Anthony SanFilippo of the Delaware County Daily Times has confirmed the news that was reported by Boston radio station WEEI yesterday -- the Bruins will host the Flyers on New Years' Day 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston.
The NHL was pushing the Washington Capitals. They wanted to market Alex Ovechkin. NBC, the network broadcasting the game, said no dice. They were concerned with the poor ratings the Caps' produced in the playoffs in an opening round series against the New York Rangers - the No. 1 U.S. market for the NHL.
So, they told the NHL to skip Washington and give them the Flyers... a more certain brand to market.
The NHL was stubborn for a while... mostly because the Flyers were more interested in a Jan. 1 date with Pittsburgh than Boston. However, the NHL assured the Flyers that a future Flyers-Penguins outdoor game could still happen in a couple years.
The Flyers were satisfied and agreed to play.
It seems like a win-win for fans of the orange and black. Not only do we get to see out boys play at a historic ballpark such as Fenway next season, it also seems we won't be missing out on an eventual dream Winter Classic with the Penguins (hopefully at Penn State).
There is another impact of this as well, however. You know all those times when the Flyers are on NBC and we're all sitting here cursing at the television -- "NBC hates the Flyers blah blah blah!" It's hard to argue that case anymore when they're the ones who wanted us in this game. It's hard to argue that case anymore when they picked us over Ovechkin, arguably the best, most entertaining player in the game today.
If last year is any indication, an official announcement from the league should come in the middle of July. Last year's Winter Classic between Detroit and Chicago was announced by the NHL on July 16.