Thoughts About the Game
I just came back from Buffalo (or more accurately, Orchard Park, N.Y.) after I attended the so-called Winter Classic between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres.
The game had an exciting and appropriate finish with Sidney Crosby scoring the game-winning shootout goal -- appropriate because the entire event was another showcase for the NHL's biggest superstar.
While the finish was good, the majority of the play during regulation time lacked intensity, hits and excitement and resembled an all-star game. Reasons for the wanting play range from the ice conditions to the weather conditions to the two teams playing not being particularly strong.
Also the game was interrupted at every period's half-way mark to bring out a Zamboni to treat the ice. This interruption took away from the game some of the players' energy and momentum. The reason for this repeated intrusion was the concern that these two teams would be at a disadvantage because of the ice condition and would cause lose crucial regular season points.
My suggestion to avoid this repeated intrusion in future installments of the Winter Classic and to actually make this event worthy of its of name is to simply fold the real all-star game into the Winter Classic format. This way no team participating could complain about the conditions and how they effect its regular season record. Also the best players would be showcased in the most dramatic setting (outside among 70,000 fans).
Making the Winter Classic the NHL's all-star game would make the all-star game worth watching. So why not make the change?