NHL Commish Gary Bettman must feel on top of the world right now. His sport has looked grander than grand the last week with the huge success of the Stadium Series (which I’ll have some thoughts on later). All three games thus far have been a spectacle to behold, and the 150K+ patrons who witnessed it live have phenomenal memories to cherish for a lifetime.
Let me add one more to that list: Gary Bettman meeting KISS!
If you recall, KISS was the opening act to the Stadium Series game between the Ducks and Kings. After the concert ended, Bettman went to meet up the band. And that’s all I need to say.
– I just wanted to offer some thoughts on the Stadium Series as a whole: consider me a changed man. When the idea first came out, I was completely against it. I’m all for the Winter Classic: but as the only outdoor game of the year, to truly cement it as a singularly unique event. Hearing there would be more outdoor games sounded like a cash grab that would dilute the entire allure of the Winter Classic. Having now witnessed all three games, I couldn’t get enough of them. And that’s the beauty of this: it’s captivating.
– If you thought the players had any reservations playing outside in the elements, think again. I’ve yet to read or hear a player say anything remotely negative (Marty Brodeur’s ‘worst ice ever’ comment aside he still thought it was great). It’s now become a bucket-list item for hockey players to accomplish. As long as it stays this popular, there will be more to come.
– Lets not kid ourselves here: the NHL dangled this carrot to the fans in order to recoup some of the money lost in their last lockout. Don’t believe me, read this. The NHL's master plan was to get fans angered by the lockout to return, and they succeeded with some pocket change in the process.
– As great as these games were, I don’t think they should be done every year: perhaps every two years to maintain a level of intrigue. But, seeing how popular they’ve been, expect the NHL to beat the horse to death and have 6-7 games every year.
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