FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The last time Mike Condon was at Gillette Stadium, he was sitting in the 300 level watching his favorite football team, the New England Patriots.
On Friday, the Massachusetts native will be a lot closer to the field when he is in net for the Montreal Canadiens against the Boston Bruins in the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic (1 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).
“Usually when I’m at Gillette Stadium, in in the last row of the nosebleeds, but it’s kind of nice to be back on the main level,” Condon said after the Canadiens practiced Thursday. “You’re up there and now you’re down here, so it puts things in perspective.”
Condon is from Holliston, Mass., and went to Belmont Hill High School, which is about 30 miles from Gillette Stadium.
“All of my family and friends will be wearing the bleu, blanc and rouge for sure,” he said. “I think the maximum number of tickets you could get was 14 so I maxed that out. Other than that, there’s a lot of friends outside the close group that are still coming.”
Condon’s father is a State Policeman in the area, but will be in attendance to see his son play Friday.
“[Friday] he definitely has a day off so he is going to be tailgating,” Condon said. “He had the opportunity to escort the bus today. … It’s always good to have that family support here. He’s had a big impact in my life and I am really happy to have him there.”
Condon, 25, who made his NHL debut earlier this season, found out Thursday morning before practice that he would start. He’s played in 25 games and is 10-9-3 with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage
“It’s an honor for me to go out there, but at the end of the day, it’s just another game, another two points,” he said.
Coach Michel Therrien has confidence in his rookie goalie.
“[Condon] deserves to play. He played well in the past few games and considering the fact that he is from here. … but the most important thing is he deserved to play,” Therrien said.
The big stage hasn’t gotten to Condon, who has taken over for an injured Carey Price.
“It’s just basically been laying low, not doing too much, not going out, not looking at your phone too much, just trying to be as normal as possible and concentrating on your work every day and taking care of what you can,” Condon said.
Article source: http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=795314