Friday, September 20, 2013

Report: Flyers in running for 2015 Winter Classic

Proving once more that the National Hockey League only wants to showcase top teams in large markets, comes a report from CSN Philly, which quoted sources saying that the Washington Capitals were awarded the home game for the 2015 Winter Classic and that the Flyers are one of the two teams in the running to be the opponent.

Boston was reported to be the other franchise in consideration.

The 2014 Winter Classic will take place at Michigan Stadium between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings, the Big House's 100,000-plus capacity by far the largest venue the New Year's Day contest will be contested within.

Philly skated against the Bruins in the 2010 version at Fenway Park, then participated in the last Classic at Citizens Bank Park in 2012. The Orange and Black are 0-2 in such contests.

If America's capital is chosen to host, Nationals Park (capacity 41,418) is the most logical location to host the event and the best possible option. Since its 2008 inception, the Winter Classic has been held in NFL venues Ralph Wilson Stadium (73, 079) and Heinz Field (65,500), along with baseball venues, and this year's edition may inflate attendance records but will lose a lot of character and spirit.

Back in the Spring, I wrote about how it wasn't a good idea and wouldn't attend a potential outdoor game in Happy Valley between the Penguins and Flyers because the sheer largesse of the crowd would take away from the experience, but if it came down to the Metropolitan Division rivals Flyers and Capitals in a more intimate arena, it's a no brainer.

The Caps played in their initial Winter Classic in 2011 against the Penguins at Heinz Field, in a game notable more for abnormally warm temperatures and occasional rain.

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