Business of HockeyState of the Rangers

Next stop: Yankee Stadium


With last night’s tough loss to St. Louis out of the way, the hockey world’s attention now turns to the much publicized “Stadium Series” games, starting this Saturday.  This weekend’s festivities will see the Ducks and Kings face-off on Saturday at Dodger Stadium (with some of the ugliest unis going, by the way) while the Rangers will battle the Devils on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

When the NHL announced that there would be five outdoor games in addition to the Winter Classic played this year, much of the reaction centered around some variation of “overkill”.  This is a novelty concept that was charming with one game on New Year’s day, but would the concept be turned into a gimmick by playing this many games outside?  I have to admit,  I was skeptical.

The Rangers were the beneficiaries of two of the five Stadium Series games, against the Devils and Islanders, respectively.  Personally, I was hoping Yankee Stadium’s big hockey reveal would come during a Winter Classic, but alas, it was not meant to be.  The weirder part was that both of these games would feature the Rangers in road white. 

Henrik Lundqvist has been seen in two different sets of pads for these games; one utilizing a sock-based design, and the other paying homage to the building with a clean pinstripe layout.   There was some discussion about the Yankees squashing the idea of the pinstriped pads, but the ones being worn in this picture are the new Bauer OD1N pads, so don’t be surprised if they show up in one of the games (which one is anybody’s guess).

What has been lost in the shuffle of all the excitement is that there are still two (four, including the mid-week game) big points on the line against a division rival(s).  The Rangers have been playing great hockey of late, the Islanders game not withstanding.  With Columbus and Philly hot on the Rangers tail (with games in hand) and Carolina and Jersey not far behind, this pre-Olympic slate could be critical for the Rangers’ season.

Bottom line: the boys need to maintain focus for this crucial stretch, not only to make those $400 tickets worthwhile up in the Bronx, but to continue to solidify their playoff position and allow the front office to make the necessary assessments for a productive trade deadline.  While I’m sure the outdoor games will be a fantastic experience for the players, their families and the fans, it needs to result in points.  Otherwise, the Yankees’ half billion dollar spending spree this offseason could end up the highlight of the winter.

What do you folks think about all the added outdoor games?  Good for brand exposure to the casual fan?  Overkill?  Great opportunity for more cities and teams to participate in cold weather fun?  Sound off in the comments below…

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  • Maybe I’m confused, but I thought I saw somewhere they were painting the ice white in Yankee Stadium. If The Rangers are wearing white, won’t they kinda blend with the ice?

    I think one outdoor game a year is enough.

  • I’ll be going to Sunday’s shindig against the Devils compiments of my gf and her family’s season tickets. I will report back with my impressions next week.

    The plan will be to enjoy the experience, while not getting upset that I won’t be able to tell what on earth is going on with the questionable seating. That, coupled with the below freezing temperatures, I’ve made the executive decision to start my drinking early in an effort to maintain both warmth along with a jolly demeanor.

    • Going too. Looking to find a leather drinking pouch that will pass inspection and get me into the stadium. Can’t have enough “anti-freeze” in the system Sunday.

  • These games are good for the sport. More casual fans like to go to the games then watch them so its a win win. I think the league should consider more just so fans can enjoy the sport outdoors rather the in. Think about it, a game about 80-90% sold tickets in the middle of a work week. What does that tell you?

  • These games (along with selling one hundred thousand seats at the Winter Classic) are the biggest reason why the cap is expected to go up so much this offseason. More revenue is good for the sport.

    • Agree, but revenue needs to be sustainable.

      Otherwise you get inflated contracts and cap squeezed teams.

  • I wouldn’t go to these games if you paid me $400. I will be nice and warm on my living room sofa watching in HD on my 50″plasma….thank you.
    I think people are going just to say they are going or to say they were there. One game a year is enough…stupid gimmick..
    I bet the players hate it.

  • Stadium Series is generating revenue, lots of it. Stadiums will be packed. People will watch on TV. Sponsors are involved. A ton of money will be made off of product, food, and bev.

    Smart idea by the NHL.

  • Love the outdoor game as it brings hockey back to its roots, where it was played on frozen ponds, lakes and rivers. This match up between 2 original 6 teams makes it even better.

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