Just a few small thoughts ahead of the Red Wings-Leafs Winter Classic this year.
I really like the New Year’s Day outdoor game a lot. But, clearly the NHL has never heard of the “too much of a good thing” concept.
If the league isn’t careful, 2014 could mark the start of a great idea being ruined.
On tap for this year: 1 Winter Classic, 4 Stadium Series games, and 1 Heritage Classic, for 6 total outdoor games.
The Classic is in Detroit, The Stadium Series will hit Chicago, New York and Los Angeles!?, then the Heritage game takes place in Vancouver in March.
Is this not all getting a little excessive? I could get onboard with two games. New Year’s in the U.S., and a Heritage game in Canada (maybe on CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada… or whatever will become of it on account of the new Rogers deal).
The big issues with it, in my mind anyway, are that you run the risk of having the appeal wear off the more it happens, and the other is the lack of equity across the league. With a random selection of teams being put into weird conditions, you’re automatically putting them at a disadvantage in terms of the environment.
In the run up to the New Year’s game, we’re already hearing lots about the amount it is snowing. It’s coming down hard, apparently:
TSN’s Mike Johnson made a good point about how the snow could force players to shoot more (hey, maybe the Leafs won’t get outshot?), and obviously this would alter their game plan to keep things about as simple as possible.
Fraser McLaren has already talked about the wind at practice, and how it was like “skating with a parachute on” and left him gassed.
Jonathon Bernier has mentioned the sun, and how it the glare was throwing him off a bit.
Someone (I can’t remember who) mentioned Alfredsson’s back spasms, and how the colder than usual temperatures could possibly impact him.
These are all weird disadvantages you’re forcing a select group of teams to deal with – and in the case of the Rangers, you’re doing it twice. Yes, both teams are facing the same conditions on the day, but in the long term view of the season, even though it’s just one game, it seems pretty unfair.
And who even knows what’ll happen in L.A. with the game at Dodger Stadium. Temperatures in January average between 8-20 degrees (Celsius). Weird conditions for hockey.
So shouldn’t we consider limiting these factors for the sake of equality across the league?
Or, at the very least, subject every team to an outdoor game once a year… but then you’re really killing the unique, exciting nature of the event, and that’s obviously not the point. I mean, I love a little McDonald’s breakfast every once in a while, but you’re not going to find me eating it every day.
I get that the games are cash cow, and great exposure for the league, but lets treat it like an Egg McMuffin and not ruin a good thing by overindulging.
Feature image via: @NHL twitter account
*note: please excuse spelling and grammar errors till I can clean it up. This was hastily posted on account of game time.