Detroit Red Wings Getting Another Outdoor Game?


Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

TSN’s Bob McKenzie made an announcement on NBCSN’s pre game show last night and on Twitter that grabbed the attention of a lot of Red Wings fans:

Alright! ANOTHER one! The Detroit Red Wings face their heated blood-rival… Colorado… in an outdoor game in the storied venue of… Coors Field? Maybe Mile High Stadium? I can’t wait to fly across a couple timezones and go see this and… oh who are we kidding? Come on guys, is anyone honestly excited about this anymore?

Granted, this isn’t an official announcement from the NHL but Bob McKenzie’s word is as good as gold in my book. Should this be the game that happens, I’m groaning more than I’m cheering at this announcement. The Winter Classic was amazing when it first started, and everyone was excited to have their team be in it when it was something special and unique. When the Winter Classic featured teams from more traditional markets and took place in really interesting venues, that was something to brag about to your non-hockey friends. Wrigley Field? Fenway Park? That was awesome! And I was excited for them, same as any other fan.

Last season, the outdoor games really jumped the shark for me (although I’d still be in favor of a game being played above actual sharks). The Big House, record-setting event between the Wings and Leafs might be impossible to top (I don’t care what you say Guinness, that set the record and you know it!) Furthermore, the fact that there was SIX damn outdoor games last season made it feel like there was a serious paradigm shift in the NHL. Outdoor games transitioned from being an awesome spectacle to a cash grab (six outdoor games after a lockout-shortened season is a little too convenient wouldn’t you say?) One could say it always was a cash grab, but at least it was a limited cash grab. Now it’s just gone overboard.

Interest in outdoor games seems to have been declining since then, as evident by the declining ratings for the Winter Classic and fewer visiting fans in attendance. And who could blame them? I wouldn’t want to fly from Chicago to see a game against the Capitals, outdoor or otherwise, and I’m sure as heck not crossing over to Mountain Time to see this game (unless a certain editor can get some credentials maybe?)
Editor’s note: Keep dreaming.

Don’t get me wrong, being in Ann Arbor for an outdoor game was an experience I’ll tell people about for years to come. And Montreal vs Boston next year should be really good as well. But enough with these Stadium Series games. The Winter Classic was special when: A) everyone and their mother wasn’t getting one and B) it happened once a year. I don’t mine the Heritage Classic for Canadian teams, so let’s go back to that. Two outdoor games a year!

Sure, Detroit is the best choice for a game in Colorado, and this event will be more about their fans than the visiting team or the national ratings. But if that’s the case, will any Colorado fans be showing up to see their team take on Detroit? Or are they showing up just to see their team? Would an equal number of fans show up to watch the Avs take on say… The Kings? The Ducks? Hell, I bet the Coyotes could show up and they’d come watch. 

So yes, I’m over outdoor games, and I suspect many other fans are as well. At this point, the novelty has probably worn off for the players as well, and I suspect many more Detroit players will see this as a distraction rather than a special honor. Had this happened 15 or even 10 years ago, when the Red Wings/Avalanche rivalry was remotely relevant, I’d be jumping out of my seat with excitement. But at this point, I’ll express my excitement by personally vomiting on every chromed-out Winged Wheel I see when the disastrous jerseys are announced.

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