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The Winter Classic, and Columbus

With the recent talk of who should be playing in the next WC, The Copper and Blue's Derek Zona writes a brilliant piece explaining why it would be wise for the league to let Columbus host a Classic. "Columbus would give the league a Western Conference host, yet the city isn't far from the Eastern media, and it's within driving distance of a number of NHL markets who would help Columbus fill the enormous Horseshoe. The Blue Jackets could certainly use the revenue, the media attention and the raised profile within hockey.The NHL needs the city and fans to see hockey on the second-biggest stage the league can offer and hopefully drive more hips through the turnstiles. The league could pit Columbus against the defending Stanley Cup Champion (unless it's a Canadian team), Detroit or Pittsburgh (both cities are a short drive away from Columbus and would bring plenty of fans), or New York or Philadelphia (if television ratings are the overriding concern). The Horseshoe cries out for a night game, because as college football fans know, the Horseshoe at night is an amazing atmosphere -- a perfect stage for the Winter Classic. The opportunity is a unique one because the NHL cannot support any of the other expansion markets in this manner. Unless the teams in those markets are able to make a Stanley Cup Final, the league cannot bring such an important game with a sizeable national spotlight and enormous media coverage to those markets."

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