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Thoughts on the NHL Stadium Series

The Blackhawks and Penguins dealt with bad weather on Saturday.
The Blackhawks and Penguins dealt with bad weather on Saturday.
Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

When I was writing my preview of the upcoming weekend of NHL action this past weekend, I did not happen to make note of the fact the game between Pittsburgh and Chicago and the contest between Vancouver and Ottawa were being played out of doors as part of the NHL's inaugural Stadium Series. There is a simple reason for that. I merely forgot. This, I think, speaks more to the issues with the Stadium Series than anything else.

After all, I'm a huge NHL fan, as my years writing about it here would indicate. Sure, I'm not big on the outdoor games. I'm not really the "target audience" for all these games. However, even that target audience, the casual consumer, is probably getting tired of all these outdoor games. I doubt that a ton of people were tuning into the game between the Canucks and Senators on Sunday afternoon, you know? I didn't bother watching it.

I did bother watching the Blackhawks-Penguins game, on the other hand, and it was laughable. This is where my biggest issue with these outdoor games is. They sacrifice the quality of the hockey for the spectacle of an outdoor game. However, the novelty of the spectacle is gone. We've seen these games year in and year out. One big Winter Classic on New Year's Day is one thing. A bunch of games though? It loses any luster. Then, you've just got a game being played in awful weather. Seriously, two of the most talented teams in the league were relegated to slogging through the snow on Saturday night. That would have been really exciting indoors. Outdoors, it was one of the worst games I have seen in recent memory.

The game between Ottawa and Vancouver ended up not even technically being played outdoors, because it was too cold, a fitting ending to this ill-fated Stadium Series. Maybe the league wanted to pay people back for the lockout. It didn't work, by the way. You're all still contemptible. However, I think it was too much. They spread outdoor games too thin. Next year, I hope they go back to one game. Maybe two, with one in Canada. A Winter Classic and a Heritage Classic. That seems reasonable. I still won't be excited for them, but somebody will.