With all the excitement surrounding the NHL's Winter Classic, there's always speculation that comes along with it. That speculation is answering the question, "Who's next?" Who will be the next team to host the Winter Classic?
2012 is no different, as rumors are already swirling that the Detroit Red Wings will most likely host the game in 2013.
This isn't exactly new news either. Detroit has previously been named for a likely Winter Classic host before in articles such as this.
Certainly, until it is 100 percent confirmed, we can't take this to be a fact, but we can assume that Detroit has a very good chance.
It would be unlikely for the NHL to put New York in back to back Classics, and New Yankee Stadium is booked for 2013 anyhow.
Other than the Red Wings, the only other name legitimately in talks is the Washington Capitals, and with their recent collapse, it's even more unlikely that the NHL may want to take a risk on the nation's capital.
Even with the question of which team will host the Winter Classic likely answered, there are even more questions if the Detroit Red Wings are indeed the hosts.
First of all, there's the question of where the game is played. Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, is one of the locations discussed. The Big House in Ann Arbor is the other. An NFL Stadium is out of the question due to the fact that Ford Field is an indoor stadium.
It's likely to be a big debate. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch is also the owner of the Tigers and of Comerica Park, so he would clearly prefer that the Red Wings play in Comerica park.
Many fans would also prefer the idea of the Classic being hosted in the City of Detroit itself, as they feel that having the showcase hosted out of the city would take away from the moment.
The City of Detroit will definitely want to play host to the event as well, as the Winter Classic has reportedly generated anywhere from $22 million to $36 million for past host cities.
On the other hand, you will also have people pulling for the game to be hosted in The Big House. Putting the Classic in Ann Arbor would almost guarantee a new NHL attendance record.
The Big House holds over 110,000 fans, making it relatively easy to shatter the NHL's previous record of 71,000+ set during the 2008 Winter Classic involving the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.
The venue debate will certainly be heated, but not necessarily the most important debate. There still isn't a specific team in mind for Detroit to play against in 2013.
There's certainly the possibility of a rematch against the Chicago Blackhawks from the 2009 Winter Classic. However, reports have said that there are no discussions involving Chicago's name to travel to Detroit for the event.
Another possible visitor for the game would be Detroit's other division rival, the St. Louis Blues. Detroit and St. Louis have had a decent rivalry over the years that stumbled in recent years due to St. Louis' mediocre performances.
However, that appears to be in the past, as Detroit and St. Louis are both in good playoff positions currently, and have had absolutely outstanding matchups against each other thus far this season.
Of course, there will most definitely be people who will toss out the name of the Colorado Avalanche. Detroit and Colorado were involved in what may very well be the biggest NHL rivalry of the 1990s, and one of the most famous in sports history.
The word "history" should be noted. Some fans want this game as an attempt to "wake up the rivalry", but rest assured, you can't wake up what's dead.
Possibly the most likely opponent for Detroit is one people may not think of immediately. Before moving to the Eastern Conference in 1998, the Toronto Maple Leafs shared a rivalry with the Red Wings that was even bigger than the Wings' rivalry with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Although the teams have seen less of each other over the years since Toronto's move, the rivalry has still managed to stay alive and a matchup between these two teams could make for the best Winter Classic yet.
The fact that Detroit has so many options may be what could make this Winter Classic great. Having choices on where to play and who to play is a huge decision, but it also provides flexibility.
Jordan Matthews writes for the NHL and the Detroit Red Wings. You can read Jordan's recent work below:
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