Well, three days in and so much for my 'Don't bash the NHL' resolution. I should've known it would be impossible to keep, especially when the league wimps out. The only thing 'Classic' about the January 2nd outdoor game was it's 'Classic' wimping-out by league brass, and of course, 'Classic' poor officiating.
I will start by saying kudos to the NHL for instilling in their dedicated fanbase the anticipation of a New Years day where us in the west can wake up to left-over pizza and an outdoor game. Even though I knew the 2012 date would be January 2nd I spent five minutes on my cable's guide looking for the game on New Years day morning...then I remember, oh ya, the NHL decided not to go toe-to-toe with the bowls, and so what did I do? Watch bowl games all day. What'd I do for the Winter Classic? Hit the gym because I was at my breaking point of lazy. I did get the opportunity to see some shabby third period officiating and the end to what was by all accounts an etertaining game. Am I the only one who thinks the refs were instructed to call everything so that the tenative nature of the outdoor fiasco wouldn't be reflected in the entertainment value? Phantom calls and even-ups all game.
And why won't the NHL just put their product out in the face of competition from other sports. There aren't a whole lot of Americans who are going to have an interest in bowl games and ice hockey anyway. When is the league going to realize they need to start investing in the fan base they have attracted first, and then find ways to expand the game. We're the ones paying the freight.