From Craig Custance of ESPN:
“I thought that perhaps the creation of the Stadium Series would give the league a little more flexibility to spread the outdoor love around, but that hasn’t really materialized. As fun as Sunday’s game was, wouldn’t it have been a little more fun to have the Wild play against the Dallas Stars, the franchise that left Minnesota after the 1992-93 season?
The alumni game wouldn’t have been as good and, really, those alumni games are becoming just as good as the main event. Still, that this one didn’t sell out is a red flag for me.
The creation of the Stadium Series wasn’t ever done to have the same national platform as the Winter Classic enjoys on New Year’s day, but it was supposed to have a great an impact locally, and when these games stop selling out it’s a sign that the local impact isn’t as big as you’d want. I’ve always been a proponent of the outdoor games, but maybe it’s time to scale back and create a little more demand for them once again.”
The HockeyFanLand Insight:
I completely agree with Craig here. I think the NHL is ruining outdoor hockey by running so many games. Pretty soon, the league will have another All-Star game situation on their hands, where they have to change the rules so much just to make the concept interesting again. It is a major red flag that this game could not sell out. I was at the original “Heritage Classic,” and it was one of the coolest events of my life. I am not saying the NHL should get rid of outdoor hockey altogether. However, I would be in favor of scaling it back to one game a year. It would certainly make it a much more special event. But if the NHL insists on continuing to water down the significance and novelty of outdoor hockey, the league might as well make the All-Star game an outdoor event…
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