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Charlie Coyle talks about his Winter Classic experience, meeting NHL legends and more.

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Following their 2-1 triumphant defeat over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Fenway Park on Monday afternoon, Boston Bruins forward Charlie Coyle wrote a blog discussing the game, their decisions behind wearing the Red Sox jerseys and seeing legends Bobby Orr and Johnny Bucyk.

Coyle, 30, started playing for the Bruins in 2018-19.

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Here is Charlie Coyle's blog in his own words:

"What a great experience. Being on both sides as a fan and player, I feel very lucky to have been a part of this, so I'll walk through the past 24 hours or so.

After the family skate at Fenway yesterday, we went back to TD Garden and had food there, so everyone and their families were in one big room, kind of mingling. I left with my family after dinner, then we all stayed at a hotel last night.

We had our team meetings at the hotel, where we also got those 1930s Red Sox uniforms. We all went up to our rooms separately and tried them on, looked in the mirror to make sure everything looked decent. I don't remember whose idea it was to go out in the old Sox jerseys, might have been Bergeron, but we all jumped at the idea.

After getting a good night's sleep and eating breakfast, I put on the uniform, went down and saw a couple other guys that looked like me and rolled with them. We were getting some funny looks from people, like, 'What's this guy wearing?'

Growing up outside Boston, it was pretty cool wearing an authentic Red Sox jersey, although I wasn't much of a baseball player growing up. I was doing my best to kind of just stay grounded because there's a lot going on in the stadium.

My family was here, including my parents, Chuck and Theresa; my sisters, Jillian and Jessica; and their fiancés, Scott and John. I also got tickets for a bunch of aunts, uncles and cousins. I don't know where they were sitting, and I didn't bother looking for them, so hopefully they had a good time.

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I definitely had a good time during the pregame ceremony, seeing Bruins legends Zdeno Chara, Johnny Bucyk and Bobby Orr out there with former Red Sox players Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. I didn't get to talk to them, they kind of kept their distance because there was a lot going on, but seeing those guys from different eras coming together and doing that was pretty special, especially to be that close and witness that.

Varitek and Wakefield especially, being in Fenway. There are so many memorable moments to choose from watching them, like whenever they played the Yankees and Varitek's scuffle with Alex Rodriguez in 2004. That always comes up when you think about him, and Wakefield's knuckleball, I couldn't imagine trying to hit that. Going to games growing up and seeing them, I never thought I'd be a part of some event with those guys. That's cool to think about now.

After the ceremony, I was pretty energized, the adrenaline was kind of kicking in by puck drop. It's different than TD Garden because the crowd is far away. There's no one on top of you, no one is pounding on the glass, so it wasn't as hard to stay focused.

Getting into the game, I noticed a difference in the ice right away. It was a little choppy, but that's a given. We just had to play simple and get to our game right away. We're used to making quick plays when the puck's flat on the ice, but I could tell it was jumping a bit, so we were going D-to-D and over, but it wasn't the greatest game, and things got a little sloppy.

Being on the ice for Pittsburgh's goal, whether it was their forecheck or us double hitting it, there was a little turnover. I have to stop in the zone just in case of turnovers like that, but they made a quick play to Kapanen, and there's no chance for Ullmark on that. Not an ideal start, but I think our mindset was to get in there and make them cough it up and make mistakes, and hopefully something good happens from that.

That was the energy heading into the third period down one. We got great leadership here, and Nick Foligno stood up and kind of got our minds right. He said, 'Hey, we can't rely on our skill here all the time. We got to get back to Bruins hockey, the way we know how to play,' and that's nothing fancy. We say will over skill, and when we play that way, our game picks up where it needs to.

We took that to the bench in the third period, and when Jake DeBrusk broke through to tie it, it was huge. We wanted to hear the crowd erupt a few more times. My chance to tie the game went off the post, and you always wish those go in and you can contribute, but you can't get frustrated. We were doing things the right way, creating chances to turn the tide, and eventually Jake scored again to put us ahead.

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Jake's a kid who flies on confidence. Whatever guys are playing through mentally or physically, he just stays on it. I said to him, 'You're putting one in, I know you are,' and he said, 'Yeah, I know. We're going to come through.' He's come up with some clutch goals over the years, and he had two more today which was awesome to see.

At the end of the game, I wasn't quite sure if their last shot went in on time. There's only a few seconds left, and it was tough to hear the buzzer, so I was kind of nervous right then, but I saw a ref say no goal, and thank goodness it wasn't in time.

Finally coming off and seeing the fans still on their feet, we wanted to salute and acknowledge them. It was pretty cool, and something I'll always remember because you never know if you're ever going to do that again, walking off Fenway Park and having fans cheering for you, so I definitely took that in as best as I could."


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