I have been a fan of the NHL's massive money machine, the Winter Classic. Does it feel a little forced at times? Yes. Is it overly marketed just so the league can rake in even more revenue only to then claim they are barely getting by? Most definitely. Would I want the Los Angeles Kings to be part of it? Of course.
And it appears that is in the works...Kind of. Word coming down the grapevine, otherwise known as various people according to the interwebz, is that a deal has been made to have an outdoor hockey game in Los Angeles. More specifically, at Dodger Stadium. It would not only mark the first west coast team to partake in one of these spectacles, but also the first time a team further west than Chicago hosted. Frankly, if I was Minnesota or Colorado, I'd be sorta pissed. But that's where there is sort of a catch.
L.A. getting an outdoor game is hardly exclusive to just southern California. No, the NHL wants lots of outdoor games. Why?
The game would be a part of the Hockey Day in America schtick manufactured by the league, where they are rumored to be planning on having numerous outdoor games throughout the country. Because of the massive amounts of these events possibly occurring now, the TV ratings are less important, and the real cash lies with gate revenue. The rumor is that the Kings will be playing the Ducks for this game, instead of a major market team (a la the Bruins, Rangers, etc).
The biggest issue I have with this, is essentially just the over saturation of these "unique" games. The Winter Classic was a spectacle by being a once a year event. Now with multiple of these type of games going off in the same season, the uniqueness is lost, and there really is nothing too remarkable about the event now outside of the venue used. Speaking of which...
Dodger Stadium, if you somehow missed it, had a boatload of money dropped on fixing the place up. Seeing how the ballpark is over 50 years old, it was about time. The years had begun to show on Dodger Stadium from the time I visited it two years ago. The bleachers were decrepit, the bathrooms disgusting, and frankly everything looked old. And not in an iconic Wrigley or Fenway sort of way. More like a Carrie Fisher way. Fortunately, after attending a Dodger game this past week, things have certainly turned around for the better and the money spent shows. The stadium still has an older vibe to it, but now it doesn't look so crappy on the inside. It's returned to hot Princess Leia form.
Now while it is not 100% verified that Los Angeles is getting a game, it's seeming pretty likely given the amount of coverage it has been receiving after a few sources mentioned it. Certain locales that haven't been as strongly linked include Minnesota, Colorado, and Northern California, which if they also don't land a game could reasonably get a little irked. The predictable arguments of the weather not being right, or that Los Angeles isn't a traditional hockey market would be bound to come up. Northern California would probably just be annoyed because they weren't included.
However, if they were able to play a hockey game in a parking lot in Las Vegas, there is absolutely no reason to not try one here in L.A. Technology has improved to keep the ice in better condition, and I personally have no desire to go back to the frozen hell-scape where temperatures are hovering around 0 degrees. You want guaranteed attendance? 55-65 degrees outside won't keep people away. A damn blizzard and where it's so cold out your exposed skin chips off you like old paint does. As for not being a traditional market, being part of the NHL's expansion during the 60s kind of has Colorado beat. Minnesota has a gripe, but they can thank Dallas for fucking up their history of professional hockey in their state.
Again, my only reservation with the proposal is that there is now the Winter Classic, the Canadian version (Ice, Beer, and Denim Night?), and god knows how many of these things they plan on doing in a short block. Frankly, I'd be okay if the Dodger Stadium game had to sit on the back burner for another year if it keeps outdoor games away from the "not another one these!" level. Considering how excited the league gets to make more money, even if it means locking players out and enraging fans, I think worrying about overdoing an outdoor game probably doesn't effect their mindset.
So what is there left to say about Dallas? They are likely eliminated from post-season play at this point, and I have given you enough stupid facts about Texas that at this point you probably just don't care. I'll just say that in all honesty, after my long ass road trip to find the holy grail of burritos, Texas was hands down the worst state I went through. I managed to get a bed infested with bed bugs in Oklahoma, and I have nightmares what I would have picked up if I had stopped in Texas for the night. Spiders? Herpes? Polio? Worst part was, even their burritos sucked. Two bucks for a sad little bean and 95% cheese piece of paper. The sad truth is, and this is plenty embarrassing, is that my family has ties to Texas. Fortunately, they weren't idiots and moved. The ones that stayed there we don't talk to anymore. Just like any good family would do. Fuck Dallas, etc, etc.
Prediction: As much as Duck fans would like to just laugh off Drew Doughty and the Kings for saying they outplayed Anaheim, it was pretty obvious that the Kings did in fact do just that despite a shootout loss. The Kings have been outplaying most teams lately, and against an even weaker Dallas team, I expect more of the same. Kings win 3-2 with goals from Carter, Kopitar, and Williams.