With today’s Winter Classic between the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philly, many Washington Capitals fans are left wondering when the Classic will come to D.C., after team owner Ted Leonsis mentioned last season that the Caps were “promised” a Classic in the Nation’s Capital. According to several reports over the last few days, that could come as early at 2014.
The game has been played in football and baseball stadiums to this point, with the football stadiums obviously capable of accomodating more fans. It would be a truly unique experience to build a temporary outdoor arena on the National Mall, but back in 2010 Leonsis made it perfectly clear that the expense and effort to play hockey’s grandest game between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument would simply be unfeasable.
That leaves the possible venues in Washington, D.C. to one: Nationals Park, on South Capitol street just a few blocks south of the Capitol Building. Nats Park certainly could be configured for hockey, and has hosted concerts and other events in addition to being home for the Nats. FedEx Field in Landover, MD is the next closest venue, and while it has a larger capacity than Nats Park, it also lacks any charm or grace.
The other suggestions availble for the Caps to host a Winter Classic happen to be situated in Baltimore. I find it distasteful than M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park remain on the list of possible venues for the WASHINGTON Capitals to host this game. I’d rather them not host the event at all than to have it played in Baltimore. Both Nats Park and FedEx Field are dark on New Year’s Day. The only way this couldn’t happen is if an agreement over money couldn’t be arranged with the owners of one of those venues.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
As for the opponent, I’d just as well like to see the Caps host Pittsburgh. They’d be division rivals again due to realignment, and the stakes just aren’t any biggeer than when these two teams face-off. I’m sure NBC would love to feature another N.Y.-area team in the game, especially with next year’s game expected to pit Detroit against Minnesota, but the Caps-Pens rivalry is just too good to pass up.