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How Many Outdoor Games Do You Want Per Season?

from Pierre LeBurn of ESPN,

One of the concerns the NHL privately had about holding a record six outdoor games is just how stretched its staff would be, logistically, in trying to pull it all off, most notably with back-to-back games this weekend in Los Angeles and New York, which is similar to the final two outdoor games in Chicago and Vancouver in early March.

Brodeur blasted the ice conditions at Yankee Stadium, a game in which he got pulled after 40 minutes, having allowed six goals. Rangers coach Alain Vigneault also said he was surprised how poor the ice was, so the complaints weren't just from the losing side.

These are the first of the NHL's outdoor games I've watched from home, and I got the fan perspective. Dodger Stadium looked out of this world, as unique a setting as the league has had, but the league wants to decide going forward just how much is too much in terms of taxing its staff, which no doubt worked around the clock over the past week to pull off the double-dip in L.A. and New York.

more notes from Burnside and Strang on the Rangers/Evils and Custance on the Panthers...

Filed in: NHL Teams, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink


LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

This many games outdoors seems ridiculous, especially a second go-round at Yankee “home-of-the-worst-ever-ice” Stadium.  I attended the Big Chill, 3 outdoor dates at Comerica and the Winter Classic… did I have fun at all of them? Yes, but I think I’m about done with outdoor games now.  It’s good as a once-in-a-lifetime event, but I know that if I was offered tickets to another outdoor game in town, I’d have to think twice if I actually wanted to sit in that cold again, with a DEFINITE no if it was a second game in Detroit this year.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 01/27/14 at 11:32 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

How Many Outdoor Games Do You Want Per Season?


Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 01/27/14 at 11:41 AM ET


I don’t even have an opinion.

The LA game looked like it was good time and -good ice or bad ice, I don’t care- I genuinely enjoyed the Rangers/Devils games.

Not sure how I feel about having multiple games at the same venue in the same season, but other than that, go crazy with it.

Posted by Garth on 01/27/14 at 12:05 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar


Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/27/14 at 12:48 PM ET

Steve in San Francisco's avatar

I’d say one, the Winter Classic, except that Bettman would rather be shot in the face than allow more than one Canadian team per decade to take part, and would never hold it in a Canadian city. Therefore, two games would be great, Winter Classic and Heritage Classic, and let that be the end of it.

Posted by Steve in San Francisco on 01/27/14 at 01:06 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

I agree with Harken. One Winter Classic and one Heritage Classic. I went to the Winter Classic this year and it was amazing. But having so many games outdoors make them each a little bit less special. For instance, I live in NY and could very easily go to the game at Yankee Stadium, but it’s just not that special to me as I already went to an outdoor game (games if you include Comerica) this year. But then again, I realize this is a business, and outdoor games make money and increase exposure to the sport. So personally, I believe a max of two games should be outdoors. But what is best for the league and sport? Likely a handful of games every year being outdoors is the best way to make money, increase exposure, while at least keeping it somewhat special.

Then again, keeping the NHL on ESPN would have been the best exposure of all, but I’m not bitter.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 01/27/14 at 01:11 PM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

I think having outdoor games, in addition to the Winter/Heritage classics dilutes things too much.  It’s no longer unique.

Case in point.  I didn’t even know the Cali game was played until I opened KK and saw the posts about it.

If they want to do multiple outdoor games though, I think an Original 6 tournament would be fantastic.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 01/27/14 at 02:28 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

One. Make it the all-star game and give people a reason to watch while not throwing screwball conditions into a regular season game that could potentially matter.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/27/14 at 08:10 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

I guess I’m in the minority here, but I’d like to see 3 per season.

I was on the fence about the Winter Classic, especially on New Year’s Day, when the idea was originally cooked up. But due to college football being later in the afternoon and evening, the NHL proved me very wrong and has carved out a niche that seems to get some good across-the-board attention from the sports media. Now, to be honest, the hockey really hasn’t been that good in many of these games due to snow (this year’s game was really bad hockey to watch, plain and simple). Even so, the spectacle is clearly worthwhile.

The second came I’d love to see continued is a west coast game. Low 60s, under the lights, green grass around the rink… this actually made for much better weather conditions for good ice than any of the Winter Classics! There weren’t piles of snow and delays for shoveling. Despite the Kings offense having a tepid night, I thought this was one of the better outdoor games ever—the ice was good enough for things like “passing” and “stickhandling” instead of just dump-and-chase. As a spectacle, it was also cool—made for some of the best visuals, and “events” seem to work well in the big markets like LA. I would think they could also do something just as fun up in San Fran and pit the Sharks against the Canucks, for example.

My favorite part about the California game—the time they did it! Brilliant to have one of your marquee events take place the weekend before the Super Bowl. That weekend is traditionally like purgatory, at best, for most casual sports fans. The NHL could really capitalize if they make that weekend theirs, IMO.

And a third game—gotta keep the Heritage Classic. It’s traditionalist or whatever, but there’s something about pitting two Canadian-based teams against each other in the winter that is pure hockey.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/28/14 at 09:17 AM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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