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Only two outdoor hockey games for NHL in 2014-15 season?

Maple Leafs beat Red Wings in snowy Winter Classic
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The Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs skate during the third period of the Winter Classic outdoor NHL hockey game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich., Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

John Shannon of Sportsnet reports that the NHL is going to scale back its outdoor games schedule next season to just two stadium contests: 

- The 2015 Winter Classic in Washington, DC, between the Washington Capitals and a team to be determined (the Bruins, Rangers, Flyers or Penguins) at a stadium to be determined (Nationals Park, probably; FedEx Field if the think they can get the capacity; Camden Yards in Baltimore if they wanted the actual best venue.)

- An outdoor game at either AT+T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, or Levi’s Stadium, soon to be home of the San Francisco 49ers. The opponents would the San Jose Sharks vs. the 'Could It Be Anyone Other Than The LA Kings'?

If the limit is two, that’s confirmation that last season’s Stadium Series was (a) a direct response to lost revenue from the lockout and (b) something specifically designed around the Winter Olympics to keep the NHL on the radar.  The latter point has been voiced by NHL COO John Collins; the former, not so much.

The NHL has talked about scaling back the outdoor games from the six we had this season, but dropping to just two games is surprising, considering the ATM machines these games are for the League and the fact that so many worthy venues haven’t been utilized yet. But maybe they’re just trying to space stuff out instead of going for instant gratification. Coors Field in Colorado, for example, appears to be getting a game in 2016.

(Although that would beg the question: Would the NHL put the Colorado Avalanche and either the Detroit Red Wings or the Chicago Blackhawks in a Denver-based Winter Classic?)

Hey, maybe the NHL is simply trying to hold back on the outdoor games, fearing there can be too much of a good thing.

Now watch them put Sid and Ovi in the DC Winter Classic …

 

 

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