Based on all of the reporting that had been done up to this week, the NHL wanted the Washington Capitals to play the Boston Bruins in Fenway Park on New Year's Day. The league wanted another showcase of Alex Ovechkin, one of the league's signature player, its most exciting offensive player.
Instead, the Flyers apparently will get the spot as the visiting team.
The reason? You.
This is about television ratings. This is about the television ratings that the Flyers tend to draw, around the nation but especially in Philadelphia. NBC is driving the bus here. Ratings are driving the bus. And the Flyers are the NHL's old reliable that way.
A smaller city like Buffalo might get a higher percentage of its televisions to tune in to see the Sabres in this kind of a setting. But there is no big city like Philadelphia when it comes to these numbers -- and it's true in the NFL, too. Routinely, Philadelphia fans show up in big percentages to watch their teams, bigger percentages than New York or Los Angeles or Houston or (most of the time) Chicago. It is probably the best big city/high penetration combination that there is.
This has become a very big game for NBC. You have to know that the network wanted the Flyers. And again, with all due respect to Mike Richards and the fellas, they aren't the reason. You are.