Earlier in the week, the producer of the popular podcast Spittin’ Chiclets Mike Grinnell broke a little news that the “Winter Classic could be headed back to Fenway next season and would feature the Bruins & Penguins.”
During his All-Star game press conference, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed that first part, but nothing about the Penguins just yet as the NHL has not officially announced the opponent for the Boston Bruins in the 2023 Winter Classic.
Bettman announces the Global Series will return next season in Europe, the Hurricanes will host a Stadium Series game, the Panthers will host the All-Star Game and the Bruins will host the Winter Classic at Fenway Park.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) February 4, 2022
Ironically, the Penguins were scheduled to be Carolina’s outdoor opponent when they host the Stadium Series, a move initially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, the Pens have been purchased by the Fenway Sports Group. As the name suggests the large conglomerate owns Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox (who the FSG also owns).
It remains to be seen just when and where Pittsburgh will be playing outside next, however Fenway Park having the Bruins vs. anyone but the Pens doesn’t make a ton of sense.
The Pens have played in a ton of outdoor games over the years as one of the NHL’s premiere teams, but they have not participated in a Winter Classic, the January 1st and league’s most featured outdoor game, since hosting it in 2011.
By contrast, the Bruins have appeared in two Winter Classic’s since then, hosting Montreal in 2016 (at the Patriots’ Foxborough Stadium) and then going to Notre Dame to play Chicago in 2019.
Fenway Park has hosted one Winter Classic previously, in 2010, when Boston defeated Philadelphia.
Fenway will be getting the Winter Classic once more in 2023, and it would seem a matter of time before Fenway’s hockey team in the Penguins is officially going to participate.