Speaking of NBC, I’d be willing to bet they had a hand in this as they only recognize eight teams: Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Boston.
I am kinda happy/kinda upset about this. We knew a Crosby-Ovechkin Winter Classic was on the horizon. This game has everything you need in a “one game showcase” of the NHL: recognizable names of Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin, and Green. I’m actually more inclined to watch because I know Michigan State won’t be playing on New Year’s Day. But how can the Penguins get to play in a second outdoor game before Original Six franchises New York and Toronto? Those fan bases, as well as perhaps the Canucks have legitimate beef of why they are being left out of the mix. It could perhaps be because those franchises don’t have marketable players (even Vancouver- Roberto Lulongo doesn’t count. You can’t see his face through a goalie mask) or because they simply aren’t good enough to contend on a year-to-year basis.
If you do want to put money on the Caps playing for the Stanley Cup next season, you should do so. Each season of the Winter Classic, the road participant has played for the Stanley Cup that season. Just ask the Penguins, Red Wings, and now Flyers. In addition, TSN is reporting there will be a second Winter Classic next season. Montreal will travel to Calgary in February to take on the Flames at McMahon Stadium.