Top Five Winter Classics
CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency
|NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (3rd L) poses with Detroit Red Wings players Niklas Kronwall (L-R), Nicklas Lidstrom, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and goalie Jimmy Howard on the field at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan February 9, 2012. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
OK, so there have been only five, but with next year's game set for Michigan's Big House and looking like it might be the best ever with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs and a record crowd, what does it have to beat out? Here's my ranking of the five so far:
1. The Sidney Crosby Snow Globe: That was the first Winter Classic at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium. The light snow and Crosby scoring the winner in a shootout made for great television. It established the Winter Classic as a viable event for the NHL and elevated Crosby's status as the game's go-to guy.
2. Fight at Fenway: The third Winter Classic, the second one in a baseball stadium, saw the only game decided by overtime (won by the Bruins' Marco Sturm). It also had a great alumni game and featured the first fight in an outdoor game between Boston's Shawn Thornton and Daniel Carcillo of the Philadelphia Flyers.
3. Bleacher Bums: The first outdoor game at a baseball stadium went to Wrigley Field and saw the Detroit Red Wings score five consecutive goals to come back from a 3-1 disadvantage and beat the Chicago Blackhawks. Bobby Hull led the fans in a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame.
4. Rangers Rule in Philly: The baseball-stadium theme lost a little speed off its fastball this year. It was a good game though, with the New York Rangers' Mike Rupp ripping off Jaromir Jagr's post-goal salute, and Rangers coach John Tortorella seeing a conspiracy under every snowflake.
5. The Cloud Over Crosby: The 2011 game turned out to be a disaster. Rain in Pittsburgh forced the NHL to postpone the start of the game until the evening and conditions were borderline unacceptable. Crosby was blindsided by Washington Capital David Steckel and the outcome of that story is still unknown.