Is the NHL downsizing its outdoor-game plan? That may be the case, and, at least in this opinion, it’s not a bad idea.
John Shannon of Sportsnet.ca tweeted yesterday that he expects the NHL to have just two outdoor games during the 2014-15 season.
Expect the NHL to have only 2 outdoor games during the 2014-15 NHL Regular season. We know 1 is in DC.— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) June 17, 2014
That’s quite a downgrade from the 2013-14 campaign when there were six (the Winter Classic, Heritage Classic and four Stadium Series games).
When the NHL announced it was having those six outdoor games late last summer, I wrote in this space that it was too much. Most fans love them and the NHL, still somewhat licking its wounds off the previous season’s lockout, gave the fans what they wanted. It’s also, obviously, great revenue. Each game, be it in the blizzard conditions of Michigan and Chicago or the balmy ones of Orange County, drew tremendous crowds.
Still, by the time the final outdoor game was played on March 2 – the Heritage Classic, which turned into an indoor game because of weather – the nostalgia had worn off completely. At least it did for me. Every idea can be overdone, and this one was.
So now, it’s looking like it’s back to two games, including the Winter Classic that will be hosted by the Washington Capitals at an outdoor facility to be named later. Perfect. Just enough to still whet the appetite, leave us hungry for more, but not overstuff us.
Yes, those outdoor games are entertaining and, in some cases, downright pretty – we all remember the snow-globe setting at Soldier Field on March 1, when the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in their outdoor spectacle. Still, everything in moderation; two is enough.