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Preview: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs play the Centennial Classic

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Bravely our heroes go out of doors to play hockey!

2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images

Toronto at Detroit: Game number 36

Time: 3:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: A bumpy and rutted spot cleared out on Lake Ontario

Broadcast/Streaming: Sportsnet, TVAS, NBC, GCL (not blacked out)

Opponent SBNation Site: Winging It In Motown

This whole outdoor game business is all about nostalgia, so if you’re going to go for the nostalgia, go for it. The alumni game is where it all works.

Yesterday, the Detroit Red Wings Alumni beat the Maple Leafs Alumni in a game that was exciting and hard fought—nearly for real when Kris Draper and Gary Roberts got all up in each other’s faces. There was real goaltending; CuJo was good, but the Leafs couldn’t win it for him. (Speaking of CuJo, check out Frederik Andersen’s special pads for today’s game.) There were guys on the ice who still had it—Brendan Shanahan, for example, Tie Domi, Gary Roberts, Dave Andreychuk, Niklas Lidstrom, Igor Larionov, Chris Chelios.

But the best part was 69 year old Mickey Redmond and 65 year old Börje Salming who were still skating like they knew how to fly on the ice. You can read about Mike Palmeteer here as well. It was a fun game, and the Leafs put up a good fight.

Prior to the game, the Leafs organization set up the locker room to put the members of the team of today interspersed with the Alumni. It was a surprise to the players, and they reacted like the kids most of them are:

For some, it was a chance to learn about a part of the Leafs history they could relate to:

But is wasn’t just kids who grew up in Toronto like Marner, Brown and Hyman who met legends:

Toronto Maple Leafs

Forward Lines

(a guess at a home game alignment)

Zach Hyman - Auston Matthews - William Nylander

James van Riemsdyk - Tyler Bozak - Mitch Marner

Leo Komarov - Nazem Kadri - Connor Brown

Matt Martin - Frederik Gauthier - Nikita Soshnikov

Defence Pairings

Morgan Rielly - Nikita Zaitsev

Jake Gardiner - Connor Carrick

Matt Hunwick - Roman Polak

Goaltenders

Frederik Andersen

Antoine Bibeau

(Byron Froese, Josh Leivo and Frank Corrado are all on the roster right now, so hopefully they get a little heater for the “press box” at the game.)

Detroit Red Wings

Forward Lines

(from WIIM)

Tomas Tatar - Henrik Zetterberg - Anthony Mantha

Gustav Nyquist - Frans Nielsen - Thomas Vanek

Riley Sheahan - Dylan Larkin - Luke Glendening

Drew Miller - Andreas Athanasiou - Steve Ott

Defence Pairings

Danny DeKeyser - Xavier Ouellet

Niklas Kronwall - Brendan Smith

Jonathan Ericsson - Nick Jensen

Goaltenders

Petr Mrazek (starting)

Jared Coreau

Except, no.


Your weather forecast on the lake today at start time is 2°C and sunny with winds at 16 km/h from the SW. Sunset is at 4:52pm, so a lot of the game should be played under lights.

The Leafs are bringing a four-game winning streak into this game while the Red Wings are three points behind Toronto in the standings after they won their most recent game.

And now it’s time to get serious for a moment. Leafs fans, don’t make a drinking game out of every mention on the broadcast of how Auston Matthews grew up where it’s hot and has never played pond hockey. Your future health and well being is too important to waste on an ironic gesture of disdain. Your liver will thank you, and this way, you’ll remember more than the first few minutes of the game.

In conclusion: Go Leafs Go!