We've covered this before here at Puck Drunk Love; the NHL previously announced that they would be holding six outdoor games next season instead of the usual one. We both believe that it waters down a very special event for the league to do this, and it basically boils down to a cash grab after a lockout shortened season. You have to be blind as a bat to believe that it's anything but.
The league officially announced the March 1st game today; the Chicago Blackhawks will be hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field. Wow, huge football stadium? Check. Two of the league's top teams? Check. A Western Conference team? Good lord, check!
A bunch of fans willing to buy the special uniforms, marked up concessions, and souvenirs of what amounts to a regular season hockey game? Check.
As these go on, fewer and fewer fans will get excited, fewer and fewer fans will drop out cash, and maybe the NHL will realize that they're killing one of the things that they manage to get right every year. Just stick with the Winter and Heritage Classics, please. While it is nice that other teams (eventually) will get representation in the outdoor games, why not try to get them into the actual Winter Classic? I bet you'll sell a lot of stuff to fans of oft-overlooked teams, and isn't that what this is really all about? Selling stuff?