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The Great Winter Classic Debate

Now that it is official that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic more questions have risen:

Where is the game going to take place?

Who will the Capitals play?

What are the events for their Fan Festival?

I am not pretending to be an insider and have a scoop that no one else does just my own thoughts on what may happen with a Washington DC hosted Winter Classic.

Where:

Location is always key for an event and having decided that the Capitals will host that leaves the Washington DC metro area for finding a host venue.

Top Choices are probably Fedex Field (Washington Redskins, NFL) and Nationals Park (Washington Nationals, MLB).  FedEx Field which opened in 1997 has a current capacity of 80,116 while Nationals Park record attendance is just over half of that at 45,966. 

A third option in the DC area is that of the RFK Memorial Stadium; the current home of the DC United Major League Soccer team and frequently used by the United States Men's National Soccer Team.  RFK Stadium opened in 1961 and has a range of seating capacity depending on events taken place.  RFK being the oldest of the three venues this far may need some restoration before a Winter Classic event that is just over a year away to compete at levels of Wrigley Field, Heinz Park, and the 2014 host venue Michigan Stadium.

 

Who:

Another popular topic after the where will it be hosted is discussion is who will the Capitals play?

Pittsburg Penguins are a popular pick due to the history of publicity around Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby.  In 2011 the Penguins hosted the Capitals in the Winter Classic.  Though I am sure fans (and maybe even the team) may want a re match to avenge their highly publicized loss to the Capitals I personally do not see this being the match up in 2015.

Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers are options I have seen tossed around by media types and fans on social media after the announcement earlier today. The two teams which played one another in the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, would be decent options for a Eastern Conference match up for the 2015 Winter Classic.

Minnesota Wild.  When the idea of Winter Classics started off it use to be that the visiting team would eventually get to host the event within say 5 years.  The majority of the teams that have hosted or even just participated in the event have been from the Eastern Conference.  Only teams from the Western Conference were the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings in 2009.  Even this coming season with the Red Wings hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium they are both Eastern Conference teams (thanks realignment).   So why not give the Minnesota Wild a chance to get in as the visiting team?  Bring in another Western Team in hopes that soon these games will expand west before the novelty is worn off.  Minnesota made the playoffs last season and with the additions of Zach Parise, Ryan Suter, and Matt Cooke over the last two summers may contribute to a rise again this season from the Wild.  The story of goaltender Josh Harding battling in net for the Wild but his off ice battle with being diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS) would do a lot of MS awareness with an HBO 24/7 focus on the teams. 

The 2014 Winter Classic will be the first time that an American team will play a Canadian team - why not continue that tradition and bring in the Montreal Canadiens.  The team that has won the Stanley Cup more than any other in NHL history.  Especially if the game is played at Nationals Park - home of the Washington Nationals - formally known as the Montreal Expos.

With so little official yet and so much left to speculate there are almost endless possibilities to what is in store for the 2015 Winter Classic.

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhaawks, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, flyers, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, nationals+park, nhl, washington+capitals, winter+classic, winter+classic+2015

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com