The Winter Classic is "coming to Philadelphia," as the Flyers will host the NHL's annual outdoor game at Citizens Bank Park next season, according to Frank Seravalli of the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS. The "likely opponent" is the Rangers, though a TSN report Thursday indicated that sources inside the organization "have no knowledge of the team's participation." It will be the second time in the last three years that the Flyers will be involved in the NHL's "most highly anticipated regular-season game." What remains "up in the air is the date of the game." The Eagles are scheduled to host the Redskins on Jan. 1, 2012, at Lincoln Financial Field "if the NFL's lockout is lifted." Dec. 31, 2011, and Jan. 2, 2012, are the "remaining options for the game." Jan. 2 would be the "observed holiday for New Year's since it falls on a Sunday next year." That would also be the "better daytime television option." The NHL has said that it "will require both participating teams to open their locker rooms to HBO for the next series" of its "24/7: Road to the Winter Classic" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/13). Comcast-Spectacor President & COO Peter Luukko said that he is "waiting for confirmation from the league." A league source said that the matchup "would happen, and that it would be played on Jan. 2 because the NHL does not want to go head-to-head with NFL games on Jan. 1." In Philadelphia, Sam Carchidi notes events "in conjunction with the Flyers-Rangers game are expected to include an alumni matchup between the two teams" (PHLLY.com, 5/13). The Rangers are the "only Original Six team from the United States yet to play an outdoor regular-season game" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/13).
HERITAGE CLASSIC'S FUTURE UNCERTAIN: TSN's Darren Dreger cites sources as saying that the future of the Heritage Classic is "far less certain that its American counterpart," the Winter Classic. NHL sources said that with only six Canadian franchises, sports venues "may not be big enough to support the model of this event financially, so rather than forcing it annually in Canada, the Heritage Classic will likely become a regular event -- just not something that is pushed every year" (TSN.ca, 5/12).