Bruins-Flyers In; Caps and Ovechkin Out
July 16, 2009 by Big Tony
The NHL has announced that the 2010 Winter Classic will be held at Fenway Park between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Generally speaking I could care less who is playing in this game because as a fan of the sport and of the unique nature of this game I will be watching and will enjoy it from start to finish. That said, I cannot understand why the NHL and NBC have decided that a Bruins-Flyers match up will have a better draw in the U.S. than say a Bruins-Capitals showdown. It is true that both teams have large television markets and that will result in a huge draw from the two participating cities alone. However, there is no bigger star in the NHL today than Alexander Ovechkin; no matter what you think of him I think all fans agree that he is one of the most exciting hockey players in the whole world from his on ice performance to his off-ice personality. Not only would people in the DC and Boston area be excited about this game, but hockey fans throughout the country and casual sports fans alike would go out of their way to watch Ovechkin play in a game as special as the Winter Classic has become. Not only should Ovechkin and the Caps be playing this game instead of the Flyers for star power but also because Philadelphia playing in this game against Boston pushes away the idea of a Penguins-Flyers Winter Classic at Beaver Stadium for many years. That makes deciding to put Philadelphia in this match-up a double whammy of blunders on the part of the NHL and NBC. The ratings will suffer this year because Ovechkin is not in it (and should be) and because a potential future contest that could also result in huge ratings and fan turnout in person has been push back indefinitely. So again, while I will be watching this game no matter who is playing in it–and it is possible that this match-up will still get a huge draw and be largely entertaining–I still think the NHL and NBC have hurt the potential of the Winter Classic not only for 2010 but for the near future as well.