Rumors are flying that the NHL has decided that the Rangers
will meet the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 Winter Classic. The
game will be played on January 2nd at Citizens Bank Park.
The Classic will be pushed back a day so that the NHL can
avoid going up against the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, which are scheduled to
play the Washington Redskins on January 1st.
An official announcement likely won’t come for another
month, but this has been speculated for some time and yesterday things really
heated up. In the morning, TSN’s Darren Dreger, who’s always in the
loop, said that the Flyers
were “the leading candidate for next year’s Winter Classic.”
As the night wore on, the game was confirmed
by Phillyburbs.com, and subsequently
by at least one NHL source.
Obviously, nothing’s set in stone until the NHL makes an
official announcement, but based on months of speculation and yesterday’s
reports from very reliable sources, this seems like it’s close to a done
The Rangers are the lone remaining US-based Original Six
franchise that hadn’t played in the Winter Classic. Philadelphia visited Boston in the game
two years ago.
You’d have to assume that the Rangers and Flyers have both
agreed to participate in filming for HBO’s hit show “24/7” if they’ve been
approved by the league. Many had thought that Coach John Tortorella
wouldn’t allow access to HBO’s cameras, but he may have been pressured from
above. That will be must see TV for Rangers fans and hockey fans
- Yesterday, the Rangers signed last year’s fifth-round
pick, Jason Wilson, 21, to an entry level deal. Wilson joins Carl
Hagelin, Roman Horak, Ryan Bourque, and Dylan McIlrath as prospects signed by
the Rangers so far this offseason. Wilson posted 18 goals and 25 assists
last year with the Niagara IceDogs of the OHL. He’s likely to join
the Connecticut Whale next year where he may replace Whale veterans like Dale
Weise. Wilson says
he tries to mold
his game after Brandon Prust, which is music to the Rangers’ ears.
- One more note about the Oscar Lindberg/Ethan Werek trade a
week ago. Anders Hedberg, the Rangers’ head European scout, believes
that Lindberg still has plenty of room for growth and will stay in Sweden for
at least another year and maybe two. More from Hedberg:
"(Lindberg) is a very solid player and his hockey sense is very good. His
positioning on the ice---at both ends of the ice---is very good, so he knows
the game and has very good hockey sense. He is not a finesse player really, but
his hands are good, his skating stride is good---which is a really important
part of becoming a good player. He can play in the middle or on the side, too.
And he's not fully developed yet. There's more to come."
- The New York Islanders inked
Michael Grabner to a five-year deal today. No doubt, Grabner and
other free agents will be more likely to sign with the team now that the
Islanders have some long-term stability in the form of a new arena.
- If you’re in the mood to be depressed, Damien Cox writes
probably in for another lockout after next season.