The Winter Classic alumni game was a sell-out, packed with energy, and a massive success. There’s really no two ways about it.
To make things even better, the Philadelphia crowd got to see their home team win, taking down a group of past Rangers 3-1.
Below is a look at the most interesting moments from tonight’s contest.
Philly fans may still love them some Eric Lindros, but they ADORE them some Bernie Parent.
The introductions for the Winter Classic alumni game gave us a few interesting moments. After Eric Lindros’ strained departure from the Flyers in 2001, many were curious to know if Philly fans were left with a bad taste in their mouth, or if they still embrace their former star and his numerous great years with the organization.
They made it pretty clear it’s the latter.
When Lindros’ name was announced, the crowd stood, roared, and kept it going for a substantial amount of time.
The only person who got more love – and it wasn’t even close – was Bernie Parent. This man was greeted like a God.
It was a chill-inducing reaction. The man is a local legend.
2/3rds of the Legion of Doom hooked up for a beauty of a goal.
The Flyers were without Mikael Renberg, but that didn’t stop them from having success. The first goal of the game was scored on a goal that you could slip into a current day highlight reel and still be impressed.
Eric Lindros took the puck wide (on the ice he looks exactly like he always has, by the way) and John LeClair drove the far post exactly as you’re supposed to. Lindros zipped it back door to him for a backdoor tap-in.
And hey, when I say “zipped,” I mean zipped. He fired a rocket that most of us could never “tap-in,” which was really an off-hand one-timer. They looked like ten year olds (Lindros specifically) they were so excited to score.
Did I mention Bernie Parent shut the door and claimed first star?
They greeted him well, so he treated them well. Granted, he only played about 4.5 minutes of the game (seriously), but he made three stops – even going down a couple times – including a save on a breakaway opportunity. Again: special.
Mark Messier was roundly booed.
I’m not sure if there’s one specific reason for that, other than the fact that he’s a really famous New York Ranger, and Flyers fans don’t like the Rangers, but….man. They booed the hell out of Messier.
The good news for Messier: he appeared to be wearing one of his rocket-launcher-to-the-skull-proof helmets, so I don’t think anything, even that sound, could get through to his head.
Recently-inducted Hall-of-Famer Mark Howe scored on a penalty shot.
All infractions in the game resulted in penalty shots, and Mark Howe made one count on a nice, heavy snapshot.
Something about it was cool – after all the “is he hall-worthy?” debates, there was a sense of finality after he scored, even though it obviously didn’t mean anything. That may have just been in my head, but either way, after having his career debated so much recently, I’m glad he cashed in.
Our own Rob Pizzo got some great footage from fans and players alike at the game today – we’ll have it all for you in the coming days!
(Oh, and I tried too.)