There were really only two options for the Washington Capitals’ Winter Classic in the D.C. area in Jan. 2015, at least as far as opponents go: The Philadelphia Flyers, who haven’t appeared in an outdoor game since hosting in 2012 and the Boston Bruins, who haven’t appeared since their Fenway Park game in 2010.
(One assumes the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals’ opponent in 2011 in the Steel City, won’t be booked for a rematch in D.C., but who knows? Maybe the sirens’ song of Sidney vs. Ovi will prove too strong to resist?)
The venerable Eklund of HockeyBuzz* reported on Monday that the choice for the 2014 game are the Philadelphia Flyers. The news was picked up by Tim Panaccio (a former HockeyBuzz contributor) who wrote on CSN Philly:
A Flyers official said Monday morning that the club understood it was a finalist but had not been notified. However, that same official wondered if the Caps had sent a hidden message to Philly recently by wearing their third jersey -- the previous Winter Classic jersey -- against the Flyers on Dec. 17 at Wells Fargo Center.
What if Fox Mulder were a hockey writer …
When reached for comment on Monday, the NHL denied that a decision had been made
Anyhoo, a Flyers vs. Capitals Winter Classic would be a huge draw due to the geography, which brings us to the most intriguing aspect of the Flyers potentially being the opponent: Baltimore.
Yes, I’m banging that drum again but it’s informed speculation. I truly believe that Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium could be in play for a Capitals Classic.
It’s closer to Philadelphia than Nationals Park in the heart of D.C. And Washington has been trying to expand its market footprint in the D.C. area, playing exhibition games in Baltimore and the like.
More to the point: If the NHL wants this in a football stadium – and Capitals vs. Flyers would fill one for sure – M&T has a capacity that’s roughly 20,000 seats smaller than FedEx Field, were that monstrosity in play. Plus, uh, Daniel Snyder wouldn't be involved in any way. Bonus!
Capitals vs. Flyers, in the first “neutral site” Winter Classic in Baltimore? It could happen.
* As most of you know, we’ve got history and heat with Eklund. I don’t consider him a source worth citing on most items, but he’s completely tied in with the Flyers. There’s a grain of salt to be taken here of course, but just understand why we’re wasting valuable pixels here. If you want to say this is just more darts tossed at a board reporting, that’s fine too.