If things go according to plan, the NHL could be putting Sidney Crosby on display for the world’s greatest outdoor hockey game next season.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the 2011 Winter Classic will take place on Jan. 1 at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Neither the league nor the Penguins have made an official announcement, and that likely won’t come until the summer.
The construction of the rink could disrupt the end of the Steelers’ season, as the time to form the outdoor playing surface is roughly two weeks. NFL schedules have not yet been made public, though the Steelers reportedly will finish their home slate on Dec. 23.
The Penguins won the first rendition of the Winter Classic in 2008 when they defeated the Sabres 2-1 in Buffalo. The ’08 game — held at the Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium — was the only Winter Classic played in a football stadium. The last two years, the game has been played in baseball stadiums: Wrigley Field in 2009 and Fenway Park in 2010.
PNC Park — home of the Pirates — was never under serious consideration, according to the Post-Gazette, most likely because there’s more seating capacity at Heinz Field.
No opponent has been mentioned for the Penguins, but speculation has centered around Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. A Crosby-Ovechkin matchup would be a dream marketing scenario for the NHL.