To fans of the Philadelphia Flyers, the Winter Classic Alumni Game might just be more exciting to them than the actual NHL regular season game that'll take place outdoors on January 2. For fans of their opponent, the New York Rangers, the excitement for the old-timers game might not bring the same level of excitement.
The two teams announced their rosters for the outdoor Alumni Game, which will be held at 4 p.m. ET on December 31, two days before the Winter Classic at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. A complete list:
Forwards: Bill Barber, Bob Clarke, Jim Dowd, Orest Kindrachuk, Eric Lindros, Ken Linseman, Dave Poulin, Jeremy Roenick, Al Hill, Bob Kelly, John LeClair, Shjon Podein, Brian Propp, Reggie Leach, Mark Recchi, Rick Tocchet
Defensemen: Terry Carkner, Eric Desjardins, Larry Goodenough, Derian Hatcher, Mark Howe, Brad Marsh, Kjell Samuelsson, Chris Therien, Joe Watson
Goaltenders: Mark LaForest and Neil Little
Coaches: Pat Quinn (head coach), Mike Nykoluk and Keith Primeau (assistant coaches)
Ambassadors: Gary Dornhoefer, Bernie Parent, Dave Schultz
New York Rangers
Goalies: Dan Blackburn, John Vanbiesbrouck
Defensemen: Ron Greschner, Darius Kasparaitis, Tom Laidlaw, Brian Leetch, Dave Maloney, Dale Purinton, Mathieu Schneider
Forwards: Glenn Anderson, Paul Broten, Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Mike Gartner, Adam Graves, Pat Hickey, Kris King, Nick Kypreos, Darren Langdon, Stephane Matteau, Brian Mullen, Darren Turcotte
Coaches: Mike Keenan, Emile Francis, Colin Campbell
Ambassadors: Rod Gilbert, Ed Giacomin, Harry Howell
The Flyers roster consists of a ton of team legends. Both of the organization's Stanley Cup teams are well represented, three Hall of Famers, a few potential future Hall of Famers, and several former team captains. One of the most famous lines in team history -- the LCB line of Bob Clarke, Reggie Leach and Bill Barber -- will be reunited on the ice, as will two-thirds of the Legion of Doom line that dominated teams for years in the 1990s.
The only underwhelming thing from the Flyers perspective is the goaltenders, which is kind of fitting given that this is Philadelphia we're talking about here. Mark LaForest played just 38 regular season games for the club, and while Neil Little spent almost his entire professional career in Philly, he did it across the parking lot with the AHL's Phantoms. Little only played two games for the NHL club in his career.
As for the Rangers, there's the excitement of Brian Leetch and Adam Graves, but without Mike Richter, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky, the New York side of things doesn't carry the same luster as the Philly side. Messier still hopes to play, but that depends on recovery from an upcoming shoulder surgery. Gretzky will not play.
Of course, this all means that the Rangers will probably blow the Flyers out of the water. But that'll be seen on New Year's Eve. The best news of all, perhaps, is that the game will be broadcast live on television this year. Versus will pick up the full broadcast. In previous years, NHL Network televised a recap with expanded highlights and there was a live feed on the Internet, but there was no live coverage on television.