The worst kept secret in hockey is a day away from being revealed. That “secret” is that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic, likely at Nationals Park, home of the MLB’s Washington Nationals.
SB Nation hockey writer – and Bruins Daily supporter – Ted Starkey was one of many writers to confirm this report. Here’s his tweet from earlier:
It’s likely not to be announced, but the favorite to host the 2015 Winter Classic is Nationals Park. Would think Bruins or Flyers opponent.
— Ted Starkey (@TedStarkey) September 20, 2013
So the next question, who will be the Capitals opponent for the New Years Day event? How about the Boston Bruins.
CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio confirmed that the Bruins and Flyers are two of the leading candidates to face the Caps. With NBC and HBO likely playing a role in the decision, one could easily assume that the Flyers are the favorites because of their affiliation with Comcast Universal. But, with their recent success, the Black and Gold would make more sense.
If the Flyers get the nod, they would make their third appearance since they faced the B’s in the 2010 Winter Classic. It would also give the Broad Street Bullies their second appearance on “24/7″, the HBO series building up to the Winter Classic.
The Bruins, on the other hand, have only appeared in the game once when they hosted the Flyers at Fenway Park. This came prior to their runs to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011 and 2013.
There’s no denying that the Black and Gold also bring in ratings, nationally. Their 2011 triumph in the Stanley Cup drew a 2.7 rating, and, their loss to the Blackhawks this past June drew a 3.3 average, the most watched Cup Final since 1994. That, combined with another appearance by Alex Ovechkin and company should draw some good ratings on New Years Day, 2015.
Of course, there could be some other factors that prevent the Bruins from playing in the Winter Classic. With the newly installed “Stadium Series” taking place in 2014 – and assuming it returns in 2015 – the B’s could be a favorite to host an outdoor game. The league could very well decide to have the Canadiens, Leafs or even the Red Wings matchup against their Atlantic Division rivals at either Fenway or Gillette Stadium (the most likely locale of the two).
In any event, its safe to assume that the Bruins will be playing outdoors in 2015. Their TV ratings, whether it would be on NBC or NBCSN, can’t be ignored. But with the Winter Classic being the bigger draw, the league needs to give the Bruins the matchup against Ovechkin and company.
Expect this saga to be well documented on “Behind the B” during the 2013-14 NHL season. As a matter of fact, “Behind the B” might be a good warmup to the Bruins’ appearance on “24/7″ starting next December.
And, honestly, a New Years celebration in the Nations Capital certainly sounds like a good idea to your’s truly.