Stadium Series expands

The best way to watch hockey is to watch a game that's outdoors. The NHL Stadium Series will be getting hockey players a taste of their true roots of playing on the pond.

A look at the atmosphere of the outdoor games

Clay Sohngen

A look at the atmosphere of the outdoor games

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Everybody’s favorite game of the hockey season is the Winter Classic. The Winter Classis is played outdoors in the home team’s city in either a baseball or football stadium. The Winter Classic’s goal is to bring hockey back to its origins, and play the game outside. The NHL is going all out this season, possibly as a compensation for the fans’ disappointment last year because of the lockout.This season’s stadium series will feature 6 different matchups:

1.)    The Winter Classic (Jan. 1): Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Detroit Red Wings: Toronto, believe it or not, is the first Canadian team to be featured in the winter classic. This matchup will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, aka “The Big house”, making Detroit the home team. Detroit and Toronto are very close in the race for the East, with Detroit’s 35 points, and Toronto’s 31. Detroit will have too much of a crowd for the Leafs to handle, helping them to prevail over their divisional foe. This will be a great matchup between two very talented teams that like to grind it out, and the crowd should be enormous.

2.)    The Heritage Classic (Mar. 2): Ottawa Senators vs. Vancouver Canucks: The Heritage Classic is not played every single year, but may be the most fun game to watch when it is actually being played. This game is always between two Canadian teams. The Heritage classic started in 2003 in Edmonton, and wasn’t played again until 2011 in Calgary. This season, the game will be played at BC Place in Vancouver, which puts the Canucks at an advantage. Canucks will win in regulation, with not much of a challenge. The jerseys are an old fashioned type look, which is appropriate for the atmosphere.

3.)    Dodger Stadium (Jan. 25): Anaheim Ducks vs. LA Kings: These two west coast teams are always competing for the top of the Western Conference. It looks like it will turn out to be a very fast paced game with a lot of grinding and fights. Also, I believe that it will come down to the goalies. Jonathan Quick of the Kings or young sensation Frederik Andersen will steal the show. In the end, the Ducks are very hot and will win this game in my mind. The jerseys also look pretty slick for each team.

4.)    Yankee Stadium (Jan. 26): New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils: The Rangers lucked out and got two chances to get a win at Yankee Stadium.  This game is between two teams that are literally neck-and-neck in the Metropolitan division; The Rangers with 28 points, the Devils with 27. This is still technically a home game for the Rangers, but will essentially be a neutral location feel with all the New Jersey fans that will pack the seats of Yankee Stadium. I’m predicting this game will go into overtime, and possibly a shootout, with the Devils pulling it off.

 5.)    Yankee Stadium 2 (Jan. 29): New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders: This is the official battle for New York. However, the Rangers are doing significantly better than the Islanders, with 28 points in the east thus far, and the Islanders with a metropolitan division worst 21 points. This game will shape up to be another Ranger salute, but I wouldn’t count out Tavares and his squad in the Islanders, it will be closer than most make it out to be.

6.)    Soldier Field (Chicago)(Mar. 1): Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Chicago Blackhawks: This will be a very fun game to watch. This is a potential preview of the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals matchup between two teams that are always hot and finding ways to win games. Soldier Field gives the reigning cup champions the edge, but nonetheless, this will be a very interesting hockey game that will come down to the final seconds.

 

The NHL Stadium Series is presented by Coors Light, and will all be featured on NBC, so while you are all bundled up and sitting next to the fire with another cold winter’s day outside, turn on some hockey and watch it how it is supposed to be played- outdoors.

 

 

 

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