Stick Taps: Improving The Fantastic Outdoor NHL Games
*Besides the spectacle of the 105,000 and change fans in attendance and the snow falling all game, the most visually appealing part of the Winter Classic was that both the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs wore their colored (formerly away, and now home) sweaters. The red and blue stood out with the white ice as a background.
*Why not have colored jerseys worn by both teams in regular season games – if it logistically works? Vancouver or Edmonton blue and Calgary or Montreal red (just to name a few) on the ice at the same time would paint a canvas rich in color.
*While on the subject of jersey colors, perhaps the NHL should think about reverting back to the home team wearing white at home and the road team wearing the colored jersey. As a season ticket holder, one sees the same jersey color scheme for 41-stright games; your home team’s color and the road team’s white. It gets monotonous. Why not go back to the road team wearing their colors, and that way fans get a different look every game?
*With the success of the Winter Classic and the upcoming Stadium Series games, why not put the All-Star game and all of its surrounding activities, including the old-timers game, skills competition and young-stars game outdoors? The NHL can even double-dip pitting the host city’s team in an outdoor game a few days before All-Star weekend.
*One thing that bugged me about the Winter Classic, and might play a role in the upcoming Stadium Series games as well is the buzzer or whistle at the ten-minute mark of the third period and again 2:30 into overtime. The switching of sides should not interfere with the flow of play as it did when Henrik Zetterberg lost a scoring chance because of a stoppage in overtime. A coin should be flipped before the game to choose sides and at the first whistle after the mid-way point of the third period and OT the teams should switch sides.
*As much as NBC loves the overhead cameras suspended over the rink, perhaps they should be reserved for pre-faceoff shots and replays. It is truly hard to follow the game with that camera zipping over-head during play.
*I have to believe that this will be the last time the U.S. announces their roster immediately after the Winter Classic. It truly took the wind out of the event’s sail.
*Speaking of Olympic announcements, it’s a shame politics plays a role in the roster formation. In my opinion, Olympic coaches should not be part of the selection process if they are current NHL coaches. Pittsburgh Penguins and U.S. head coach, Dan Bylsma for example selected defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik of the Penguins to the U.S. squad. I’m not saying the pair should not have made the team, however if they didn’t, don’t you think it would put a strain on the Bylsma-Martin, or Bylsma-Orpik relationship going forward?
*Furthermore, take the Martin St. Louis situation. In my opinion St. Louis was unjustifiably kept off the Canadian roster in 2010, however now Steve Yzerman, the Tampa G.M. is calling the shots for Hockey Canada, making tomorrow’s decision regarding St. Louis very interesting. If he makes it, is it only because now his G.M. has finals say? If he doesn’t, does that put a strain on their relationship, as the Bolts look to try and make a run at the Cup this year after Steven Stamkos returns?
*The omission of Kyle Okposo from the U.S. Olympic squad raised many eyebrows; however the reason provided was puzzling. Word circulated that the U.S. hierarchy did not think Okposo was a strong enough player on the larger ice surface. What everybody knows already is that Okposo played on a large ice surface at the University of Minnesota. What people don’t already know is that KO (40 points in 40 games) had more points than Blake Wheeler (38 points in 38 games), who is on the U.S. Olympic hockey team, during the 2006-2007 season at the University of Minnesota.
*If Kris Draper played for the Florida Panthers or Phoenix Coyotes instead of the Detroit Red Wings, do you think there would have been any chance he would have been selected to the 2006 Canadian Olympic team?
*Stick tap of the week goes to Deryk Engelland of the Pittsburgh Penguins who played on the fourth line as a wing on Friday night in defeating the New York Rangers 5-2, and then played on the Pens first line defense on Sunday afternoon in a 6-5 win over Winnipeg.
Follow David Kolb @FischlerReport