A report in today's New York Daily News says that momentum is building towards finalizing a deal to hold a 2009 Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium, a few months after the Yankees play their final game there. The Rangers would play an opponent not named the Islanders or Devils due to marketing and the attraction of national television ratings, which make sense. Having an "Original Six" match-up with Detroit, Boston, or Chicago involved would help draw viewers outside of the tri-state area.
While talks are still progressing, nothing has been finalized yet, especially since the Chicago Blackhawks want themselves in the mix as the location for a future Winter Classic. Having the game at a baseball stadium in the dead of winter would ensure better ice than what we saw in Buffalo. The NHL's ice guru Dan Craig would be given much more time to build a rink and prepare ice in anticipation of the game.
"It's something we've spoken both to the Yankees and to the city about," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The News. "But it's not a done deal. There are still other possibilities and a lot of moving pieces."
If I were a betting man, I would think if the NHL could get the OK from Yankee brass to hold a hockey game on the legendary field, the league would no doubt announce a 2009 Winter Classic immediately. An ideal opponent would be Detroit as they would be a bigger television draw from any team not featuring Sidney Crosby.
Either way, it's safe to say the Winter Classic is probably going to be an annual thing, which to me, is not a bad thing at all. Other than the Stanley Cup playoffs, what do non-hockey or casual hockey fans have to look forward to during the regular season? A staple outdoor game would be just that.
UPDATE: Chris Chelios adds fuel to the fire, mentioning he's heard the Red Wings will be involved