Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 1/2/12

PHILADELPHIA -- The hype leading up to this year's Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park has been unbelievable. The attention the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers have received has been Stanley Cup-like, as the entire hockey world, as well as the outside sporting world, prepares for what has become an annual main event to bring in the new year. Head coach John Tortorella has done his best to keep his team out from under the microscope despite the HBO cameras following their every move and the additional media now suddenly crowding their stalls in the locker room. So far, considering how the team has performed to this point, he's done an excellent job of that.

However, like the coach admitted in his meeting with the media on Sunday, the hoopla surrounding his team and today's outdoor game is like no other his boys have ever faced before. He believes his team will not be distracted, but there must be some concern that the atmosphere may take over and veer the team in the wrong direction.

That being said, the Rangers caught a slight break on Sunday when a sudden goaltending controversy emerged on the Flyers end of things. As you should know by now, normal starter Ilya Bryzgalov went against team policy by announcing to the media that he would not be getting the start in today's Winter Classic, and then followed that up with a string of outlandish comments expressing his "feelings" on the decision. In a way, Bryzgalov made the entire scenario into a joke of sorts, especially when he later tweeted a picture of his now infamous thermos. This side-story quickly became the talk of the hockey world and turned the attention to the Flyers locker room, alleviating the Rangers of all the extra eyes at least for the time being.

The Rangers, meanwhile, took the ice yesterday afternoon for a very business-like practice in which those on hand reported coach Tortorella put the players through as in-depth of a practice as he normally would if the team were preparing for a normal game at their practice facility. The players went about their business, Tortorella was short and sweet in his post-practice meeting with the media, simply stating that his team's lineup would remain unchanged for today, and they then packed it up and left the stadium to gather for Sunday evening's team meal.

Peter Laviolette's club, on the other hand, held a much less serious practice in which the players were sort of soaking in the experience (even though many of them have went through it before), and then Laviolette was faced with question upon question about the goaltending controversy that had been created behind closed doors in the morning. Compared to the Rangers' day, the Flyers' was not routine, normal or as straightforward as they maybe had hoped it would be.

For this reason, the Rangers have sort of flew under the radar here in Philadelphia, while the Flyers are entering this afternoon's contest with a whirlwind of negative attention already surrounding them. The Blueshirts will obviously welcome any advantage that is presented to them with open arms, and in my mind, what went on with the Flyers yesterday most definitely favors the Rangers and their mindset going into the big game.

* Yesterday during the Rangers practice, back-up goaltender Marty Biron wore a small camera atop his mask while on the ice. NHL.com put together a quick collection of clips from Marty's perspective during practice:

 

* Hit the streets of Philadelphia last night (quickly learned why it is so often considered "Filthy" Philly), and apparently picked the right place for dinner. Upon the many members of the hockey world who showed up at the downtown steakhouse for a bite were Ranger legend Adam Graves, Ed Olczyk, Ruslan Fedotenko, and there at the table beside me was today's starting goalie for the Flyers, Sergei Bobrovsky. "Bob" showed up by himself, had a very quiet dinner by himself and, I'm not going to lie, looked to be a little nervous. At one point he made a phone call in which he had a concerned tone of voice. I'd tell you what he was saying, but unfortunately I cannot decode Russian.

Just a tidbit I thought was worth sharing. Check my Twitter for pictures and more.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gordon Hayward suffers gruesome injury in Celtics debut

Todd Frazier: Pressure is back on the Astros

Report: Court sides with Ezekiel Elliott, suspension lifted

Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic in hospital after practice fight with teammate

Ranking the 12 teams most likely to make the College Football Playoff

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joel Embiid calls minutes restriction ‘f—ing bulls—‘

Report: Meeting between NFL owners, players on anthem was very positive

Alex Smith calls Mike Mitchell hit ‘about as flagrant as it gets’

Chris Paul criticizes Clippers' culture, says he had ball too much

Ben Roethlisberger takes shot at reporter over Martavis Bryant rumor

Kyrie Irving will never divulge why he left Cavs: ‘That’s not what grown-ups do’

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

Nikola Jokic: A throwback superstar for the modern era

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

College football 2017 Week 7 predictions

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Old faces in new places' quiz

25 questions heading into the 2017-18 NBA season

The 'Sure do hope you have a backup plan in place' quiz

Tale of the Tape: National League Championship Series

Sports & Politics Intersect: White House looms large over sports world for another week

The 'A butcher, a Baker, a touchdown maker' quiz

Tale of the tape: American League Championship Series

Three Up, Three Down: Divisional Series brings both luck and heartbreak

The 'Adrian Peterson hopes to rise from the ashes in Phoenix' quiz

What's trending up, down so far in the NFL

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker