This past weekend the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres hooked up for what most people probably thought was yet another game in a sea of relatively meaningless regular season National Hockey League games. But when they turned on their televisions and saw that the game was being played outside, in Buffalo, in snow and 20 MPH winds, well maybe it caught their attention? Who knows.
The NHL has become so watered down, so boring to watch, so irrelevant. It makes me so sad, given that when the league had between 16-21 teams, it was more or less electrifying to watch. It just isn’t anymore. With talk of the league further expanding soon, I’ll just become less interested. Oh, the “new” NHL is certainly a little better, but let’s be realistic. The NHL needs to realize it’s a niche and nothing more. The only way to truly enjoy it (unless your team is in the playoffs) is to attend a game.
So staging games outside, in the elements, is a great idea! 73,000 people showed up in Buffalo! The first period had swirling winds, heavy snowfall and the whole thing just felt festive and reminded me of skating on the ponds near my house as a wee boy. The game itself wasn’t terribly captivating, but shit, who cares? The game isn’t good indoors, either.
My idea: have like HALF the games during the season in football stadiums! Why the hell not? If not football stadiums, then somewhere where they can freeze some water and let them have at it. I told a friend how insane it would be to see the Bruins play on the Charles River, with fans sitting and watching along Storrow and Memorial Drive. Oh come on, they can do it, the technology is there. If they can’t make the game better, then make the venues the reason why people come!
By the way, the Penguins ought to scrap their horrible black-and-yellow for those powder-blue uniforms full time. WAY better!