BOSTON -- Their team may have lost. The end of the game may have been controversial. For many, the view of the game may have sucked. But that doesn't mean Philadelphia Flyers fans who made the trek to Boston to experience the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park left too upset.
"Fans spent a lot of money getting out here," said Robbie Sharp. "It's cool that they did this, the way they acknowledged the fans with the stick raising at the end there." He went on to say the Flyers deserved the win, while his son Corey added that they had their chances at the end but couldn't finish it out.
"They need to stop taking stupid penalties at the end of games," said Billy Maney. "Still, it was a great time, even though they lost. Still a lot of fun." Maney asked me to take a photo of him and a friend with Fenway as the backdrop before I walked away.
One fan, decked out in a pre-lockout era Flyers home jersey with Mark Recchi's number eight on the back, doesn't think it's all that fair that his favorite player scored the game-tying goal for the other team.
"Recchi's goal should've counted for us," said Matt, a 20-something fan from Philly, as he turned around to strike a sad pose with his apparel. His friend, Mark, agreed. "Mark Recchi. He's a Flyer." Mark went on to say how they couldn't see too much from right field, but that they enjoyed the experience just the same.
"It was fun out there though, the atmosphere. I wish Fenway was a little newer, maybe a big screen or something I could look at," adding that he wasn't really afforded a good view from the video boards in center field and behind each goal. "All the Flyers fans, all the Bruins fans getting together. It kinda seemed like a mixed crowd. Flyers fans were maybe even louder, expect for maybe those last couple goals." Matt laughed. "[Bruins fans] probably took it up a notch then."
Matt went on to talk about the Dan Carcillo fight with Shawn Thornton in the first period.
"I saw it from the hot dog line," he said. "Completely dominated. We were with him [New Years Eve] in the hotel lobby, the hotel bar area. He guaranteed us the first Winter Classic fight. We said there's never been one, and he said 'I'll take care of that.' It was about one in the morning, he had a few beers in him."
"We were excited," said Michelle Kennedy of Pitman, NJ about Carcillo dropping the gloves. She brought her young son to Boston for the game. It was his Christmas present. "We were on the subway and all the Boston fans said 'oh, there wont be any fights.' We said 'yeah, there will be! It's the Flyers! Don't you worry.'"
During the second intermission, I wandered across the field to the top of the Green Monster, where there were several Flyers banners draped over the seating there. I got down to the first row, where a bunch of fans were gathered around a Flyers blanket they were using as a banner. The man I spoke to was a season ticket holder who picked up a killer deal on his ticket.
"Not too bad, about 250," he said. Scalpers were selling Green Monster tickets, which afforded an unbelievable view of the game, for between 1,000 and 3,000 dollars. He's a Flyers season ticket holder and picked up his tickets through the team, and when I told him that his view was better than mine on press row -- which was damn good -- he said he had an extra ticket and offered me a spot.
As I left the Monster and proceeded back toward the press area, I spotted Shawn Hill, the infamous dancing guy who graces the Wachovia Center with his moves during the third period of every game. I asked him what he was doing just standing along a fence at the bottom of the steps that lead up to the giant green wall.
"Trying to get up there," Hill said. "They won't let me through." He was trying to dance atop the Monster during the third period. I informed him of the extra seat the guy in the first row had, and that the path I took to the top of the wall happened to be void of security personnel. I wished him luck and headed to the media workroom to grab a bite to eat before returning to press row on the other side of the stadium.
As I exited the work room, chicken sandwich in hand, I saw Hill standing with a female companion, waiting in line for an elevator. He gave me a thumbs up and I smiled. When I got back to my seat in the press box about 15 minutes later, I glanced at the TV that was tuned to NBC to see Hill atop the Green Monster, right there in that extra seat, dancing his heart out.
I approached one fan in a Mike Richards jersey during the first intermission. He was roaming aimlessly around the fifth level, which is as high as you can get and just outside the press area. I asked him how he was enjoying the game.
"I'm pissed," he told me. "I'm sitting out there in the bleachers and that NBC tower is right in my way. I can't see anything." When I asked him how much he paid for his seat, he shrugged me off saying "too much" as he walked away. This fan was the anomaly, though. Most fans in attendance had obstructed views but still left the ballpark happy, even though the Flyers are moving on with a loss.
"We were 17 rows off the field in section 43, just to the left of the awning," said Kennedy. "The players [on the bench] were standing so you couldn't see the far end of the ice." When asked if it was worth it though, she quickly replied.
"Definitely, definitely. Once in a lifetime opportunity, once in a lifetime."