When addressing the media earlier today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman stated that Citi Field, the current home of the New York Mets, is a serious consideration for holding the 2011 Winter Classic, reports Steve Zipay of Newsday. The Wilpon family, who owns the Mets, have been aggressive in trying to lure the NHL over to Citi Field, and as a result, the league has sent officials to check out the park for themselves.
Obviously being about a two-year-old ballpark, it would not be too difficult to potentially create the setup for the January 1 game, and being in the middle of a New York market, it would attract a lot of attention as well. Yankee Stadium probably would have been the ideal location if they were to hold the event in the Big Apple, but they are out of play being that they will be hosting a bowl game at the time.
Now comes the question of which teams would participate if it took place in New York. Obviously the Rangers would be one of them being that they are one of the more popular hockey franchises, not only within this area, but around the country. As for their opponents, I would bet on either the Islanders or the Washington Capitals.
It was no secret that this past Winter Classic hurt from a ratings aspect without a legitimate superstar on either team. Because of this, the NHL is going to do everything they can to improve ratings in the 2011 outdoor game, and there is no better way to do that than to include Alex Ovechkin, the most excitable player in hockey. Not to mention that names like Lundqvist and Gaborik have also become well known, and would attract viewers.