Watching the Winter Classic is a fun experience when you get past the outrageously delayed start time, the overly fanciful talk about the game's import and Pierre McGuire. It's fun, but it's tough for it to live up to its promises, even when the winning goal is scored just in the nick of time.
That said, any team would absolutely love to experience the recognition and atmosphere that goes along with a WC berth. It's festive, energizing and downright fun to see a real hockey game being played outdoors with special jerseys in front of a billion people.
So, the Stars. We know they aren't exactly the darlings of the NHL's viewership charts based on their paltry allotment of nationally-televised games this year, but the DFW market would still seem to be ripe for all the fanfare that goes along with such an event--right, Jim Lites?
“It’s not something that has been talked about much lately, so it’s sort of up in the air,” Lites said. “I would prefer if we were a visitor first and had a chance to go through the experience before we tried to host one, but you sort of just react to what the league tells you.”
The league last season held six outdoor games and then cut that down to two this season _ Thursday’s game between the Capitals and Blackhawks in Washington. D.C., and a game Feb. 21 between the Kings and Sharks in Santa Clara, Calif. Lites said any game in Texas would almost have to be a Stadium Series Game.
“I think the natural venue is AT&T Stadium, because it would add to the entire experience, and that venue just isn’t available in January,” Lites said. “I think if we can work with the schedule makers and look for an opening in February, it could work, but that’s probably a ways off.” [DMN]
This echoes what we've been hearing (speculated, at least), which is that the Stars don't have the pull to get one of these games in their back yard just yet. It's too bad, but it "is what it is," as people generally say when they want to speak words that don't communicate much of anything at all.
My only comment on this is, what about Rangers' Ballpar--sorry, Globe Life Park in Arlington? The seating capacity would be much more easily filled, which guarantees a great atmosphere (albeit less ticket revenue). I've been to a few different parks, but that stadium is easily one of the best environments in all of sports to enjoy a big game--and you don't have to worry about useless tickets so far back from the actual area of play that you might as well just watch the humongous screen hanging over the field. (Note: I was at then-Cowboys Stadium's opening game against the Giants way back in 2009, and while it was awesome, I can't see really enjoying a hockey game from the seat I was in for that game.)
I get it, Football is Texas Sports and everything. But if the Stars really want to try to get themselves into a New Year's Day tilt with a national audience, the Ballpark seems like a much more practical choice. Just charge twice as much for tickets if you want to make up for having fewer seats. Wait, no, don't do that.
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2015 links are going to be so much better than all of those awful 2014 links I kept putting up here. I just found those old guys lying on the sidewalk and, ka-blamo! I put them here. No, this year, I'll probably do a little better.
Mike Heika compares Kari Lehtonen to both Steven Wright and George Bailey in his latest fabulous column. [DMN]
You can watch Julius Honka's goal against Germany from Wednesday if you want. [TSN]
Winning begets confidence which begets more winning, often. Line stability, goaltending and defense are helping the Stars inch their way up the standings. [Along the Boards]
Was Brett Ritchie's (and the other guys') dominating performance a foretaste of what 2015 has in store? Gee whiz, I sure hope so. [DMN]
Surprise! Tyler Seguin was not the Stars' 2014 MVP, says Jared Clinton. [THN]
Don't look to Jason Spezza to save your fantasy team. I don't play fantasy hockey, but yeah, maybe choose Seguin instead. [Dobber Hockey]
The Stars may have owned the Coyotes on 12/31, but Andrew Barroway will get to keep them all year long, as his purchase of a majority stake in the team is now complete. [Five for Howling]
Check out some of the great shots from the Big Game yesterday courtesy of Sports Illustrated. [SI]
I don't really follow College Football per se, but a 390-pound guy catching a touchdown pass is pretty cool. [SB Nation]
Finally, There was a Tom Green-inspired cool fan moment in the 3rd period of the Winter Classic (via Puck Daddy):