Rumors were swirling about next year’s outdoor games for quite some time, but now it’s just about official. There will be two during the 2009-10 season. The first will take the traditional Winter Classic spot on New Year’s Day 2011 and will feature a bout between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals at Heinz Field. Canada will receive a second outdoor game, with the Montreal Canadiens visiting the Calgary Flames at McMahon Stadium sometime in February.
The Winter Classic is one of the league’s flagship moments, transcending the sport with casual fans as much as – if not more than – the All-Star Game and Stanley Cup finals. Some people might be upset that the Winter Classic will feature Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin’s teams, but I look at it as more or less inevitable.
And, really, if the event keeps drawing eyes and widespread media attention, then the New York Rangers of the world will get their due. So, just relax hockey diehards. Justice will come your way soon enough.
Meanwhile, the rest of us can just enjoy the show.