What Exactly is the Future of the Winter Classic?
December 31, 2008 2 Comments
Thoughtful, interesting piece in today’s New York Times from their ace media reporter Richard Sandomir. Aside from pointing out how much larger the NHL is living with this year’s Classic compared to last year, Sandomir also ponders the question of how the NHL can keep doing this:
That frequency would probably wear out the novelty, but you wonder if the league can make the game special enough every year to maintain fan interest. It could become the annual event that the league hopes for, or it could be humdrum. Will new elements have to be added to keep it fresh, or will anticipation sell it each year? Will only cold-weather teams be admitted, or will Dallas or Tampa Bay want to play at Fenway Park?
He makes a great point. So we’d like to lay out for you our 6-year plan to make the Winter Classic consistently fresh and interesting. Join us, won’t you?
Venue: Yankee Stadium
Teams: Washington vs. NY Rangers
Why It’s Special: Dude, it’s Yankee Stadium. Well… it’s new Yankee Stadium, but it’s still the Bronx and still a chance to celebrate a town with as great a sports history as Wrigleyville’s. Yogi Berra in the broadcast booth would be a start.
Venue: Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Teams: Colorado vs. Minnesota
Why It’s Special: Well, this game is being held on a lake. Why? Because Lake Nokomis hosts the annual U.S. Pond Hockey Championships. It might be rough to do logistically, but if the NHL could prepare it well enough, it could be an amazing spectacle.
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusets
Teams: St. Louis vs. Boston
Why It’s Special: Emrick and Olczyk call the game from on top of the Green Monster. Why St. Louis? Because we can’t think of another Eastern team that hasn’t done this yet that wouldn’t be a TV drag.
Venue: Candlestick Park, San Fransisco, California
Teams: Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks
Why It’s Special: This is one of those sort of “re-vitalize the novelty” years, with it actually happening West of Minnesota for the first time. Barry Bonds gets to re-visit his days skating by suiting up for the Kings.
Venue: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Teams: Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
Why It’s Special: A divided 100,000-seat record crowd on hand to see Crosby in his prime and what-not?
Venue: Red Square, Moscow, Russia
Teams: Montreal vs. Detroit
Why It’s Special: After a few attempts by other entities to play here, the NHL finally brings it out, a year after the Olympics come to Russia.