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Mike Richter will play in Winter Classic alumni game

Dec 20, 2011, 8:45 PM EDT

richtergetty Getty Images

Retro-inspired sweaters already add a nostalgic feel to Winter Classic games, but nothing brings the sentimentality quite like alumni games. Still, there’s always a sense of sadness when a fan favorite can’t make it (paging Wayne Gretzky). Luckily, Adam Rotter passes along comforting news: Mike Richter will play for the New York Rangers’ side in the upcoming 2012 Winter Classic alumni game.

There is a caveat, though: he won’t play as a goalie.

Sure, that’s a bummer, but his reasoning is sound. Richter had to hang up his pads because of concussion issues and has some concern about possible risks related to playing that position – even in a friendly contest. As Rotter says, “Any Mike Richter is better than no Mike Richter,” though.

Really, the saddest thing might be that Dan Blackburn will be one of the Rangers’ goalies (alongside John Vanbiesbrouck). In a fairer world, Blackburn would still be an active NHL goalie, instead.

  1. hank10 - Dec 21, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    He can’t or doesn’t want to play goalie because of fears of concussion issues? So playing forward/defense will alleviate these concerns? Okay . . . .

    Even sadder than the Rangers’ goalies are the Flyers’ tandem of Mark LaForest and Neil Little. Yeesh. Thank goodness Bernie decided he can suit up for a few minutes.

  2. theolgoaler - Dec 21, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Knowing Richter’s concussion issues, nobody is going to hit him in an alumni game; getting hit in the head with a puck is an occupational hazard when you’re in goal, no matter how “relaxed” the format of the game is. NHL Alumni games are like baseball’s “Old-Timer” games of years gone by… the pitchers basically threw batting-practice fastballs to allow the fans to see their old favorites swing the bat. (Bob Gibson hated those games; he still wanted to get people out!

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