Simply put, it's the worst kept secret in the National Hockey League. The Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2010 will be played at America's most beloved ballpark and home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park. We already know the Bruins are set to play (obviously) as the home team but the B's opponent has been rumored and been a topic for discussion for months now.
Currently, the newest rumor gaining legs is the idea that the Philadelphia Flyers will be skating against the black and gold on News Year Day.
At first, we thought it would surely be the Montreal Canadiens, the Bruins most bitter rivals since their introduction into the NHL, but we learned soon after that NBC and the NHL would like to keep the Winter Classic showcasing the American clubs. By simply looking at a map we'll realize that Montreal and Toronto are not in the race.
Oh that's classic. The iconic Boston vs. New York rivalry that takes place on the Fenway Park diamond, only this time the Red Sox and Yankees aren't involved. The history of the two clubs, talent level and television markets would surely go for this, right?
The NHL's possibly planning to have a game at Yankee Stadium in the coming year (or two) and there's no way the Islanders are selling that out, so cross the New York Rangers off the list.
The options are dwindling by the minute. Then we learned about the Washington Capitals.
However, due in large part to the poor ratings on NBC during Ovechkin and the Capitals Eastern Conference Quarterfinals match-up against the New York Rangers, the NHL on NBC has decided to go with someone besides the Caps. The next option in line, the Philadelphia Flyers, intrigues Bruins and NHL fans for quite a few reasons.
These teams may not be in the same division, but there's still a large share of bad blood between the two franchises. The base of the hatred stems from that fateful Saturday matinee against the Flyers on Oct. 27, 2007.
In the first period of a scoreless game, Patrice Bergeron was leveled into the boards on a more-than-questionable hit by Flyers blue-liner Randy Jones. The Bruins went on to lose the game and Bergeron for the next 72 games of the regular season and entire playoffs. However, the rivalry didn't end after that contest.
Later in the year, when the teams met in the City of Brotherly Love (irony), Flyers forward and Sideshow-Bob-look-a-like Scott Hartnell decided he wanted to continue the Flyers team motive of board-and-run when he boarded Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts, giving Alberts a concussion and ending his season prematurely.
He followed that up with an attempt at boarding Bruins captain Zdeno Chara when an agitated Aaron Ward took matters into his own hands with some vigilante justice against the Flyers.
At the end of 2007-08, it was the Bruins who had the last laugh as they went 3-1-0 against the Broad Street Bullies including two overtime thrillers. The hatred between the teams has continued into the 2008-09 season where all four match-ups between the two Eastern Conference contenders were filled with hard hits, penalties and fisticuffs.
As a fan of thriving franchises in the NHL, these two teams match-up perfectly for the contest. Both teams can hit, score and make exceptionally great plays.
Both clubs are back to competing at a high-level and are trying to return to the glory they brought to their cities in the 1970's. This may not be Clarke vs. Orr, or the Big Bad Bruins vs. the Broad Street Bullies, but this is as close as we're going to get if Montreal's not coming to Boston.