Archive for November, 2011
Since the creation of the NHL Winter Classic in 2008, the popularity of outdoor hockey games have turned the NHL’s biggest event into the ultimate in reality television. After the announcement of the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in September, I was thinking about who will have the outdoor game next year? After 2 months of brainstorming rivalries and locations for where the games should be placed, I have decided on four options on what matchups and venues are most likely to happen in the next four years.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. St. Louis Blues from Busch Stadium
“The Battle of I-55” has been an intense rivalry. Since the realignment of 1970, these two teams have been in the same division (Smythe, Norris, Central). And since then, the rivalry became simply bad blood on the Interstate. Who would like to remember the St. Patrick’s Day massacre of 1991 or the 1993 Norris Division Semifinal where the Golden Brett made Eddie The Eagle lose his cool in a four-game sweep? Though the Cubs and Cardinals battle for respect during the summer months, Come January 1 at Busch Stadium in Downtown St. Louis, home of the 11-time World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals, there will be a battle for pride, honor, and bragging rights in front of a crowd of 46,000+? Not to mention, the near-symmetrical dimensions of Busch Stadium give everybody the best seat in the house!
New York Islanders vs. New York Rangers from Yankee Stadium
Like The Battle of I-55, “The Battle of New York” has been an intense rivalry for over 30 years. The antithesis of the rivalry began on February 25, 1979, when Islanders defenseman Denis Potvin checked Rangers center Ulf Nilsson into the boards at Madison Square Garden. The hit started a downward spiral for Nilsson and Potvin became public enemy number one on Broadway. Since then, the rivalry became one of the most heated in the NHL, with chants of “Potvin Sucks!,’ “1940!,” and the ever-infamous Chicken Dance. Since the Potvin hit, only the two-handed slash from Chris Simon to Ryan Hollweg was the only major incident in the rivalry to reach that same level of intensity. What better stage to write te next great chapter of that rivalry than at a place that is synonymous with great sports events since 1923: the house that Steinbrenner Built, Yankee Stadium? Since its grand opening in 2009, It has hosted a World Series, a Army-Notre Dame football game, the Pinstripe Bowl, even a championship boxing match between Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman. In front of a crowd of 54,000+, you’ll get to see names like Lundqvist, Tavares, Richards, and Streit alongside names like Jeter, Posada, Teixeira, and Rivera.
Detroit Red Wings vs. Colorado Avalanche from Sports Authority Field at Mile High
It all started with a check from Claude Lemieux to Kris Draper in Game 6 of the 1996 Western Conference Final. It escalated at The Joe on March 26, 1997 with an epic bench-clearing line brawl. And for one-third of Avalanche history, these two teams met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Now in front of a NHL-record crowd of 76,000+ at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the place where the Avs first home once stood, Varlamov, Hejduk, and Duchene clash with Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Howard. Also as part of the event’s weekend, another rivalry will take place on the grounds of Mile High – Colorado College and the University of Denver will battle in the most epic chapter in the battle for the Gold Pan.
Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks from BC Place
You could say it’s politics, or the Canadian Rockies, or the Winter Olympics that separate these two Western Canadian cities. But in reality, it’s hockey that separates these two teams. In the WHL, the Hitmen are rivals to the Giants, and in the NHL, the Flames are rivals to the Canucks. When BC Place opened its doors in 1983, it was air-supported domed stadium, meaning nature’s elements were not to be a factor during games. But on September 30, 2011, BC Place reopened with a new roof; the largest steel cable-supported retractable roof in the world. With the ability to hold games in outdoor conditions, BC Place is the most appropriate venue for the third installment of the Heritage Classic. With a seating capacity of 52,000, it will be the second-largest attended Heritage Classic game behind the inaugural Heritage Classic that was held in Edmonton on November 22, 2003. Can Kipper repeat his performance from 2011 or will Bobby Lu steal the show?
With the Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony coming this Monday night, this is a special edition of Coach’s Corner featuring the four members of the 2011 Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Class: Ed Belfour, Doug Gilmour, Mark Howe, and Joe Nieuwendyk.
With Rememberance Day/Veterans day coming up next Friday, Hockey Night in Canada is proud to present the most important Coach’s Corner of the year to salute the fallen men and women of the Canadian Forces. But no matter what country you represent, be it Canada or the United States, you should be thankful for the freedom we are living in right now thanks to the men and women of the Canadian Forces/United States Armed Forces.