Since 2008 the Winter Classic has stood as one of the most unique and impressive pillars in the four major sports leagues. An outdoor spectacle that was made for TV helped give legitimacy to a league that had lost far too much in the first half of the 2000s.
The 2012-13 lockout not only caused a cancellation of the Red Wings and Maple Leafs at the Big House but also cut away a great deal of fan allegiance after a second lockout in fewer than 10 years. The league compensated for the loss of half a season, an outdoor game and a great deal of revenue with six outdoor games last season.
With this year’s Winter Classic fast approaching, I find myself very disinterested in the build up to the game. Overall my level of interest for the game is incredibly low and it is somewhat amplified by the general lack of hype for what has previously been appointment television.
Losing 24/7 and the punch brought to the table by HBO certainly helps to amplify the lack of buzz or hype about the game, but the apathy surrounding the event seems to extend beyond that of the chatter regarding a pay-cable network’s inside look at the two teams.
What’s interesting is that the Epix production of Road to the Winter Classic has been excellent, in my opinion. I really enjoyed each of the first two episodes and I’m looking forward to the final pair. But even that hasn’t helped to boost my excitement for the upcoming game.
Even the jersey unveilings were just part of the white noise of the NHL in the summer. Maybe if one or both jerseys were more attractive I’d personally feel differently, but there hasn’t been all that much discussion on either since they were unveiled.
The entire practice just feels tired. Continue reading