A Classic matchup at Gillette between Bruins, Canadiens

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A Classic matchup at Gillette between Bruins, Canadiens

FOXBORO --The Boston Bruins didn’t grab all the sports headlines of the day hearabouts, thanks to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

But the B’s did produce the most positive sports story of the day . . . thanks also, in large part, to the Patriots.

Robert Kraft made it two press conferences in the same day, representing the Pats organization Wednesday afternoon when the NHL formally announced the Jan. 1 Winter Classic match between the Bruins and Montreal Canadiens at the Pats' Gillette Stadium home.

The Bruins will be the first team in NHL history to host the Winter Classic twice. They played the Flyers at Fenway Park in 2010.

All the excited chatter Wednesday was about the historic rivalry between Boston and Montreal, two franchises that have played each other in more Game 7’s in the playoffs than any other two organizations in any of the four major professional sports leagues.

The Bruins and Canadiens have faced off 729 times during the regular season, tied for the most head-to-head meetings in NHL history with Chicago vs. Detroit. The B's-Habs 177 head-to-head playoff games and 34 postseason series are the most in league history, while their nine head-to-head Game 7s lead all teams in North American major professional sports (includes MLB, NBA and NHL).

Sounds like a compelling match for folks planning to tune into the NBC Network on New Year’s Day for a hockey game.

“I want to thank the Bruins fans for their enthusiasm and support because that’s truly what brought this wonderful event back to New England,” said Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. “I’m fully confident that our team will repay that loyalty with a big win over our friends from Montreal. I look forward to Gillette Stadium being a sea of Black and Gold on Jan. 1.”

Above and beyond the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also announced that a Bruins/Canadiens Legends game will be played on Dec. 31 between many of the B’s and Habs alumni that have made the rivalry what it is. There will also be plenty of events surrounding the Winter Classic in Foxboro, just as there were nearly six years ago at Fenway, and all those announcements will be made in the days and weeks ahead.

“When you think about sports franchises with traditions of excellence and success, the Boston Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens and the New England Patriots would have to rank at the top of any list,” said Bettman. “When you think about rivalries that perfectly summarize the excitement and passion of NHL hockey, the enduring legacy of the Bruins and Canadiens would merit lofty status as well. The 2016 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic will be the 910th regular-season or playoff meeting between these two clubs, but it will be the first one, however, played outdoors.”

Information on a pre-sale for Bruins season-ticket holders, Canadiens season-ticket holders and Patriots season-ticket holders will be sent to those groups by each club in the coming days. Information regarding ticket availability for the general public will be released at a later date.

Jacobs, Recchi, Andreychuk among HOF class of 2017

Jacobs, Recchi, Andreychuk among HOF class of 2017

New England has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame, pretty much. 

The Bruins’ owner, two former Bruins players and one Hockey East legend are among those announced to be enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. The full list: Dave Andreychuk, Danielle Goyette, Paul Kariya, Mark Recchi, Teemu Selanne, Clare Drake and Jeremy Jacobs.

Acquired from the Lightning at the 2009 trade deadline, Recchi played parts of three seasons with the Bruins, notably winning the Stanley Cup in his final season in 2011. Over 189 regular-season games for Boston, Recchi scored 42 of his 577 career goals. 

Andreychuk spent part of one season with in Boston, joining the B’s in 1999 but being moved to the Avalanche at the trade deadline of that season in the Ray Bourque trade. 

Kariya became the first freshman to ever win the Hobey Baker award, a feat he accomplished by putting up 100 points in his first of two years at the University of Maine. He got to triple digits again soon in the NHL, posting 50 goals and 58 assists in his second of nine seasons with the Ducks. He followed his Mighty Ducks tenure with stops with the Avalanche, Predators and Blues before retiring due to concussion issues in 2010. He finished with a point a game on the nose, putting up 989 points in 989 games.