DETROIT – Tomas Holmstrom won’t be basing his NHL future on whether or not the Wings will get the next Winter Classic or not.
But the thought of playing in another one did seem to chipper up his already happy persona Saturday morning.
“It would be awesome to do it one more time, for sure,” said Holmstrom, who played in the 6-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic. “It was a great experience in Chicago. To celebrate New Year’s and the family was there in Chicago. It was the perfect day for it, too. It was fun the day before, the families were there. We skated outside. It was really good. And we came up with a win, too. But it was a great experience, something you’ll remember the rest of your life.”
A source told The Macomb Daily that the annual game could be coming to Detroit in the next season or two.
“It’s a short list and we’re on it,” the person said. “We’ll have the game in the not too distant future.”
Possible venues to host would be Comerica Park or Michigan Stadium, which hosted the “Big Chill at the Big House” in 2010 that had an announced crowd of nearly 114,000.
“It would be really cool (Big House), for sure, get the home crowd, too,” Holmstrom said.
The New York Rangers are also on the short list to host a Winter Classic. However, the Rangers play in this year’s event today against the Philadelphia Flyers at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.
Holmstrom is one of 11 current Red Wings that took part in 2009 game at Wrigley Stadium.
“I know I’m looking forward to watching the one (today),” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “Anytime you get a chance to play outdoors, I think it’s a great thing. If we could do it in Michigan, it would be great for our fans and great for our franchise, great for our trademark, so a real good thing.”
Backup goalie Ty Conklin has played in three different outdoor games for three different teams.
Conklin played in the Heritage Classic in 2003 with Edmonton. It was the first regular season outdoor game in NHL history. He followed that with starts between the pipes for Pittsburgh in the 2008 Winter Classic and then was the Wings’ netminder in 2009.
“It would be a lot of fun to be able to play in one,” Jimmy Howard said. “Growing up, you skate on lakes and outdoor rinks, to be able to play an actual game (outdoors) would be a lot of fun.”
Rookie Joakim Andersson played in the first outdoor game in Sweden, the 2009 SEL Outdoor Classic. His team, Frolunda HC beat Farjestads BK, 4-1, in front of a crowd of 31,144, which at the time set an attendance record for a European game.
“It was the year before I came over, it was fun,” Andersson said. “It was a special feeling to play outside with a large crowd. It was pretty cool. It was an unbelievable game. I kind of had goose bumps at the start.”