Sep 23, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; A general view of the team logos on the field during a press conference for the 2015 Winter Classic hockey game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
I have to admit I really like outdoor hockey games and the “novelty” of them hasn’t even come close to wearing off for me even after 6 outdoor games last season. I think there should be an outdoor game on every Holiday to battle the NFL and NBA especially on Thanksgiving and Christmas when the games turn into blowouts like this year’s Turkey Day games. An outdoor game 2nd option would be a great way to attract non-NHL viewers on a Holiday when you have nothing else to do.
That being said this year’s Winter Classic has the least amount of buzz that I can remember any of the outdoor games having outside maybe the New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers game last winter. Here are 3 reasons why the games seems to have all fizzle and no sizzle.
3. No History-In Teams, Stadium, or Epix
The Washington Capitals have no history with the Chicago Blackhawks and that is a total buzz kill to start. They have never met in the playoffs and they have never had any huge memorable games if you throw out the fact the Brandon Bollig picked up his first career regular season goal against the Capitals on opening night last season. Sure both teams have big stars with the likes of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Alex Ovechkin but with no rivalry this pairing makes no sense on a National Stage.
When you look at the lack of history, look no further than the venue Nationals Stadium. When you look at the Washington D.C. stadiums RFK is still a functioning building which would have made a lot more sense with all of that old Redskins history. Nationals Stadium is fairly new with no history it’s just a state of the art building with a good view of the Capital which will make for some great views during the game but it won’t have the history like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park or even Soldier Field was able to provide to the outdoor game.
Lastly, HBO bailed on it’s 24/7 coverage and Epix picked up the coverage of the behind the scenes so outside of Chicago and Capitals fans there isn’t much buzz being created by the TV coverage leading up to the game. HBO has a huge viewership unlike the Epix up and coming viewership. HBO is known for it’s Sports Specials so no history with Epix is not helping the fizzle dwindle.