Sunday’s clash between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Rangers is going to be a little more special than usual. Not only are they long-standing rivals potentially vying for the same playoff spot, but their Sunday matchup is outdoors at Yankees Stadium!
The Devils haven’t played in a Winter Classic yet, so this will be their first chance at outdoor hockey in the NHL on Sunday. The game’s national audience will have a chance to see a new team compete outdoors that’s anchored by an aging legend, goalie Martin Brodeur. This game may be the first for the organization, but it’s the third time for Michael Ryder, who played in the Heritage Classic with Montreal, and the Winter Classic with Boston. It will also be the second appearance for Jaromir Jagr who played in the Winter Classic with Philadelphia.
Certainly being out in the cold won’t be too much of a factor for players, including Damien Bruner and Bryce Salvador, who played pond hockey all the time as kids; this will just be the same thing on a much grander stage. Right winger Brunner said in an interview with Randy Miller on NJ.com that, “I can’t wait actually, it’s been a while since I played outside.” Defenseman Bryce Salvador echoed those same sentiments to Miller on NJ.com, saying “it was great” when describing a childhood of going outside in the freezing cold to play hockey.
While showing off his new mask, Brodeur told reporters he was looking forward to the outside game because “it is going to be different.” He also said, “Just being a part of it is going to be fun, it’s probably the last chance I have to perform in one of those so I’ll enjoy it.” Brodeur also remarked on how Saturday’s practice outdoors at Yankees Stadium will be a good indicator of how warmly he will have to dress when he’s in net for the Devils on Sunday.
This is sure to be a terrific day for Devils fans and players alike. Make sure you don’t miss a second of it! The puck drops at 12:30 on NBC with all the elements (pun intended) to turn this game into an instant classic.