Winter Classic 2023: Both Teams Bring A Wealth Of Outdoor Experience
The Penguins hold the edge over the Bruins in games played under the open sky thanks to team leaders Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin.
As we prep for puck drop on the 2023 Winter Classic there are some notes to review on the element experience brings to these games and their unique playing conditions. The advantage in outdoor game history sits firmly on the Penguins' side as they are routine headliners for the NHL's marquee stadium events. Being one of the league's premiere franchises for nearly two decades has earned them billing in these games repeatedly. In the last 20 years they've been involved in the original Winter Classic in 2009 in Buffalo, the 2011 Winter Classic at home in Pittsburgh, and three Stadium Series games: 2014 in Chicago, and a set of games against Philadelphia in 2017 at home and 2019 away. Their record in outdoor play stands at two wins and three losses. Leading the way in experience out of all players in this outdoor game is the duo who top just about every list for the Pens of any kind: Captain Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
Some quick hit-style info on the pasts of the Penguins and Bruins players in outdoor games is below:
-Fourteen current Bruins players & fifteen current Penguins have appeared in at least one NHL outdoor game (counting players with a minimum of 1 GP in 2022-23 and only those currently on NHL rosters).
-Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are tied for the most outdoor games played of any players in the 2023 Winter Classic with five each. All five games were played together as a duo too. This Winter Classic will make six games putting them just one behind all-time outdoor game appearances leader James van Riemsdyk at seven.
-Patrice Bergeron is the Bruin with the most outdoor game experience at four games played. The 2023 Winter Classic will be his fifth and his second game played at Fenway Park following the 2010 Winter Classic.
-Three current Penguins have played an outdoor game at Fenway Park before: Brian Dumoulin, Bryan Rust, & Casey DeSmith who all took part in the NCAA’s “Frozen Fenway” events in their college careers.
-Two current Bruins, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci have played in an outdoor game at Fenway Park during the 2010 Winter Classic. And Charlie McAvoy is another Boston skater who is a Fenway vet through a “Frozen Fenway” college hockey game.
-There are two key categories of matching Winter Classic rookies for both teams, however. Both head coaches, the Penguins' Mike Sullivan and the Bruins' Jim Montgomery, are making their Winter Classic debuts. The netminding duos for each team are playing their first Classic too, in addition to all four men making their NHL outdoor game debuts. This is the first outdoor game for each goalie pair: the Penguins’ Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith and the Bruins’ Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman.
NHL OUTDOOR GAME PLAYER STAT HISTORY
(WC= Winter Classic, SS= Stadium Series, LT= NHL at Lake Tahoe)
PLAYER | POS | GP | G | A | PTS | +/- | PIM | GAME(S)
Sidney Crosby (C): 5GP | 2G | 2A | 4P in 2008 WC, 2011 WC, 2014 SS, 2017 SS, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Evgeni Malkin (C): 5GP | 2G | 1A | 3P in 2008 WC, 2011 WC, 2014 SS, 2017 SS, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Jeff Carter (C): 4GP | 0G | 2A | 2P in 2010 WC (with PHI); 2014 SS, 2015 SS, 2020 SS (with LAK)
Kris Letang (D): 3GP | 0G | 2A | 2P | 2P in 2008 WC, 2011 WC, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Brian Dumoulin (D): 2GP | 0G | 1A | 1P in 2017 SS, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Jake Guentzel (LW): 2GP | 0G | 2A | 2P in 2017 SS, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Jeff Petry (D): 2GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2016 WC, 2017 NC (with MTL)
Chad Ruhwedel (D): 2GP | 1G | 0A | 1P in 2017 SS, 2019 SS (with PIT)
Mark Friedman (D): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2021 LT (with PHI)
Danton Heinen (LW): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2019 WC (with BOS)
Kasperi Kapanen (RW): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2018 SS (with TOR)
Marcus Pettersson (D): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | 2019 SS (with PIT)
Bryan Rust (RW): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | 2019 SS (with PIT)
Jan Rutta (D): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | 2022 SS (with TBL)
Jason Zucker (LW): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P | 2016 SS (with MIN)
PLAYER | POS | GP | G | A | PTS | GAME(S)
Patrice Bergeron (C): 4GP | 1G | 3A | 4P in 2010 WC, 2016 WC, 2019 WC, 2021 LT (with BOS)
Brandon Carlo (D): 2GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2019 WC, 2021 LT (with BOS)
Charlie Coyle (C): 2GP | 1G | 0A | 1P in 2016 SS (with MIN); 2021 LT (with BOS)
Jake Debrusk (LW): 2GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2019 WC, 2021 LT (with BOS)
David Krejci (C): 2GP | 0G | 2A | 2P in 2010 WC, 2019 WC (with BOS)
Brad Marchand (LW): | 2GP | 1G | 2A | 3P in 2019 WC, 2021 LT (with BOS)
David Pastrnak (RW): 2GP | 4G | 1A | 5P in 2019 WC, 2021 LT (with BOS)
Craig Smith (C): 2GP | 0G | 2A | 2P in 2020 WC (with NSH); 2021 LT (with BOS)
Connor Clifton (D): 1GP | 0G | 2A | 2P in 2021 LT (with BOS)
Trent Frederic (C): 1GP | 1G | 0A | 1P in 2021 LT (with BOS)
Matt Grzelcyk (D): 1GP | 0G | 1A | 1P in 2019 WC (with BOS)
Hampus Lindholm (D): 1GP | 0G | 0A | 0P in 2014 SS (with ANA)
Charlie McAvoy (D): 1GP | 1G | 0A | 1P in 2021 LT (with BOS)
Mike Reilly (D): 1GP | 0G | 1A | 1P in 2016 SS (with MIN)
OUTDOOR GAME EXPERIENCE BEYOND THE NHL
-Mark Friedman, 2018 AHL Outdoor Classic & 2015 Toledo Walleye Winterfest:
Friedman helped the Lehigh Valley Phantoms pick up a 5-2 win against the Hershey Bears during the 2018 AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. Friedman also had an assist for the Bowling Green State University Falcons in its 2-2 tie with the Robert Morris University Colonials during the Toledo Walleye Winterfest at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, Ohio, on Jan. 3, 2015.
