<
>

Boston front-runner for '16 Classic

Boston is the front-runner to host the 2016 Winter Classic outdoor game, a source told ESPN.com, which would make the Bruins the first repeat hosts of the NHL's marquee regular-season game.

Negotiations are still ongoing to make this a reality and it's unclear where the game would be played or even when.

The NHL moved the Winter Classic in 2012 from its traditional Jan. 1 date to Jan. 2, in part to avoid conflicting with the National Football League's schedule.

All other Winter Classics have been held on Jan. 1.

The Bruins hosted the 2010 Winter Classic at Fenway Park against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"We have told the league we would love to host another Winter Classic. As of today, I have not heard anything back regarding next year," Bruins team president and Hall of Famer Cam Neely told ESPN.com on Friday morning.

Of the current Bruins players, only Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Milan Lucic were on the team for the Winter Classic at Fenway in 2010. Rask served as the backup to Tim Thomas, and Lucic was sidelined with an injury. Both hope the Bruins host the Classic next season.

"It would be great," Lucic said. "It's obviously something that's been a game guys get excited for and it is such a special event. Unfortunately, I missed the last one, and if we do get to host the next one hopefully I don't go through the same type of [injury-plagued] season and I can play in it."

Would he prefer Fenway or Gillette Stadium?

"Doesn't really matter I don't think," he said. "From a fan's point of view I think Gillette would be more suitable for the fans just because of the way the field is set up. It would just be nice to play in any of them."

Added Rask: "Yeah, all new experiences are welcomed. It would be fun. I was part of it but didn't play. It would be great."

The NHL is also believed to be looking at hosting three additional outdoor games next season as part of its Stadium Series of games and another in the Canadian-based Heritage Classic series.

Sources have indicated that the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche are the lead candidates to host the Stadium Series games, likely in late January or February 2016, while Winnipeg has been tabbed as the potential host of the Heritage Classic in Canada.