There were two outdoor hockey games this weekend that were played 15 hours apart from each other on the two opposite sides of the country. The weird part was that the game that was delayed was the one in New York and the delay was caused by the Sun. I don’t really have a joke for that it just seems a weird thing to type and have it be true.
These two games marked the 2nd and 3rd outdoor games of the season and we are only halfway home. There will be another one this Wednesday and two more in March post Olympic break and it begs the question of whether or not this is too many outdoor games?
As someone who has been to three outdoor games and is planning on going to the one in Chicago in March I would have to say not really. The events themselves in person are a blast to go to (its like going to a football game) and it allows some local communities to show off their teams in some very cool stadiums. The expansion of the outdoor games from the Winter Classic to this “Stadium Series” should allow some other cities to get to experience outdoor hockey that may not normally get consideration. (Example, Minnesota, St Louis and Colorado)
Still, from a television perspective I feel like it is hard to grasp just how much fun the event is and I can see that growing stale. It sounds like there will not be six a season moving forward but will be the Winter Classic and then one or two more in order to involve other cities that aren’t as mainstream. (Like Phoenix, which sure.)
The games themselves were pretty good and there were many story lines coming out of them:
1. There was a penalty shot in each game, this could be a coincidence but conspiracy theories are more fun…
2. The Ducks are the leagues best and the Kings are tumbling onto the playoff bubble: The Ducks not only beat the Kings on Saturday but on Thursday as well and have a league leading 83 points. Meanwhile the Kings have lost five in a row and are now only one point ahead of the Canucks in the division. This seems like a yearly thing where they can’t score in January and February. Good part for them is the Olympic break eats up most of February so they should be okay but still never good to get on the bubble.
3. The last days of Marty: He got pulled after giving up six goals. Brodeur complained about the ice but it is clear he is just not the same goalie he once was. Add that to the fact the Devils traded for Cory Schneider in the offseason and he is playing better than Marty and it is clear the future of the Devils is without Marty as a key contributor. We will see if he retires in the offseason and heads off to play somewhere else.
4. Roenick got attacked by children in LA: Unfortunately I saw him on Sunday in NYC so that means he survived.
Other news from around the NHL
1. NHLPA ‘93 vs NHL 94: This is important
3. Olympic Safety is an issue: This is going to end well
4. The Metrosexual logjam: Nine points separate spots two through eight in the division. Should be a fun race to watch. Well at least for us Pens fans.
Week in Review
Best goal: Marchand Shortie vs LAK
Best Save: Reto Berra pad save in the shootout
Best Game: Hawks at Wings
Team that wants to fire their coach: Canadiens and Michel Therrien. (Hey we have been there, turns out pretty well actually)
Top 5 teams: 1. Ducks 2. Blues. 3. Hawks 4. Sharks 5. Penguins
Bottom 5 teams: 26. Capitals 27. Flames 28. Panthers 29. Oilers 30. Sabres
Big Games this week
Monday: LAK at Sharks 10pm NBCSN. Glad they are going to start showing West Coast games nationally. This is a playoff preview for sure
Tuesday: Red Wings at Flyers 7pm. For some reason they have the Sabres on national television again. Stop this NBCSN
Wednesday: NY Rangers vs NY Islanders 730pm NBCSN. Yes another outdoor game
Thursday: Canadiens at Bruins 7pm NHLN
Friday: NY Islanders at NY Rangers 7pm NHLN. Yes these two play again
Saturday: Blackhawks at Sharks 1030pm NHLN
Sunday: Red Wings at Capitals 1230pm NBC
1. 2 clunkers and 2 wins. The week started off poorly with a 5-1 loss to the Panthers and ended poorly with a rough outing in Dallas but the Pens on both games in the middle of the week. Still enough for Pens fans to complain though.
2. Goal of the week: Another week, another Matta goal
3. Root sports sucks: Its not just Paul Steigerwald
4. Pens Bottom Six update: Hasn’t scored an even strength goal since Dec 19th
5. Do the Pens lose focus when everyone is healthy?: Probably
7. Pens PP and PK are both #1: Here is a good breakdown of the PP
8. This week: Buf, @LAK, @Phx