Monday January 19th, 2015

At this point, there may be no confluence of teams and location that leads to a perfect Winter Classic.

But this comes pretty close.

According to a report from ESPN Boston's Joe McDonald, the Boston Bruins are set to host the Montreal Canadiens at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Jan. 1, 2016.

Winter Classic's poor TV rating is beside the point

By any measure, this looks like a winner. Although it's a bit of a risk for broadcast partner NBC, which would benefit from having two American TV markets to power the ratings, the tradeoff is the chance to take hockey's greatest rivalry outdoors for the first time.

And while Gillette Stadium lacks the romantic charm of 2010 Winter Classic host Fenway Park, the home of the NFL's New England Patriots can seat nearly 70,000 fans, guaranteeing a sizable boost for next season's Hockey-Related Revenue.

The weather should cooperate, too. With an average temperature for New Year's Day sliding somewhere between a low of 26 degrees and a high of 38, there's a better than even chance for the snowfall that highlights the most memorable outdoor games, and a 21% chance for at least some snow to be on the ground.

Of course, the Winter Classic has evolved into something much larger than the game itself. There's potential for some amazing ancillary events, ranging from a Boston College-Boston University game on the frozen pond to a reunion of former Bruins and Canadiens greats. Think they could get Don Cherry back behind the bench for a rematch of that legendary 1979 semifinal Game 7? And imagine the vintage sweaters that could be brought out of mothballs for this one.

Look for the official announcement of the teams and location to come this weekend as the league gathers in Columbus for All-Star Weekend. 

GALLERY: The NHL Outdoors

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