Morning Free Association: Happy New Year (Part Two)

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Happy New Year!

In 364 days, the Bruins will be in South Bend, Indiana taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in their third Winter Classic, the first one away from home. Even though it’s a year away, some members of the Bruins, WC veterans and uninitiated alike, are excited about it.

The Bruins were packing for the team’s trip to Brooklyn, N.Y. to face the New York Islanders on Tuesday at Barclays Center, but some of the focus was on the annual outdoor game because one year from today the Bruins will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium.

Before signing as a free agent in Boston prior to the 2016-17 season, Bruins alternate captain David Backes spent his entire career with the St. Louis Blues. He missed out on the 2017 Winter Classic between his former team and the Blackhawks at Busch Stadium in St. Louis last New Year’s Day.

So, he’s looking forward to Jan. 1, 2019.

“Only 365 days until next year’s Winter Classic, I guess Happy Gilmore would say,” Backes said with a laugh. “I missed one in St. Louis by a year. It’ll be a pretty exciting opportunity for all the guys in the room to be part of a spectacle like that; some of the guys in here played in a couple, but for the most part, from my reports from guys that have played in them, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you really need to soak up and enjoy and it’s pretty fun, so I’m looking forward to it. But, we’ve got a lot of hockey to play between now and then.”

Tuukka Rask is technically a two-time player in this game, even if he only suited up in the first one.

“It’s great,” Rask said. “It’s an interesting event. It breaks the norm a little bit. You’re used to the grind, going from hotel to the rink and it’s the same routine every day, but (Winter Classic) is different. It feels like a special event; media around it is much bigger. It creates an extra buzz for the players too and it’s the midseason point, so it’s good to have that break from the norm and go outside and have playing some fun playing outside.”

As for the aforementioned Backes, did you know that he was the NHL’s Third Star of the Week last week?

He had a good stretch of 3 goals and 3 assists in 3 games last week. That third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash, and Backes is on fire. And David is contributing on the power play as well. Of course, Backes knows that it’s not all him and wants to give credit where it’s due.

Keep up the good work, David. Score some more tonight in Brooklyn.

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