When it came to scheduling ticket sales for the 2020 Winter Classic, I doubt the NHL was expecting it to come in the middle of an intense playoff series between the two teams involved — the Dallas Stars and the Nashville Predators.
But the excitement from the first round series has translated directly into ticket sales. Or perhaps it would be selling regardless of the Stanley Cup playoffs:
“The presale for the Winter Classic exceeded 60,000,” [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman told me before Game 6. “It’s the second best we’ve had in our 27 outdoor games. It tells you what an incredible hockey market this is. People are really responding to the Winter Classic.”
Yesterday marked the first day of public access to the tickets, and the game immediately sold out. 80,000 fans will be in the Cotton Bowl on New Years’ Day next year. But that shouldn’t be too surprising:
“Every outdoor game has been sold out. In terms of attention the Winter Classic gets, people almost forget it’s a regular-season game,” he said.
You can read more from Tim Cowlishaw here.
Well that was quick — we already have a start time for the Stars’ first game against the St. Louis Blues!
It’ll be an interesting matchup, as the two teams are more similar than you might think:
Mike Heika discusses the upcoming series and more in his latest mailbag:
Around the League
RECAP: Boston Bruins eliminate Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 for second year in a row, advance to second round https://t.co/QD6iZ9VdeH— Stanley Cup of Chowder (@cupofchowdah) April 24, 2019
Later, the Vegas Golden Knights had a 3-0 lead over the San Jose Sharks about halfway into the third period. Then a rather controversial five-minute major was called on ex-Star Cody Eakin for this hit on Joe Pavelski:
The Sharks proceeded to score on the power play. And then again. And again. And again.
AND THEN Vegas tied it up with the extra attacker, sending the game into overtime. But it was all for naught, as the Sharks ended up winning the series about 18 minutes into overtime:
The Eakin major will probably be talked about for a long time. Which in turn will probably overshadow this story from before the game:
Coach speak: VGK's Gallant calls DeBoer 'clown' https://t.co/7g7GphB9M4— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) April 23, 2019
Star alumnus Patrick Sharp is currently rocking his new gig at NBC, where he might have found his post-retirement calling:
Just because a team was eliminated early doesn’t mean no one played well:
Did your favorite team get eliminated in the first round? That's too bad. Let's look at some of the most impactful players on the team's that took an early trip to the golf course.https://t.co/MN3ltC1MUa— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) April 24, 2019
Finally, the Nashville Predators are now facing an existential crisis. Good job, Dallas: