As a Rangers fan, I've been waiting for a Winter Classic in Yankee Stadium for years now. The latest news is that if there is a Winter Classic in the near future, Ranger fans should expect it to be in the new Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.
Either way, I believe a few rivalries should have the opportunity to duke it out in the cold. They deserve it and everybody should have a turn eventually. For some reason, though, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had two appearances at a Winter Classic. Hmm..
Rivalry: New York Rangers and New York Islanders
Site: Yankee Stadium, CitiField, Central Park, or Giants Stadium
Why? It's no secret that Rangers players and fans have hated Islanders players and fans for years now. Close proximity to each other is a key to this rivalry. However, it took years of playoff series and unforgettable games to create such a rivalry filled with hate and passion by both sides. Also who wouldn't want to hear the loudest "Potvin Sucks!" chant in history?
Rivalry: Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens
Site: BMO Field, Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, or Rogers Centre
Why? First of all, this is a classic original six matchup. Second of all, both teams hate everything about each other. It would be the battle of eastern Canada. The Canadiens already participated in the NHL's first outdoor game in the Heritage Classic in 2003, which was held in Edmonton, Alberta. This matchup would surely be a game to watch and can introduce Americans to two of the original six teams hailing from their northern neighbors.
Rivalry: Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings
Site: Invesco Field at Mile High, Coors Field, Comerica Park, or Ford Field
Why? One of the most storied rivalries in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this rivalry stems directly from the playoffs. They have met six times in the playoffs since the Avalanche moved from Quebec to Colorado in 1996.
Colorado won one cup, and Detroit won three cups when these two teams met in the playoffs. Now the stage has been set for an even bigger rivalry. The Avalanche are now a contender once again and Detroit is well...Detroit, and playing very well as usual. A Winter Classic between these two would help rekindle a classic rivalry that is beginning to show once again in games between both in the regular season.
Rivalry: Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks
Site: Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, or Empire Field
Why? As a fan of an Eastern Conference team, I rarely get a chance to watch Western Conference teams in action. However, one rivalry that I have been keeping an eye on in recent years is between the Blackhawks and the Canucks.
This rivalry literally came out of nowhere. An original six team and an expansion team? Yes, and this has been the most violent of the recent rivalries. Take a look at this bench clearing brawl. Notice how passionate these two teams are. They hate each other and have met each other in the playoffs a few times in the past few years. Putting both of them in a Winter Classic would give today's NHL audience a taste of some old fashioned, hard-nosed hockey.
Rivalry: Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings
Site: Rose Bowl
Why? Ever since the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim joined the NHL in the early 1990s, there has always been a small rivalry between the two. However, as both teams begin to dress stronger lineups year-after-year, the rivalry, as well, has grown stronger.
To fans, the rivalry is known as the Freeway Face-Off. Having a Winter Classic in California can do wonders for both hockey teams and California. It would be a feat for both parties as the game would have to be played in moderately warm weather. However, the GM of the Rose Bowl mentioned a hockey game in the Rose Bowl as a possibility.
The NHL has the technology to bring an outdoor hockey game to California, but will they? To many, the purpose of a Winter Classic is to see two teams play a classic game of "pond hockey" in frigid temperatures. Fans of both teams would agree, but a project like this would be interesting to say the least.