The hype. The pageantry. The Winter Classic.
Since its inception in 2008, the NHL’s outdoor showcase has been must-see TV — not just for hockey fans, but all sports fans. What better way to nurse a New Year’s Day hangover than by watching grown men pound each other into oblivion?
This year, the league is upping the ante by pitting two fierce, East Coast rivals — the Flyers and Rangers — in a clash in the City of Brotherly Love. There is no way this can go wrong.
Last year, HBO chronicled the Winter Classic by going inside the Penguins’ and Capitals’ locker rooms for a month as they prepared for the game. It was an instant classic, with Washington coach Bruce Boudreau dropping the “F-bomb” 15 times in an 80-second span during the premiere episode.
HBO wouldn’t confirm if the show is returning in 2012 — they are waiting for an official announcement from the NHL — but imagine the possibilities, with guys like Sean Avery and Chris Pronger stirring the pot.
That, coupled with the close proximity of the two franchises and their opinionated fan bases, could make this the best Winter Classic to date.
Flyers back in Winter Classic
For the second time in the past two years, the Flyers will play in the Winter Classic.
While not yet confirmed by the team, all indications point to a Jan. 2 showdown versus the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park. Lincoln Financial Field had been considered, but the Eagles are playing there Jan. 1.
Listed seating capacity for Citizens Bank Park is 43,647. The Flyers home — Wells Fargo Center — has never held more than 20,327 for hockey. That record was set in 2010, for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Flyers left their first Classic, in 2010 at Fenway Park, with a bad taste. The Bruins earned a 2-1 OT win, but it appeared they had too many men on the ice.