A slightly different podcast this week as Tyler and I were unable to convene but I was lucky to grab fellow Buffalo podcaster Pat Moran for a wide-ranging discussion over the excellent show he launched earlier this year, the state of the Bills and what it was that brought him back into the fold with the Sabres after losing faith during the dregs of recent years. Prior to jumping into my chat with Pat, I run through the new jerseys that were released or leaked around the league this week, touched on the 2018 Hall of Fame induction class and the big coaching changes that dropped in Chicago and Los Angeles.
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When the puck drops on January 2 at Citizen’s Bank Park it will mark the fifth occurrence of the Winter Classic. The event has gone from a fledgling experiment to a made-for-TV goldmine that competes with other major sporting events.
The Flyers and Rangers clash will take place in the third baseball stadium and be the second-straight time that a previous participant appears in the Classic. Only one instance involved teams from the Western Conference.
The event as a single entity is beyond brilliant. Not only is it a perfect television product, it easily draws casual fans to the sport. In addition, thrusting the game back into its natural environment provides added drama; not only due to the venue but the potential monkey wrench the weather can act as. Since the league cherry picks the best possible foes on a yearly basis, there is almost no way to fail. However, there have been a few contests that fared better than others.
Considering all of the outside forces that impact this brilliant event, it is largely a roll of the dice each season. While last year’s game was the first to truly be affected by weather, the other events went off without a hitch. In addition to weather, the venue, the teams and the actual game all factor into the overall product in the end. Here is a rundown of where each Winter Classic stacks up: Continue reading →