I'm surprised that there has been nothing about this yet (at least on the first page).
The alfresco NHL is officially returning to Chicago. The League announced Wednesday that the Pittsburgh Penguins will play the Chicago Blackhawks outdoors March 1, 2014, at Soldier Field at 8 p.m.
The NHL has already announced the Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Detroit Red Wings in the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium.
The League is expected to announce four more outdoor games. Penguins-Blackhawks will be part of the “Stadium Series” along with the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 25 at Dodger Stadium, the New York Rangers vs. the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 26 at Yankee Stadium and the Rangers vs. the New York Islanders on Jan. 29 at Yankee Stadium. The Heritage Classic will feature the Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks on March 2 at B.C. Place.
I'm indifferent on it. If this is a one year thing, which it seems like it will be as a bit of a make-up to NBC, a way to capitalize on the inevitable New York media frenzy that goes along with the Super Bowl (I still think two games is a bit much), and a way to retain viewers after the Olympics, then I have no problem with it. If we're playing more than 2 games a year then that's ridiculous.
I do like the idea of 2 games a year...the usual Winter Classic that'll go between the marquee American markets and a second game - maybe alternating a Canadian game and a game that takes place in the American markets that probably aren't too likely to get a 'real' Winter Classic (Columbus in the Horseshoe, San Jose at the 49ers new stadium, etc.).
The same people who complain that this 'cheapens' the event are the same ones that said having it every year was 'cheapening' it. This is an event that brings in huge (relative to normal) ratings and increases merchandise sales and interest in the local teams taking place. There was never anything non-commercial about the event in the first place, you can't sell out an event that was specifically made to be a spectacle.
“The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it is indifferent. If we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” - Stanley Kubrick
I think it's a curiousity for this year, so long as they go back to the normal afterwards that's fine... Though I think they should do an outdoor doubleheader on New Years Day - one in US and one in Canada.
OR if they are going to do the outdoor game in Canada again... at least have the date make sense and do it on 'Hockey Day in Canada', and not the week or so before and compete against 'Hockey Day in America'
Agreed the Winter Classic is still going to be the featured game, especially with the record crowd expected at the Big House..I wonder if anyone will try to beat it some day. 110,000 is going to be amazing to see at a hockey game.