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With Winter Classic in town, Patriots to practice at Florida Atlantic

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There is a bevy of activity at Gillette Stadium, where the NHL's Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will be held on Jan. 1.

With that, the New England Patriots are getting out of town, leaving Thursday for their regular season finale against the Dolphins. That's two days earlier than the norm.

Next stop: Florida Atlantic University.

The Patriots will practice at FAU on Friday (closed to the public) and use their facilities for whatever treatment and weight training is needed.

"They've been great," coach Bill Belichick said. "They have a good program down there, good facilities. One of our coaches, Nick Caley, was there last year, so I don't think it will be any issue. It will certainly be as good as what we had last year in San Diego."

The Patriots spent an entire week in San Diego last year in advance of their road game against the Chargers. They had played at Green Bay the week before, and liked the idea of cutting down on travel.