Keep it One

by Ryan

One of the interesting things about having a blog is that what you often write things in the moment. “Real writers” take their time and remove themselves from the emotions of an event or game, and their opinions are meant to be balanced and objective. Bloggers do nothing of the sort.

And that’s why oftentimes bloggers appear crazy. Hindsight provides an interesting look at any blog’s archives, especially after major events. Example number one: the Winter Classic. Now I do like that post even today, but as I was writing it I knew it was a bit unrealistic. Mainly, there’s no way the Winter Classic was a “one and done” kind of deal. Still, that bit of honesty was something I felt necessary to include, and if I was really all that ashamed of it, I wouldn’t have linked it in the first place.

winterclassicawayThat being said, I think the annual Winter Classic has been a great idea and is indeed good for the league. However, this would be a little too much, too soon. One Winter Classic is great, but two on one day is cutting it very close to overkill.

I do see the rationale in this, though. Most Americans never saw the Herritige Classic back in 2003, and most television executives think Americans won’t care if a game is held in Canada. Buffalo was fine for the first go around because of the huge groundswell of local support, but the TVs were on because of Sidney Crosby.

The league needs big teams in big markets to attract eyeballs, especially matched up against college football. So we have Wrigley Field and Fenway Park hosting hockey games, as well as the ever-present rumblings that Yankee Stadium is in the works.

But, that leaves a huge issue with your core support group, the less numerous but more devoted Canadian teams. In theory a second, “Canadian” Winter Classic does the trick, and a doubleheader is always fun. However, I stand by what I said in my original Winter Classic post: the more you have, the cheaper the experience gets.

83373720CC044_Winter_ClassiSimply put, scarcity creates demand, and demand makes it special. If you’re doing two games, why not more? After all this is just Year Three of the experiment, why not double it again in 2011? Heck, we could set up 15 stadiums in 2012, and then each team could buy an outdoor setup and host games whenever the local football team is out of town for a few weeks.

It’s unrealistic, but it’s a slippery slope. What makes the Winter Classic so important, and not to mention so watchable, is that it is unique. One game, two teams, once a year. Making it any more than that turns a special event into a trivial one, and slowly that magic is gone. The NHL doesn’t have much magic to begin with. Tampering with it just seems like a bad idea.

To be honest, I think the next one should take place in Canada, or at least involve a Canadian team. My Fenway preferences aside, I’d love to see the Habs take on the Bruins with the Green Monster looming. Now that would make for great TV, and is exactly the sort of respect for rivalries that can appease traditional fans and newer viewers alike.

This can work without appeasing anyone with a second game. And if they are having a second game, dammit, bring it back here.