A Winter Clunker
By now you know that the 2010 Winter Classic will feature the Boston Bruins hosting the Philadelphia Flyers in Fenway Park. Scuttlebutt had the Caps being the visiting team at first but apparently, NBC didn't like the ratings the Caps pulled when they played the Rangers in the first round and insisted on the Flyers instead.
Personally, we could care less whether or not the Caps play in the Winter Classic, unless of course the game takes place in RFK Stadium. But the larger lesson here is that the NHL's chicken's are coming home to roost. When even the Worldwide Leader in Schlock has a problem with the way you're marketing the game, you know you're in trouble.
Because let's face it folks, how absurd it is that the reigning two-time NHL MVP and Goal Scoring Champion (who also happens to fill highlight reel after highlight reel, something the WWL knows all about) can't "draw flies" as they say in TV ratings?
Simply put, it's because the NHL has refused to market said player. And let's not kid ourselves folks, the only reason why A.O. has gotten as much attention as he has is because of his play. There is no thanks at all owed to a league that goes to extraordinary lengths to promote one player above all others. The NHL is continuing to do this in spite of the growing opinion that Canadian Diving Team Captain, Lowblow Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby isn't even the best player on her own team. But she's still considered the best player in the league as far as the NHL Hype Machine is concerned. The fact that A.O. has gotten through as much as he has is a testament to his superior talent. A.O. won't need the benefit of a real extra attacker during a game to turn a series in his favor.
So with no other individuals to market and the "Original Six" Match already done, the NHL and Nothing But Cindy Network went with the "team" or "big market" angle and viola, Boston and Philly. Color us unimpressed and the hype already building for this game isn't good either as far as we're concerned.
The NHL is heading into an Olympic year and Olympic hockey has always far out paced NHL hockey in the TV ratings. A large part of the reason is why is because there is no fighting allowed in the international game. With the pleading for fisticuffs and focus on the two teams "hard nosed style," the 2010 Winter Classic could become the last profitable one for the NHL because there's no way the casual fans will continue to tune in if they're greeted with Ultimate Fighting on Ice. The only hope for the NHL should the Winter Classic turn into a bloodbath is that the Olympic tournament is so good that everybody forget what they saw a month and a half earlier. But don't cout on that.
Of course we do have to chuckle at those who float the idea of the Caps playing in Yankee Stadium against the Rangers in 2011. Why did the Nothing But Cindy network veto the Caps again??? Figure on a Rangers-Islanders contest should the game go to Yankee Stadium for 2011
Oh, and for the folks who are pushing for an outdoor game on the National Mall in Washington, DC, please explain how you're going to accommodate around 40,000 fans with no infrastructure in place to do so, let alone basics like locker rooms and a place to fuel the Zambonis. RFK, Natinals Ark, and even 90,000 seat Landover are much better ideas for hosting than on the Mall.
Finally are we really the only ones who remembered all the yelling and screaming over the commercialization of the Mall when the NFL held their Kickoff celebration there in 2003? Because that's another hurdle to overcome because there's no way you could pull that off without slapping corporate logos all over the place. That idea reeks of coming off a message board somewhere.