Penguins-Flyers outdoor game site undetermined
CHICAGO — Penn State may have to wait for the Penguins.
A potential outdoor game at Beaver Stadium involving the Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers has one significant obstacle to overcome, a high-ranking NHL official said Thursday.
“It's always fun to come up with those scenarios in the league office or as a third party, but at the end of the day it does require a club to give up a home game,” said NHL chief operating officer John Collins.
“We haven't broached that yet.”
Penguins CEO David Morehouse and his Flyers counterpart, Peter Luukko, held preliminary conversations about a potential outdoor game that would bring the commonwealth's two NHL clubs to Beaver Stadium.
Neither side is eager to dismiss the Beaver Stadium game as a possibility, but there is no firm agreement between the Penguins and Flyers on how to pull off a neutral site game.
NHL clubs — unlike those in NFL and MLB — generate the majority of their revenue from home gates. The NHL, not its accommodating host club, receives an undisclosed share of the gate for the Winter Classic and its outdoor game series.
Collins, a former NFL executive, was the driving force behind the NHL's original Winter Classic in 2008, and that event's success sparked the five additional outdoor games this season.
Although the Classic — which will be staged between Detroit and Toronto on New Year's Day at Michigan Stadium — remains the most significant event on the NHL calendar other than the Stanley Cup Final, the five additional outdoor games are potential building blocks for future series, Collins said.
“Every game opens a new opportunity,” Collins said, citing a Los Angeles showdown between the Kings and Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium that will take place the night after the Grammy Awards ceremony.
“I think it's a fairly unique year.”
The Penguins are proving a unique instrument for the NHL because Sidney Crosby is, according to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, “the face of our game” across North America.
Crosby played for the Penguins in their exhibition game at United Center on Thursday night. It was only his second game in the Windy City since his rookie season (2005-06).
If healthy, his return to Chicago would be on March 1, 2014, for a game between the Penguins and Blackhawks at Solider Field.
That would mark the third appearance in an outdoor game for Crosby and the Penguins. They pioneered the Winter Classic on New Year's Day 2008 at Buffalo's Ralph Wilson Stadium, and the Classic came to Heinz Field, where the Penguins and Washington Capitals played at night on Jan. 1, 2011.
The Penguins-Blackhawks game at Solider Field will pit the former perennial Cup favorite against the defending Cup champion.
It also will feature other stars such as the Penguins' Evgeni Malkin and Chicago's dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Crosby and Toews (Canada), Malkin (Russia) and Kane (United States) — if healthy — figure to be heavily promoted by NBC during its February broadcast of the Winter Olympics.
“It's not an accident,” Collins said. “We think it's a great way to get a lift coming out of the Olympics.”
Pittsburgh is likely to get a lift coming off the Penguins agreement to serve as a visiting club for the second time in an outdoor game.
If multiple outdoor games in a season are going to become standard, the Penguins want to be among the handful of go-to franchises to play host — and Collins suggested their willingness to play in Chicago would put Pittsburgh in play.
“I don't think somebody playing as an opponent precludes them (from hosting another Winter Classic and/or outdoor game,” Collins said. “Often times it is a club's willingness to being an opponent that leads them to hosting.”
NHL officials are intrigued by the possibility of an outdoor game at PNC Park because of a perceived made-for-TV outfield backdrop of the Clemente Bridge, Allegheny River and Downtown skyline.
Collins would not commit on specifics of a likely future Pittsburgh outdoor NHL game, but he pointed out “a lot of people who think of the ballpark in Pittsburgh as one of the best ballparks in the country.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ Maatta tests positive for mumps; Bortuzzo, Greiss negative
- Fleury’s career-best 6th shutout lifts Penguins over Avalanche in overtime
- Penguins star Crosby talks about his experience with mumps
- Penguins defenseman Letang having best season in new system
- Penguins notebook: Zatkoff returns to team as Fleury’s backup
- With 3 more players possibly affected, Pens’ mumps fight escalates
- Penguins continue to thrive, despite spate of ailments
- Penguins notebook: Players back team doctors in mumps aftermath
- Penguins player might have exposed Children’s Hospital patients to mumps
- Penguins notebook: Kunitz tests foot by skating during practice
- Penguins’ Maatta to seek second opinion for shoulder