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Report: Penguins vs. Bruins Set for 2023 NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

DENVER, COLORADO - APRIL 02: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins looks on against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena on April 2, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly been selected as the Boston Bruins' opponent for the 2023 Winter Classic after Fenway Park was announced as the host site in February.

ESPN's Kevin Weekes reported the selection of the Pens on Wednesday and also noted the game will take place Jan. 2 next year rather than in its traditional New Year's Day slot.

It's the second time that Fenway Park, the iconic home of MLB's Boston Red Sox, will host the NHL's annual outdoor showcase. The Bruins scored a 2-1 overtime win over the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.

Boston will be making its fourth appearance in the Winter Classic, tying the Chicago Blackhawks for the most in the event's history. It most recently appeared in the 2019 game, when it defeated the Hawks 4-2 at Notre Dame Stadium.

Pittsburgh played in the first Winter Classic, a 2-1 road triumph over the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, and hosted the 2011 game, a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals.

Fenway Park will become the first stadium to host two Winter Classics, but NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman promised a new feel this time around when the decision was announced:

"It's been 12 years since we were at Fenway. A lot of money has been put into the building, it's not quite the same ballpark. Boston is obviously a great hockey town. We've now done over 30 outdoor games; if you want to keep doing them, you have to go back to some places. It won't look and it won't be the same, [NHL chief content officer] Steve Mayer won't allow it, as it was last time. It'll be a new experience in a venue that has been transformed and modernized in some ways. We think it'll be a great event."

The game is going to feature an Original Six franchise in the Bruins taking on the longtime face of the league, the Penguins' Sidney Crosby.

It could also end up being a playoff rematch, with both Boston and Pittsburgh set to soon clinch their spots in the 2022 Eastern Conference postseason field.

A Bruins win would make them the first team with three Winter Classic victories.