Saturday, 27 February 2016

Didn't Watch A Second

I'll be honest: the Stadium Series games have lost their lustre when it comes to the teams being included in the games. Today's teams were the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche - two teams who had a bloody and nasty rivalry at the turn of the millenium. That was 16 years ago. Today, they don't even play in the same conference any longer, so the rivalry has quieted immensely as the Red Wings play more of an Eastern Conference game. The players involved in the rivalry are long gone as well, so this game was just another meaningless game outside of the two points on the line. Ho-hum.

Because there have been so many outdoor games held in the vast number of stadiums not meant for hockey, the uniqueness of the venue doesn't even factor in for me any longer. The game needs to feature two teams that have a pure and real rivalry where hatred exists and both teams would kill one another for two points. Games featuring teams on the edge of the playoffs in either conference where no rivalry has existed for over a decade are, in a word, boring.

There needs to be a return to having fewer players giving canned responses to overly-used questions by reporters. There needs to be more personality in the game. When players like Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Roy, and Darren McCarty were trading barbs through the press at one another, the games meant more for fans who lived on the next sound bite from their heroes. We don't have that any longer, and the interest in games that feature less-than-stellar teams is lower than ever.

While I appreciate the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are celebrating a fairly important anniversary next year, if they're as terrible as they are this year, they should move that game elsewhere immediately. The 30th-overall team in the NHL should, in no way, get the benefit of a marquee event when teams like St. Louis and Washington should be rewarded for building excellent teams. I would have included Chicago in that grouping, but they seem to play an annual outdoor game and I sick of seeing them in these games.

I watched none of the game from Denver today where temperatures reached a glorious 18°C. That temperature is more akin to a round of golf than it is an outdoor hockey game. Despite Detroit winning 5-3 between these two wild card teams, the biggest news of the game was the wind that swirled the fake snow into the air during the third period. Thankfully, none of it hit the ice, but if that was the biggest news story we might need better teams to participate in these events.

One per year should be the rule. Like the NHL All-Star Game, we don't need more of these exhibitions. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but the alumni games are more fun for the fans. The chirping that went on between the Red Wings alumni and the Avalanche alumni made it feel like the late-1990s again, and it would be a great way of working the names of the alumni who may not be known to new fans into their vernacular. For the rest of us, it would harken back to days past where our heroes were larger than life.

I didn't watch one second of the Stadium Series game in Denver. I don't feel like I missed out on anything except another meaningless game that could have been played at the Pepsi Center instead.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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