Report: 2011 Winter Classic will be Capitals-Penguins at Heinz Field

If the Post-Gazette is to be believed, an announcement confirming the NHL’s next outdoor New Year’s Day game will be made tomorrow by commissioner Gary Bettmen in Chicago prior to the start of the Stanley Cup Finals. The 2011 Winter Classic is set to feature the Washington Capitals playing the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field. This means several things:

  • In the NHL, all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others. In just its fourth year, the Winter Classic is set to include the Penguins and Sidney Crosby again. Why the NHL has put so much focus on a twice-bankrupt franchise, from a region that has been losing population for 50 years, above all others is beyond me. As for Crosby, he’s not exactly Mr. Charisma. Alex Ovechkin, the Caps two time Hart Trophy winner is a rock star, but the NHL has been gun-shy including him in broad marketing campaigns.
  • Apparently, Pittsburgh’s stadium authority doesn’t have high expectations of the Steelers hosting a playoff game in early January.
  • The Caps are almost certain to break out the original white sweaters with the stars on the sleeve. I approve.
  • I may have a viewing conflict on New Year’s Day if Penn State is playing in a bowl game that day.
  • I have no interest in being there with 60,000 drunken Pittsburghers.
  • The New York Rangers have got to be wondering what they have to do to be involved.
  • A Winter Classic in Penn State’s Beaver Stadium between the Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers is probably not going to happen any time soon. The NHL may love the Penguins, but not that much. Despite my antipathy for those two teams, I kind of like the idea of a battle for Pennsylvania with one side wearing orange and the other side wearing black.
  • The visiting team has always gone on to win its conference title.

Hey, I’m liking this more already! Actually, the first two visiting teams that won then went on to lose the Stanley Cup finals in game 7. The only visiting team to lose, the Flyers, lost this 2010 Winter Classic to the Boston Bruins at Fenway Park, but are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. Write-it down and remember patterns are perfect predictors of sporting events.

UPDATED
Washington Capitals will play Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011 Winter ClassicThe Post

Capitals vs. Penguins Winter Classic set for Heinz Field 2011 – Puck Daddy, Yahoo!

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4 thoughts on “Report: 2011 Winter Classic will be Capitals-Penguins at Heinz Field”

  1. Crosby gets the love, as much as anything, because SI sells more copies (and web subscriptions) in Canada than it does in Russia.

    No, this doesn’t make perfect sense, since Crosby’s smarmy “charm” has as many haters in Canada as in the US, but it’s the best explanation I’ve been able to reason out thus far.

  2. It would be helpful if you would actually, I don’t know, do some homework before you post these things. Here are some facts:

    1) The NFL regular season ends on January 2nd. The Steelers are in Cleveland. There would be no potential playoff conflict (though I’m not sure they’ll make it, but that’s another matter).

    2) The NHL is in the business of promoting the league to MAKE money. Crosby and the Penguins attract viewers. Where would you like the Winter classic to be held? Tampa? Florida? Carolina? The Penguins and Capitals are the two most consistent teams in the east over the past 3-4 years, what is your complaint?

    3) How are the population stats for Pittsburgh relevant? The game will be a sellout. I will remind you that no one in Washington cared about hockey while the Caps were bad, and the attendance numbers at Verizon back that up.

    4) I’m not going to debate Crosby vs. Ovechkin with you. For some reason, you are upset that the NHL is pushing a Stanley Cup winner with an 8-3 playoff record over the last 4 years over a team that has done nothing in the playoffs the last 4 years. If you want the Caps promoted more, tell them to WIN MORE PLAYOFF GAMES.

    5) New York Rangers: WIN MORE GAMES. Why would the league promote a team with no stars who is a borderline playoff qualifier in a league when more than half the teams make the playoffs?

    That is all. Also, I don’t think you will have a Penn State viewing conflict this year, but that’s another debate.

  3. Wouldn’t having a big rink sitting on the field mess it up for potential playoff games?

    The NHL has marketed the Penguins to the exclusion of other teams. We don’t know if the Caps can generate big numbers because they have not been giving the opportunity.

    The market size is limited compared to other cities. Apparently, nobody cared about hockey in Pittsburgh when they were bad either.

    The NHL has been pushing Crosby since day 1.

    Even split three ways, the Rangers are in a market with 18 million people, the #1 media market.

    The Penn State viewing conflict was more hopeful than anything.

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