Friday, January 2, 2009
2 Outdoor Game Guarantees
Yesterday the NHL enjoyed another successful venture outside as the Detroit Red Wings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in front of 40,000 people at legendary Wrigley Field. It was the third time the NHL held a regular season game in a football/baseball stadium and by all acounts we should expect the trend to continue and become an annual event.
There are two other things I think we should expect to see every year, at least if history really means anything.
First - the home team will lose, or, at least not win. Edmonton, Buffalo and now Chicago have all hosted the big showcase game and all three came out on the short end of the score.
Back in October of 2001 the Michigan State Spartans hosted their arch-rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, in front of 74,000 but that affair ended in a 3-3 tie. It was billed as 'The Cold War' and it was the inspiration for what woould occur at the NHL level just two years later. It's also interesting to watch the highlights of that NCAA tilt as their are plenty of familiar NHL names to be heard like Mike Cammalleri, Adam Hall and Ryan Miller.
So if next year the Winter Classic is held at Fenway Park between the Bruins and say, the New York Rangers or the Philadelphia Flyers... expect Boston to lose!
The other thing I think we should expect to see is that Ty Conklin will be in net for one of the two teams. He was the keeper in goal for Edmonton when they lost 4-3 to the Montreal Canadiens at Commonwealth Stadium in the Alberta Capital back in 2003. There were just over 57,000 brave souls in the stands that day despite the -25 Celcius temperatures... myself included. (yes in the stands and not as working media that day).
Last year Conklin wore baby blue with the Pittsburgh Penguins as they stole a 2-1 shootout win from the Buffalo Sabres. Ralph Wilson Stadium housed just over 71,000 people on January 1st, 2008 and those fans didn't freeze their butts off like we did in Edmonton but they did have a steady snowfall during the game. To me, the photos from the game in Buffalo are fantastic because of the snowflakes...
Yesterday Conklin was back in the outdoor game, this time with the Detroit Red Wings. The 6-4 win gives 'Conks' a 2-1 lifetime record in the NHL showcase event, reason enough for the Bruins or their opponent to pick him up this off season???? (OK, maybe not).
Speaking of next year, I've thrown out Boston as the location of my choice but I would like to hear your thoughts as to the site and match up you would like to see. For me the Bruins taking on another original six team like the Rangers or a classic '70's retro match of tough teams with the Broadstreet Bullies get me interested.
How about you?