BOSTON - Standing on the surface that in 17 days will play host to the biggest regular-season spectacle in Flyers history, defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen was confused.
"So where is the Green Monster?" Tollefsen asked as he spun around in a circle. "I have never been here before."
Forgive the Norwegian. He knows not what he asks.
Tollefsen, like most foreign transplants who take up an interest in America's pastime, calls himself - gasp! - a New York Yankees fan.
Once he found the 37-foot beacon that hulks over leftfield and has been attracting eyeballs over the past few weeks like it does baseballs in the summer, Tollefsen was relieved.
"Oh, there it is," Tollefsen said. "I bet I could get a puck up there."
"I don't know, that looks pretty tough," winger James van Riemsdyk told NHL.com. "We might have to get a shooting gallery out here and try to bomb some pucks out there and see what happens."
Ah, the fallacy that has gobbled the hubris of some of baseball's best hitters since Fenway opened its doors in 1913.
Sunday was the Flyers' first official tour of their New Year's Day home, where they will meet the Bruins. Tollefsen and teammates van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux, Darroll Powe and Jon Kalinski visited the clubhouses, dugouts and yes, the Green Monster seats.
Tickets on top of the Green Monster were selling for $3,000 on StubHub yesterday. A regular standing-room-only ticket averaged $300.
NHL ice guru Dan Craig and his crew were hard at work yesterday installing the first set of boards for the Winter Classic. The ice is slated to be ready by Friday, with the first run of water coolant being piped through the surface today.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, a Franklin, Mass., native, was excited to be back in Boston. He grew up a Bruins and Red Sox fan no more than a 30-minute drive from the Fenway neighborhood in Beantown, but didn't often get a chance to visit the storied ballpark.
"You're looking around at the Monster in Fenway Park and it's awesome,'' Laviolette said Sunday. "The one [moment] that sticks in my mind - and I wasn't there - was watching Carlton Fisk wave that home run in on the pole . That was pretty good stuff.
"I grew up playing hockey since I was 4 years old. I didn't get in here all that often but my dad did take me [to games] as a kid and it was great.''
Still, Laviolette made it clear that last night's game against Boston had little to do with the Winter Classic and vice versa. He realizes that the Flyers could be well out of the playoff hunt by the time New Year's Day rolls around.
"I don't care if the game is 19 days away or 19 years away," Laviolette said Sunday. "The only game that really matters is this one.''
Biking to Boston
Two Drexel University seniors are taking a unique route to the Winter Classic.
Patrick Montgomery and Andrew Moriarity plan to leave the Spectrum on Dec. 26, put 300 miles on a tandem bicycle and arrive at Fenway Park before midnight on Dec. 31 to benefit a local charity.
The duo already has raised 10 percent of its $5,000 goal, with proceeds going to Blessed Sarnelli Community - a homeless shelter and outreach program in Philadelphia. You can donate and track their progress at http://broadstreetbikers.webs.com.
Peter Laviolette confirmed that defenseman Braydon Coburn is back in Philadelphia receiving treatment on his ankle. General manager Paul Holmgren gave no indication on the extent of the injury, other than to say Coburn is day-to-day.
Usually when a player is day-to-day with an injury, he is skating with the team or at least present on the road trip. Coburn, who was walking around Boston on Sunday in a boot, left shortly thereafter.
Coburn, 24, has made costly errors under Laviolette's watch with turnovers in the neutral and defensive zones. He received a minus rating in four of his last six games.
Coburn's injury opened a rare door for Tollefsen to play last night. Tollefsen ran with it but was only able to make it through half the game, when he left with a knee injury. He is expected to be out 3 to 4 weeks with a sprained left MCL.
Defenseman Danny Syvret was recalled from Adirondack to replace Tollefsen. Syvret, who was reassigned on Thanksgiving, was slated to join the team in Pittsburgh today. He previously played 13 games with the Flyers.
Dan Carcillo returned to the lineup after completing his four-game suspension. Peter Laviolette said he was looking for some "good positive energy" from Carcillo . . . Former Radnor High star Colby Cohen was a guest of James van Riemsdyk at last night's game. Cohen, 20, scored the game-winning goal in overtime of last year's NCAA title game for Boston University. A second-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche, Cohen skated with van Riemsdyk in the U.S. National Development Program.