Sure, the 2011 Winter Classic hasn’t happened yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the next one.  According to a post on NHL Fanhouse, Yankee Stadium is out and Citi Field and New Meadowlands Stadium are both options for 2012.  That means that there’s a good chance that the game will be in the New York or New Jersey area.

So it looks like the next Classic could feature the Islanders, Devils and possibly the Rangers.

Is that a good choice?

Sure, New York is a huge market and ratings for the game would likely be quite high, but the Devils and the Islanders aren’t exactly the best on-ice product to present to the fans.  A Rangers/Devils game or a Rangers/Islanders game would have a lot of hype and history behind it, but it could also feature at least one team that is struggling near the bottom of the NHL.

Does that matter?

Is anyone watching the Winter Classic expecting a good hockey game?  Or are people watching for the atmosphere and the history and the rivalries?

The first Winter Classic in Buffalo was pretty awful from a hockey standpoint.  The ice was uneven, there were frequent stoppages in play to remove snow and there was little to no flow to the game.  The event, however, was deemed a huge success and it became an annual event.

As bad as the hockey was that day, the game looked amazing.  The atmosphere was great and the falling snow made the entire game look unique and special.  No one really cared that the product on the ice was barely passable.

Showcasing rivalries like Red Wings/Blackhawks, Penguins/Capitals and possibly some incarnation of Rangers/Islanders/Devils is a good idea as well.  However, The Penguins and the Sabres are barely rivals at all, and yet their contest was certainly memorable.  So that shows us that the atmosphere of the game matters a great deal as well.  It’s the selling point.

A game in New York, especially one featuring two New York area teams, would definitely have that atmosphere.

So it seems like having a big rivalry in a huge market play out in next year’s Winter Classic could be incredibly successful, regardless of whether or not the teams itself are any good.

Comments (6)

  1. They have to at least have some Western representation next year, though.

    My pick would be Wings / Avs in Denver – may not be as iconic in the views, but it’d be neat and it’s a good rivalry with a lot of history. The Rangers / Isles / Devils aren’t doing enough to earn it in my eyes, and if you can’t do it in Yankee Stadium I’d say hold off on it until you can.

  2. I would go for a Habs VS Leafs in the olympic Stadium….

    ” clubt that plays sellout crowd, imagine the noise and emotion in that game…

    oh yeah, they are 2 canadian team so Bettman dont give a shit

  3. “oh yeah, they are 2 canadian team so Bettman dont give a shit”

    More like NBC doesn’t care.

    Besides, what’s the point of playing the game INDOORS!?! That defeats the whole purpose. Montreal’s getting to play their second stadium game in Calgary, anyway.

  4. i say let it be the devils vs. ranger for the 2012 winter classic and let it be held in NY i think it would be a big hit.

  5. Ohio Stadium would be a great site for the winter classic. There could be a double header of Ohio State vs Michigan in the afternoon and the Blue Jackets vs Red Wings in the evening. Due to the fact that Ohio Stadium has 2 decks and is much more vertical than bowl type stadiums, such as Michigan Stadium, it would be a very intimate setting for over 100,000 fans.

  6. [...] take part in their second might make some sense. But it feels like it’s too soon. A few months ago there were rumours about having a New York team host the Winter Classic, but those have apparently [...]

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