Posted by: emmaharger | September 27, 2011

The least surprising thing ever

To absolutely no one in the hockey world’s surprise, today the NHL made it official and announced the 2012 Winter Classic, to be played at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on the day after New Year’s Day (thanks to the NFL schedule) between the Flyers and Rangers. They had a fancy press conference at the ballpark, but seriously, everyone has known about this for a while now. I’ve even seen photos of the proposed Winter Classic jerseys and the orange I saw on the Flyers ones is like the same kind of orange air traffic controllers have on their wand things.

Heck, even Bettman himself has admitted this news is the worst-kept secret in sports. No, really? I remember reading about this matchup back in, like, June. In fact, some fans have theorized that this announcement took so long because the league had something else they needed to organize a big fancy press conference for first. (Hint: it begins with r and ends with -elocation.)

They’re going to do the 24/7 specials on HBO again for this game, which should be fun. But again, people knew this was happening; I swear I’ve even seen a Rangers player tweet about how he scolded HBO crewmembers not to step on the Rangers emblem in the locker room since it’s bad luck. He also made the crewmembers kiss the emblem for good luck.

To manufacture more emotions about this game, since the Flyers and the Rangers are in the same division but aren’t really super bloodthirsty towards one another (now, if you had the Rangers play the Islanders, or the Flyers play the Penguins, in a Winter Classic, there would be real white-hot enmity there), the league had the Rangers’ president talk at the presser and declare his team would win…to a crowd of Philadelphia sports fans. Yeah, that went over well.

Here’s the list of events surrounding the Winter Classic, since it’s not just the one big game happening:

  • 24/7 begins December 14 and runs every Wednesday until January 4 on HBO
  • Alumni game between the Rangers and Flyers on December 31
  • Winter Classic, 1 p.m. January 2, NBC
  • Adirondack Phantoms vs. Hershey Bears, January 6, 7 p.m.
  • Maybe some high school or college level games, plus public skating

Until January, prepare to have the league force the Rangers-Flyers rivalry down our throats.

Also, seriously, we’re repeating teams in the Winter Classic already? The Flyers took on the Bruins two years ago. Why not have some other teams give it a shot?

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