That the first and fourth NHL Winter Classics were more entertaining than the second and third is either a tribute to the Sidney Crosby(notes) or the virtues of outdoor hockey inside NFL stadia.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN, neither will be a factor for the 2012 Winter Classic, as it appears like the Philadelphia Flyers will host the New York Rangers — but not in the home of the Eagles:
The NHL hasn't officially signed off on the location, largely because of building availability in Philadelphia. The NHL would love to host the outdoor game at Lincoln Financial Field, but the NFL's schedule is making the football stadium virtually impossible, so Citizens Bank Park, the home of the Philadelphia Phillies, will likely be the venue of choice.
Nothing official yet from the League or the participants. Like Leahy wrote last month, The Linc was out because of the NFL schedule — assuming they actually have a season — and the necessary time the NHL needs to prep for the event.
Dreger mentions the joy of watching John Tortorella on "HBO 24/7", and that'd be an undeniable benefit to this matchup. (As would the Best Supporting Actor Emmy nomination with Larry Brooks' name on it.)
But does this Classic do it for you?
The downers for this matchup, besides seeing the Flyers for the second time in three years, are the sexier options we've all imagined for both teams. Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Penn State. Rangers vs. fill-in-the-blank at Yankee Stadium. Instead, it's Eastern Conference (again) teams from the Northeast (again) in a venue that's second to the football stadium next door in desirability.
But hey, it's New York vs. Philly — it's going to be a good time.
It was also just reported in SportsCenter.