Winter Classic: Bruins squeeze past Penguins at Fenway Park

The NHL's preeminent regular season game was another glowing success in one of the most popular baseball stadiums in North America.

The Boston Bruins just edged out the Pittsburgh Penguins on a pair of goals by Jake DeBrusk in front of a packed Fenway Park in the 2023 Winter Classic. (Getty Images)
The Boston Bruins just edged out the Pittsburgh Penguins on a pair of goals by Jake DeBrusk in front of a packed Fenway Park in the 2023 Winter Classic. (Getty Images)

The 2023 Winter Classic was always slated as one of the marquee games of the regular season and this year’s outdoor game exceeded the hype.

The league-leading Boston Bruins hosted the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park, and the event operated as a celebration of the city’s storied sports history overall.

Pittsburgh drew first blood when Kasperi Kapanen shelfed a sweet chance out front in the second period. Jake DeBrusk would bring Boston level in the third period before stuffing home the game winner with just over two minutes remaining.

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Evgeni Malkin came within milliseconds of sending the contest to overtime when he beat Linus Ullmark through the wickets, but his attempt was clearly too late, and the Bruins poured onto the ice to celebrate.

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Here are the best moments from this year’s Winter Classic.

Red Sox and Bruins legends commemorate the event

It seemed inevitable that when the Bruins were announced as the host of this year’s game, there would be a larger invitation extended to the community as a whole. And to no surprise, Bobby Orr, Johnny Bucyk and Zdeno Chara all showed up, to the delight of Bruins fans.

But it wasn’t just members of Stanley Cup-winning Bruins teams that were invited to the part. Former Red Sox legends Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield also took to the ice during the pre-game ceremony and received a raucous ovation.

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The drip was spectacular

Fenway Park is one of the most iconic venues in baseball history, and both teams leaned into the baseball angle in a clever way.

Boston took warm-ups in vintage Red Sox jerseys, while Pittsburgh honoured the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates with their pre-game fits.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron told NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond that the team started discussing the Red Sox throwbacks when the game was announced last year.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan revealed that there wasn’t a coordinated effort between both teams to wear the baseball retros, but it looked awesome. It’s something we need to see more of. Here are some looks at the Bruins and Penguins’ throwbacks.

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Red Sox fans use the moment to roast owner John Henry’s frugality

John Henry owns the Red Sox and through his Fenway Sports Group, is the majority owner of the Penguins as well. Henry was on hand to see his hockey team play at his baseball team’s venue. You would think he would be safe. But no craven capitalist is safe from the vitriol of the American public in 2022 amid several economic recessions, along with his own unwillingness to spend on the Red Sox.

Factions of the Red Sox fan base detest Henry for not allocating any funds in an attempt to re-sign former homegrown superstar Mookie Betts. Betts was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Red Sox haven’t meaningfully competed for a World Series since their last triumph in 2018.

Rafael Devers, the Red Sox’s current superstar, is up for a new contract. Red Sox fans let Henry hear their fears about allowing Devers to potentially walk, without much of a fight.

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NHL announces Kraken-Golden Knights for 2024 Winter Classic

The annual Winter Classic often works as a window for the NHL to celebrate its past, and create new traditions borne out of old rituals. It was announced that the 2024 Winter Classic will be played by the Seattle Kraken and the Vegas Golden Knights in Seattle on January 1, 2024.

It’s an excellent decision by the league to award the game to the league’s two newest franchises. Commissioner Gary Bettman has a point of emphasis of expanding the league’s presence in the U.S. west coast, and this is a natural extension of one of the few promises he’s actualized.

Vegas currently sits atop the Pacific Division, while Seattle is in fourth, fighting for a playoff spot. There’s reason to believe that both teams will be better next year. And now, virtually every team in the league has played in the NHL’s preeminent regular season contest.

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