The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/03/12 at 02:27 PM ET
Update: Reuters posted a Winter Classic spiel, and the Maple Leafs are entering the mix as a “we want to be part of one” club: I’m somewhat surprised that the media’s all but assuring that the Red Wings will host the 2013 Winter Classic when the NHL really doesn’t have to make up its mind about its next venue until early September, but Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski’s the latest to suggest that Red Wings/Olympia Entertainment CEO Tom Wilson’s presence at the Flyers’ Winter Classic equals no doubt whatsoever as to anything but the details of game in Detroit or Ann Arbor. Wyshynski delves into the possibilities related to a Detroit Winter Classic:
Winter Classic 2013: Detroit Red Wings vs. Toronto Maple Leafs/St. Louis Blues/California-Based Team: The NHL is keen on having this game at The Big House in Ann Arbor, with the probability of attracting over 100,000 fans to a game if the tickets are priced favorably. But having it at the University of Michigan’s stadium means sharing the wealth with someone outside the family.
Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, meanwhile, is in the family. He also owns and operates Comerica Park, home to the Detroit Tigers. So if it’s not in the Big House, it’ll be at that house.
There’s also a chance for the NHL to turn this into a celebration of hockey in Michigan, with the Great Lakes Invitational rolling the week before the Classic.
As far as opponents go, I get the feeling this is going to be a mold-breaker after three straight Classics featuring predictable Northeast rivalries. The Maple Leafs would be the first Canadian team in the Classic, which would risk some ratings for NBC but would fulfill the NHL’s Original Six jones for this annual event. The more people I talk to, the more think this is a good possibility — especially to quiet Canadian critics writhing with jealousy over the Winter Classic being U.S.-centric.
This would also be a great spot to feature a team from California for the first time: The San Jose Sharks are a natural rival and a good fit here. Joe Thornton on “HBO 24/7” can only be a good thing.
(An aside: The “24/7” Effect is overrated, insofar as setting the matchups in these games. The network told me that they don’t have sway over the teams involved; and, frankly, that the future of the series isn’t exactly set in concrete after this season. More on that on Wednesday on Puck Daddy.)
Then there are the St. Louis Blues. A safe choice as a division rival and a cold-weather U.S. market. And as we know, you have to play on the road before you get one of these at home.
Continued, and Wyshynski believes that the Wings might play in Colorado when the Avs eventually host an outdoor tilt somewhere down the line…
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.