Showing posts with label Winter Classic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter Classic. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Winter Classic: Red Wings 0, Maple Leafs 0

Yesterday the NHL staged its 6th annual Winter Classic at The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan. All those in attendance witnessed a tight game. Although neither goalie had to work much. There were 0 shots on goal. Despite the defensive nature of the contest, it was clean. There were no penalties issued.

The real winner was the NHL and the game of Hockey. Every person who went to the game had an experience to share and fondly remember. All the fans who participated at events at Comerica Park also had a good time, and will associate the NHL and hockey with fun and enjoyment.

The NHL finally figured out how to put on a good show. When the first Winter Classic was played in 2008, the League had no idea how important of an event it would be. And it's a decent TV draw. On a day when many people stay at home and watch television with friends and family.

The Winter Classic is part of the Hockey Fan Experience. From the fans who go to the game, to those who watch it on TV. It's become a vital event for the game and for the NHL.

And if the NHL ever grows a brain, or a new league replaces it, they should do everything in their power to avoid cancelling any and all future Winter Classics.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Winter Classic Cancelled

The NHL continues to slowly kill itself. They've cancelled the biggest single TV event on the NHL calendar. The Winter Classic was one of the things that helped the NHL rebound from the previous Lockout, and now it's been cancelled by a League determined to destroy itself and the game.

Over 100,000 were going to attend the 2013 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, filling Michigan's Big House with rabid hockey fans supporting the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. Two Original 6 teams, two of the most storied franchises in the sport. The game was to be in a state and nearby city that have remained loyal to the game for decades.

And now they've been screwed because the NHL wants to keep teams in Florida and Arizona. And because owners of teams like the Maple Leafs don't want to share revenue with those teams.

The 2013 Winter Classic would have been part of a larger revitalization of Detroit sports that's been happening for several years now. The Detroit Tigers are very good, the Lions are no longer the joke they once were. The NHL could have been a part of that. Opportunity lost.

Furthermore, Michigan is a hockey hotbed. And not just the Red Wings. There's an AHL team in Michigan, an ECHL team, 7 Division-I college teams (that's about 1/8 of the country's total), even a pair of junior teams in the Ontario Hockey League. It's a state that loves hockey, and hockey has screwed them. Some of those teams would have played at Comerica Park in Detroit. This Winter Classic would have involved two venues, two outdoor rinks, a bevy of games, a multitude of events, and an entire state's attention. Opportunity lost.

It's just sad. This lockout is killing the game, not just the League. People and places once interested in the game are finding other things to do and to watch.

Michigan will likely "be awarded" the 2014 Winter Classic, but do you think they'll be as excited, as enthused about it? Why would they be? Why should they be?

Imagine if this had happened to Boston, and how we'd treat the next year's Classic.

And what if you're a city and considering hosting a Winter Classic the year an NHL CBA expires. What city would want to sign that deal? Winter Classic 2014: Grand Forks, North Dakota.

I'm tired of the NHL, and I hope this Lockout either destroys the League or brings about dramatic, sweeping changes. Jeremy Jacobs needs to be visited by three ghosts Ebeneezer Scrooge style, Gary Bettman needs a lobotomy, and hockey needs to be banned in Florida and Arizona, thus forcing the collapse of failing NHL franchises.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Meanwhile, in the NHL

Just some token news and lack of good news from the NHL. Rumor has it that if the League and NHLPA can't agree to a CBA by Thursday, the Winter Classic will be cancelled. At the very least, HBO's 24/7, which is a nice little promotional tool for the NHL, won't be made leading up to the Classic.

In suburban Chicago, 12,000 fans gathered to watch a team comprised of Blackhawk players compete against a team of NHLers from other teams, including Jordan Staal and Bobby Ryan. Patrick Kane scored 5 goals for the Blackhawks team, but they lost 16-15 in a shootout. Proceeds from the game went to charity.

A group of Montreal Canadiens are fighting the lockout in a Quebec court. I don't know much about the case, or the Canadian legal system, nor do I care to learn. It's just a shame that we're seeing the abbreviation "vs." used in a court-room setting and not to describe an actual game.

Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds, who is black, was the target of racial chants when the Czech team he plays for faced the Chomutov Pirates. People don't realize how racist some Europeans are. Simmonds had a banana thrown at him in London, Ontario last year. People don't realize how racist some Canadians are.

And Tim Thomas sits in Colorado and smiles at all of this.