Sources: Nationals Park Likely To Host '15 Winter Classic; Bay Area Awaits Outdoor Fate
The NHL has yet to name a venue for the '15 Winter Classic in DC, but Nationals Park "is the front-runner," according to sources cited by Alex Prewitt of the WASHINGTON POST. Though the announcement delay has "hinged on simply finalizing discussions and signing paperwork, all signs still point" to the ballpark. FedExField "seems logistically impossible as an alternative," given that the Redskins host the Cowboys on Dec. 28. Baltimore -- either Camden Yards or M&T Bank Stadium -- "would have made sense as a neutral site for a matchup" between the Capitals and Flyers, but with the Blackhawks as the opponent, it "seems more likely that the game will take place" in DC. The Capitals "declined to comment, saying that stadium negotiations have traditionally taken place between the venue and the NHL." A delay in naming a venue is "not uncommon" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/21).
BAY WATCH: In San Jose, David Pollak noted the NHL released its '14-15 schedule yesterday, but the league "won't indicate if the Sharks will be hosting the outdoor game they've been seeking." Sharks COO John Tortora on Friday said that all 41 home games "will be designated at SAP Center," with the understanding that "one of those games could move to an outdoor site." Tortora: "If we do get awarded a game, that announcement will probably come sometime in July. There will not be a switch in the team or the date of a game on the schedule, just that one game becomes a home game outdoors" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/21).
WILD, WILD WINTER? In Minneapolis, Michael Russo cited a source as saying that the Wild are "at the 'top of the list' for a stadium-series game and was scheduled to have a game this year." The source said that "timing and logistics" held it up. The Wild want to "make this a huge event by having outdoor high school and college games accompanying the stadium series game." The problem is that the league wants the game to be in Minnesota in February and for this upcoming season, the colleges "had their schedules already booked and couldn't just insert an outdoor game into their schedules right before their playoffs." In addition, February is "getting awfully close to Twins season and could cause havoc" on Target Field. A league source said, "At the end of the day, both of us determined that next year would be better. It's going to happen next year" (STARTRIBUNE.com, 6/21).