra, a 22-piece ensemble with brass, reeds, percussion, and seven stringed instruments, played the Notre Dame fight song (“Victory March”) as the teams walked together out of the tunnel. Chicago singer Jim Cornelison belted a stirring rendition of the anthem, after which four A-10 Thunderbolt II planes flew over the stadium.
“When the crowd started cheering at the anthem,” Kuraly said, “I think we all got chills. It was pretty cool to look around and take in a little bit of it, because who knows how many, if any of us, will play in any of these games again.”
Notre Dame’s mascot, waving a flag and skating between the teams lined up on the blue line for the anthem, caused a few laughs when he took a hard spill. After he leapt to his feet, several players tapped him with their sticks.
“He didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for him,” Kuraly said. “He’s got a bruised tailbone, that’s for sure.”
Neither team touched the outdoor ice before the pregame warm-up because of Monday’s steady rain, but they had some Irish luck on game day.
It was an overcast sky, no sun to blind them. It was 35 degrees at puck drop, no biting cold to chill them. No significant wind or precipitation. The ice was smooth for skating, and though players said a bit bouncier than usual, no one registered a complaint, and play did not stop so officials could patch any rough spots.
“It looked perfect,” Cassidy said.
Next men up
Speaking after the second period, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the next slate of big-time events.
Next season’s All-Star Game will be in St. Louis. The Winter Classic will be in Dallas (the Stars will host an opponent to be determined at Cotton Bowl Stadium). At Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., the Avalanche will host a Stadium Series game (opponent also TBA). The other outdoor game for 2020 will be in Regina, Saskatchewan (Flames-Jets in the Oct. 26 Heritage Classic).
Bettman said TD Garden would be in the mix for league events once renovations are complete.
With his 50th point in his 40th game, David Pastrnak (24-26) became Boston’s first 50-in-40 guy since Marc Savard (2006-07) . . . Defenseman Kevan Miller gave the Bruins 1:12 of 5-on-3 time early in the third, drawing consecutive minors (high stick, trip). The Bruins didn’t score, but finished 2-for-5 on the man-advantage. Chicago was 0-for-4 . . . The only NHL outdoor game to out-draw this one was the 2014 Toronto-Detroit Winter Classic, before 105,491 at Michigan Stadium . . . Rookie forward Ryan Donato and defenseman Steven Kampfer were scratched. Veteran forward David Backes was serving the second of a three-game suspension . . . Rask played in his 469th game, the most by a Bruins goaltender. He passed Ralph “Tiny” Thompson (468). Rask entered the afternoon with the top career save percentage (.922) in franchise history . . . Marchand on Pastrnak’s goal celebration: “I was a little thrown off. I’ve never seen him do that before. . . . You get a goal like that in a big game like this, you can do whatever you want.” Said Marchand after learning his linemate was copying LeBron James: “Well, Pasta and LeBron are very similar.”