Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Choice for the Winter Classic (Venue and Opponent)

Four years after the Caps traveled to Heinz Field to pay a visit to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Winter Classic, they will host one on January 1, 2015.

Needless to say, I'm going. There is no way I'm missing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

But who should we play, and where? That has been the core of the speculation thus far since Ted Leonsis announced the news yesterday.

Here are my rankings for venue. And these are just based on absolute awesomeness, not necessarily what makes sense.

5. Orioles Park at Camden Yards. This is number five for two reasons: it is in Baltimore, and it is a baseball stadium. The sight-lines will therefore not be that great. Plus, hosting the game in Baltimore would incense NOVA fans like me to no end. It is historic and beautiful, but it is just not feasible for anybody outside of Maryland.
4. Fedex Field. This is not number 5 only because of it's closer proximity to DC compared to Camden Yards. The sight-lines would also be much better than in number 5 or 3, but for the sake of the city let's hope that the Caps don't take the Classic to Dan Snyder's dumping ground.
3. Nationals Park. This is probably the most likely site for the Classic. Being played here would be pretty sweet, as it is in DC and is a really nice park. Plus, the fact that Leonsis and Ted Lerner are good friends make the game being played here even more likely.
2. RFK Stadium. This trumps Nats Park because of the better sight-lines and historic significance. It is extremely unlikely that this will happen, because RFK is extremely old and the playing conditions may not be that great, but the nostalgia and DC-ness would make this an awesome venue.
1. The National Mall/ the Reflecting Pool. It would be hard to get more DC than either of these. Can you imagine playing in the heart of DC (the Mall), or playing under the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument? Obviously, neither of these will happen, but it would be awesome to think about it.

Now that that is done, what about the opponents? Here they are.

5. Los Angeles Kings. East Coast vs. West Coast. The nation's capital against some famous city in the west. The Kings are one of the most talented teams in the league, but it probably will not happen.
4. New York Islanders. The Isles are one of the most promising teams in the league, and the Caps have had a long, harrowing rivalry with them. They are a dark-horse candidate for the game, though, and there are better opponents.
3. Philadelphia Flyers. They are probably the frontrunners for the game because the league wants a division rival other than Pittsburgh and NYR. I personally would not want this because the Flyers fans might make a takeover of DC like the Caps did of Pittsburgh.
2. Carolina Hurricanes. They probably will not be hosting an outdoor game anytime soon, so they would be a good choice for the Caps to play. The only drawback is the lack of big-name stars other than Eric Staal.
1. Tampa Bay Lightning. The same things that were said of Carolina could go for Tampa, except the increase in star-power would make this a much more fun matchup for the teams to watch. Unfortunately, this may end up making every Caps fan begin to hyperventilate halfway through the game.

So my choice would be Caps vs. Lightning at the Reflecting Pool. Unfortunately, it is more likely that it will be Caps vs. Flyers at Nats Park. Still, either way, this will be a great event with an amazing atmosphere.

Hurry up and get here 2015.

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