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.
Washington Capitals will play Pittsburgh Penguins in 2011 Winter Classic – The Post
Capitals vs. Penguins Winter Classic set for Heinz Field 2011 – Puck Daddy, Yahoo!