It seems odd to criticize a greatly received hockey game. After all, both the Winter and Heritage Classic matchups garnered great audiences, with the Winter Classic rivaling Stanley Cup Playoff matches for viewers.
But that's exactly why I believe there shouldn't be two outdoor games this season, or any season for that matter.
My first ever experience with outdoor hockey was watching the Cold War between MSU and University of Michigan, back when Ryan Miller was a college player and not a silver medalist Olympian.
I loved the game and always wanted to watch another event with the passion and energy only college rivalries can bring.
Why did I love it? Because it was a unique experience, it was something different. Same thing happened when I watched the first Heritage Classic. It was great seeing Gretzky and Messier play in the cold, then Jose Theodore play with a Canadiens toque.
But now, there are two games.
That's right, two. It's no longer THE game.
We'll have a rivalry, which I believe is a bit overrated, between the two best hockey players right now on one of the hockey games and an interesting matchup in the other one but with much less bang than the first of the two matches.
So I say, instead of trying to follow the "Let's duplicate what works" phylosophy, why not bring the Winter Classic to Canada by having at least one of the teams from the cradle of hockey?
I much rather have a matchup involving great history (Now that I have freshened up on rivalries) like Boston - Montreal, Ottawa - Toronto, Montreal - Toronto, Calgary - Edmonton, or even the Heritage matchup itself.
I guess I'm a traditionalist but I'm not really interested in Ovechkin and Crosby, leave that for the playoffs (They'll meet constantly,that's for sure). Let the light shine on a bit of history.
Not even the date sounds right. There's a sense of uniqueness to January 1st but February the 20th is just another day, unless you factor in the fact that the great Phil Esposito was born that day.
Well, let's hope the attention shifts to greater matchups between tradition in the future and combine both games to great one hell of a Winter Classic in the frozen reaches on Canadian soil and not just the other outdoor game.
Cheers, and happy birthday in advance, Phil.
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