Winter Classic Too Much Of a Good Thing For The NHL?

Matt EichelSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2009

Outdoor hockey in the freezing elements.  Now that's what hockey is really all about. 

Real, outdoor hockey is about watching the game and having to drink your beer fast enough so that it won't freeze over.  It's about playing the game in its most raw form -- the pond.

Kudos to the NHL for getting back to the basics—back to what hockey is really all about.

Don't get me wrong, outdoor hockey is the rawest form of hockey there is, but is there a point to which these Winter Classic get old?

In the third edition of an outdoor game, the second edition of the Winter Classic, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-4 in a game that featured nothing whatsoever of the elements such as snow piling up on the ice and chips in the corners as has been the case in last years edition in Buffalo, New York.

It was a great game to watch and probably even a bigger thrill to play in.  And there is no doubt in my mind or many other hockey fans minds that this should continue into next year and the year after, but when will enough be enough?

Is the NHL taking a unique thing and making it ordinary?

As a kid, I remember flooding the backyard with my dad, just waiting until the ice froze and to hear the crisp sound of my skates on the ice like sizzling bacon in a frying pan.

It's a beautiful thing—a backyard rink and a hockey-crazy kid.

Ask any player and that's where they honed their skills on the backyard rink or pond.

It's unique and it's in the blood of every real hockey fan—to strip down the game into the barest of elements.  

It's the same in baseball.  Playing catch is the most enjoyable thing to do on a lazy summer day or get a game of bump going on a basketball court.

I'd love to see more Original Six teams play each other such as a New York Rangers-Boston Bruins game, New York Islanders-New York Rangers game, Toronto Maple Leafs-Montreal Canadiens game, or any other.

But after a point, since hockey has become more popular in the southern states, it's not possible to have games in San Jose, Dallas, Anaheim, or Tampa.

A yearly game may run the word unique right out of the event known as the Winter Classic.  

It's a good idea Mr. Bettman.

Just don't ruin another good thing please.