After so much excitement, it's only natural that fans have already started wondering about next year's game. The NHL hasn't made any official announcements so far, but according to reports that may simply be a formality. Media speculation has been all but unanimous that it's already a done deal: The Detroit Red Wings will be hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Is that a smart matchup for what's quickly becoming the league's marquee event? It's tough to say. Here are some of the pros and cons of going with Detroit and Toronto at next year's Winter Classic.
Pro: The Maple Leafs would probably do great in the middle of a stadium, since their games at the ACC have given them extensive experience playing in rinks where there aren't any fans seated within 100 feet of the ice.
Con: For one night it would feel like both teams were back playing in the old Norris Division, which technically counts as realignment so Donald Fehr would just show up and ruin it.
Pro: Ron Wilson has indicated that he'd enjoy being part of the Winter Classic, so it's probably safe to assume that whoever is coaching the Leafs this time next year would feel the same way.
Con: Having only one American team involved instead of two means ESPN would probably reduce the number of minutes they spent talking about the game down to whatever zero divided by two is.
Pro: American hockey fans have complained that they're sick of seeing the Winter Classic involve the same old teams that are always being shoved down their throats on TV, so it's only fair that Canadian fans get a chance to see what that's like.
Con: David Steckel would be playing in a Winter Classic again, so enjoy that year off, Pavel Datsyuk.
Pro: The alumni game would give Mike Foligno a chance to suit up for the Maple Leafs for the first time in almost 20 years, and that should probably have been enough time for him to find a helmet that was the same color as everyone else's.
Con: Another season of HBO would mean that the Maple Leafs star players would be followed by cameras 24 hours a day for four straight weeks, which is probably not enough time to get a halfway interesting quote out of Phil Kessel.
Pro: So far every team that's played the Red Wings in a Winter Classic has gone on to win the Stanley Cup the next year, so this matchup would be a great way to nip that whole trend in the bud.
Con: Detroit is located in Michigan which is pretty much the furthest west you can go and still find any American hockey fans, as far as the NHL seems to know.
Pro: Including Toronto in the Winter Classic would open the door for future appearances by other Canadian teams like Ottawa or Edmonton, fans of those teams would adorably start to think.
Con: HBO has a long history of featuring over-the-top villains on shows like The Sopranos and The Wire, but even they think that this Todd Bertuzzi guy might be pushing it.
Pro: There are rumors that the game could be held at Comerica Park, and it would be fun to see a sports team from Toronto play a meaningful game in a baseball stadium for the first time in almost 20 years.
Con: Nicklas Lidstrom would be at an unfair advantage in the game since he played outdoors all the time as a kid back before they invented buildings.
Pro: If the matchup is finalized then every Maple Leaf and Red Wing fan in the world will spend the next year going crazy with unbridled excitement, which will make it so much fun for everyone else when the whole thing is cancelled due to the lockout.