In a move that surprised no one, the NHL is pairing up the Flyers and the Rangers for the Winter Classic in Philly this year. this year. Yes, this is the 2nd appearance of the Flyers in 3 years. Yes, it appears that the roster of teams that are allowed to play in the Winter Classic is limited to the 6 teams that NBC will air on Sunday. I don't even know where to begin with these choices for the WC. Obviously I'm biased and believe that the Islanders and Rangers (hell, even the Isles and Flyers) make a much better rivalry then Rangers vs Flyers. Do you remember when the Rangers won the Cup beating the Flyers in Game 6 of the finals? Me Neither.
First off it would have made more sense to give the Flyers another year off from the Winter Classic. Since the Penguins wouldn't have been in this years classic, they could have finally had the Flyers Vs Penguins classic at the Penn State football field. Why the rivalry between the Pens and Flyers keeps getting passed up for the Classic is odd, given the hatred that both fanbases have for one another. Once again though, logic might ask why the Bruins didn't play the Canadiens, or why there has only ever been 1 Winter Classic out west?
The NHL seems to be doing what it does best, killing any joy people might have for the Winter Classic. Like watching the Super Bowl or any number of big sporting events, part of the fun is in hoping that your team will someday be a part of the action. But the choices made so far by the NHL for the Winter Classic gives the impression that for a lot of us it will never happen. Unless you have Ty Conklin or are one of the 6 pre-approved teams from NBC it's not going to happen. It's too bad, especially as rivalry games between two teams that really hate each other can bring fan excitement to an all new level. It's not just the fans either, you can get a playoff like intensity from the players when they are playing a rival.
But as the Flyers are looking at their second visit already to the Winter Classic, and hey as long as Comcast owns the Flyers and NBC, let's keep the Synergy going!