-Ryan Poehling, 2017 World Junior Championship:
Poehling represented the United States in the first outdoor game in World Junior Championship history, in front of 44,592 fans at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Dec. 29, 2017. The U.S. earned a 4-3 shootout win against Canada.
-Danton Heinen, 2016 Batte on Blake:
Heinen had 1-1—2 as the University of Denver Pioneers picked up a 4-1 win against the Colorado College Tigers during the Battle on Blake at Coors Field in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 20, 2016. Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery was the Pioneers’ bench boss at the time.
-Bryan Rust, 2014 Frozen Fenway & 2013 OfficeMax Hockey City Classic:
Rust registered 1-1—2 as the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish suffered a 4-3 loss to the Boston College Eagles at Frozen Fenway 2014. Rust also recorded an assist in the Fighting Irish’s 2-1 win against the Miami University RedHawks during the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., on Feb. 17, 2013.
-Chad Ruhwedel, 2013 Frozen Frontier:
Ruhwedel helped the AHL’s Rochester Americans earn a 5-4 shootout win against the Lake Erie Monsters during Frozen Frontier at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y., on Dec. 13, 2013.
-Casey DeSmith, 2012 Frozen Fenway:
DeSmith made 28 saves in 61:29 as the University of New Hampshire Wildcats rallied from a 4-2 third-period deficit to force overtime before eventually falling to the University of Maine Black Bears at Frozen Fenway 2012.
-Brian Dumoulin, 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic & 2012 Frozen Fenway:
Dumoulin helped the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins pick up a 2-1 overtime win against the Hershey Bears during the 2013 AHL Outdoor Classic at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa. Dumoulin also skated with the Boston College Eagles in its 2-1 victory versus the Northeastern University Huskies at Frozen Fenway 2012.
-Assistant Coach Mike Vellucci, 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival:
Vellucci was bench boss and general manager of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers in its 2-1 shootout win against the London Knights during the 2013 Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., in the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.
-Trent Frederic and Jeremy Swayman, 2017 World Junior Championship:
Both Frederic and Swayman dressed for the United States in the first outdoor game in World Junior Championship history, in front of 44,592 fans at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Dec. 29, 2017. The U.S. earned a 4-3 shootout win against Canada.
-Charlie McAvoy, 2017 Frozen Fenway:
McAvoy scored a goal to help the Boston University Terriers earn a 5-3 win against the UMass Minutemen at Frozen Fenway 2017.
-Mike Reilly, 2014 & 2013 Hockey City Classic:
Reilly helped the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers get a 1-0 win against the Ohio State University Buckeyes during the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. Reilly also skated outdoors with the Golden Gophers in their 3-2 loss to University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers during the OfficeMax Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., on Feb. 17, 2013.
-Derek Forbort, 2013 Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice:
Forbort helped the University of North Dakota earn a 5-2 win against the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks during the Mutual of Omaha Battles on Ice at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb., on Feb. 9, 2013. He skated across from Pittsburgh forward Josh Archibald.
-Craig Smith, 2010 Camp Randall Hockey Classic:
Smith collected an assist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers in its 3-2 win against the University of Michigan Wolverines during the Camp Randall Hockey Classic at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis., on Feb. 6, 2010. He skated across from Wolverines forward Matt Rust, who is the brother of Penguins forward Bryan Rust.
-Head Coach Jim Montgomery, 2016 Battle in Blake:
Montgomery was head coach of the University of Denver Pioneers in its 4-1 win against the Colorado College Tigers during the Battle on Blake at Coors Field in Denver, Colo., on Feb. 20, 2016. Penguins forward Danton Heinen had 1-1—2 for the Pioneers.
Note: NHL PR contributed to this report.