Some Old, Some New In NHL's Winter Classic
In a not-terribly-surprising turn of events, the NHL will be recycling two Winter Classic participants next season, in the form of the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Montreal Canadiens.
In what is a new wrinkle, however, they will not be playing each other, as commissioner Gary Bettman has elected to award two Winter Classic games next season.
After months of discussion about a potential interstate rivalry game between the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers at Penn State's Beaver Stadium, the league settled on a New Years Day tilt between the Pens and the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This gives the prime slot to the league's prime superstars, Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, in spite of all of the "East-coast bias" and every other bias people will gripe about in the meantime.
The Montreal Canadiens will also be participating, as they will travel to Calgary to face the Flames in a second rendition of the outdoor event on February 20. This gives another nod to the original outdoor classic team, while also getting at least one team from western North America an opportunity to be alone in the national spotlight for a day.
The event has been a rampant success for the league thusfar, both in terms of revenue and exposure. Now they will see how an experiemntal second game goes - if the excitement grows, or if fans simply say "oh, another one?"