2012 Winter Classic

The guy who said he assaulted the Rangers fans didn’t actually assault them


The Philadelphia man who posted online that he was involved in an attack on a pair of New York Rangers fans following Monday’s Winter Classic was just joking.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the man – initially identified by broadstreethockey.com – is no longer a suspect and that the investigation is ongoing.

The man didn’t say what his next prank would be, presumably because that would ruin the hilarity.

HBO hits the high points in engrossing 24/7 finale


If the reception for last week’s episode of “HBO 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic”was relatively underwhelming, then the finale received rave reviews. To be honest, the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers produced so many storylines in the last week that HBO probably gathered enough material for two jam-packed hours.

The final hour captured the most compelling threads with HBO’s artful mix of great music and stunning cinematography, leaving us all wanting more – just like the 2011 edition. Let’s take a look at how they handled some of the top stories:

The penalty shot

Naturally, the Winter Classic coverage provided many of the show-stopping moments, but the high point revolved around Danny Briere’s penalty shot against Henrik Lundqvist. HBO pulled out all the stops with multiple camera angles, a perfect soundtrack for the moment and then allowed the inherent drama to take over.

Jaromir Jagr’s up-and-down week

To little surprise, Jagr dominated much of the footage. HBO went behind the scenes during his momentous visit to Pittsburgh with Maxime Talbot, who clearly faced an emotional night.

source: Getty ImagesNaturally, it didn’t stop there as cameras captured Jagr during his well-documented Winter Classic injury. They followed him all the way into the trainer’s room, only stopping when Jagr waived them off while getting treatment.

Finally, perhaps the best bit of chatter came regarding Mike Rupp’s mock salute. Some Flyers weren’t even aware it happened, others shared considerable disdain for the gesture while the Rangers were predictably supportive of the celebration. Regardless of where each player stood, it all resulted in a bevy of gut-busting one-liners.

Bryzgalov’s pain

Ilya Bryzgalov cast a large shadow over the final episode, but this time he wasn’t a source of comic relief. Really, he provided a sort of dark comedy, as HBO captured him in some painful moments after an ugly loss and included footage of Bryzgalov spilling the beans about the Winter Classic starter.

As much as HBO spotlighted Bryzgalov’s oddball side, the greatest value came in the evidence that he happens to be a rather sensitive soul. (Note: that might just be a long way of calling him a “goalie,” though.)


From Marc Staal’s comeback to robust critiques of referees, HBO covered all the biggest threads without giving the hour-long episode a congested feel.

Still, many of us will miss the “little” moments the most. What were some of the standout scenes for you? Feel free to share your favorite memories from the final episode and the second edition of HBO’s great doc series, in general.

Finally, if you want to read up on the rest of the series, here are recaps for the other episodes:

Episode 1 review
Episode 2 review
Episode 3 review

Assaulted Rangers fan was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq


The Rangers fan who was attacked by a trio of Flyers fans following Monday’s Winter Classic is a former Marine that was awarded a Purple Heart in Iraq.

Neal Auricchio – currently a member of the Woodbridge Police Department in New Jersey – was shot in the leg while serving overseas, though that didn’t stop him from returning for a second tour.

NBCNewYork.com spoke with Auricchio’s father about his son’s condition following the assault.

“He got banged up pretty badly,” said Neal Auricchio Sr. “Stitches in the one eye, and the other eye is pretty puffed up. He went for a CAT scan today, and we’re waiting for the results on that.”

Just a little tip for any aspiring thugs out there – if you’re going to attack someone, you might want to avoid war heroes.

And police officers.

And especially war heroes that are also police officers.

Just a bad PR move.

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Rupp on Jagr salute: “I was happy to get a goal and that’s where I’ll leave it.”


Even though the 2012 Winter Classic was filled with moments that set Twitter ablaze, none stoked the fires quite like Mike Rupp’s Jaromir Jagr-esque goal celebration:

The move appeared to be a direct shot across Jagr’s bow, as No. 68 used that exact same celebration after scoring in his return to Pittsburgh last Thursday. But Rupp refused to address such speculation following the game, opting to play coy with reporters.

I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rupp said. “I was happy to get a goal and that’s where I’ll leave it.”

Jagr, meanwhile, was far less hesitant in addressing the salute.

“[We’re] still gonna play them three more times,” he told reporters. “And I think I’m gonna score and salute him back.”

This isn’t the first time Rupp’s starred on the big stage. In 2003, he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal and added a pair of assists for New Jersey in a 3-0 win over Anaheim in Game 7. Best part? He did it as a 23-year-old rookie with 26 games of NHL experience.

UPDATE: Sportsnet’s Tony Ambrogio with the following tweet…

“Rupp told me his celebration after 1st goal was not mock salute of Jagr, was just excited.”

You could probably get away with shorts today in Philly


Just a quick weather update from Philadelphia, complete with a picture from PHT’s perch at Citizens Bank Park.  In two words, it’s warm. Almost 60 degrees. Thus the Winter Classic alumni game being pushed back to 3 p.m. ET. Not to worry though. Once the sun stops shining directly on the ice surface, it should be fine.

Temperatures for Monday’s Winter Classic are supposed to be considerably cooler, with highs around 40.