Monday, February 18, 2013

My Impressions of the Hockey City Classic

Sunday, I was able to take in both games of the Hockey City Classic that was played at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois from my living room.

I have to say that I was highly impressed and entertained by the event and thoroughly enjoyed both games. So, I am going to give the Hockey City Classic props.

In my opinion, the Hockey City Classic appears to have gone off without a hitch.

Obviously, I didn’t have any dog in the fight, as my favorite team was on a bye week, but it was a good way to pass the time.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, watching college hockey from the comfort of my living room with my DVR Recorder at the ready.

Did I mention, the best way to watch an outdoor hockey game, is from the comfort of your living-room. There are no poor sight lines and you’re never very far from the action. You also have the benefit of a replay and you can re-watch whatever you want to watch.

Normally, I am not a big fan of the outdoor games, and I think that we have been over saturated with them the last four or five years. I also think that they’re a bit of a gimmick, but if both teams agree to them, I am all for it. Even if it's for league points during a championship run.

I think that maybe the outdoor games need to be played during the month of December and January and not during the month of February.

Outdoor games can also be very unpredictable, because we can’t control the weather, mother nature has us at her mercy. But like any good traffic accident or train wreck, we all have to take a look, even though we shouldn't.

I have seen where some have said, that they thought the ice was worse in Chicago, than it was in Omaha. I don’t think that is a very accurate statement, seriously, it was 28 degrees in Chicago and a balmy 40-plus all day long in Omaha. I don’t know if the temperature got below 40 degrees during the course of the game.

Let’s not forget that the start to the UND versus Nebraska-Omaha game had to be delayed for two-plus hours, so the ice could freeze back up and be hard enough to play on, after the sun had melted it, making the ice unacceptable to play hockey on.

Historically, I think that the Frozen Fenway games have been the best college hockey outdoor games, but I am partial to the city of Boston and Fenway Park is a historical gem.

That being said, I was genuinely impressed with what I saw yesterday.

While I have seen a lot of grumbling from Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey fans on Twitter and on the fan message boards, I think we can call the event a huge success as 52,051 people showed up to watch the two game event and many more probably watched it at home on their televisions as well. I am sure if the Minnesota Gophers had won their game, their fans would've had a different view of the Hockey City Classic.

Obviously, Soldier Field is much better for a football game but I think yesterday’s event turned into a pretty good made for TV event.

If I had one complaint, it would be the team’s uniforms; I was not a fan of any of them.

Let's give credit where credit is due

There are a couple of things that I have seen that I find troublesome. First off, Gopher fans should give the Wisconsin Badgers a little credit; I see their fans blaming the ice surface for the reason their team lost the game yesterday.

The reason, the Minnesota Gophers lost the hockey game was that the Wisconsin Badgers scored one more goal than the Gophers. Both teams played on the same ice surface. I have seen moronic comments along the lines on how if the Gophers had played in the Kohl Center they would have been guaranteed a victory. We don't know that.

I mean seriously, you have to give credit where credit is due, the Badgers are well coached hockey team and Mike Eaves is a very good hockey coach and his teams always play a solid team defensive scheme and yesterday they cashed in on the Gophers mistakes. That’s hockey, and the best team doesn’t always win. Just ask Brendan Morrison. You need to give your opponent some respect.

I also think that the Golden Gophers beat writer Roman Augustoviz said it best.
Those knuckleheads ripping Don Lucia for agreeing to play outdoors have their head buried in the sand. It was not the Gophers giving up a home game, it was Wisconsin.
So the Gophers lost. What do you expect? They have swept ONE series in the WCHA all season. And that was against last-place Alaska-Anchorage. As Lucia said recently, it is amazing his team is in the conference race at all.
Cross Posted at the Hockey Writers Combine 
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