Yankees officials "liked the whole experience" of the NHL Coors Light Stadium Series enough "that they're all for" bringing it back on a regular basis, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com. Yankees President Randy Levine: "If they want to come back, whenever they want to come back, the schedule is up to them, they're more than welcome. ... We love the event, but we'll take the lead from them." Bloom writes of the two games at Yankee Stadium, concluding with last night's Rangers-Islanders matchup, "The atmosphere was electric and the hockey fans were into it, with 100,132 attending the two games, 50,027 on Wednesday night" (MLB.com, 1/30). In N.Y., Jeff Klein notes both games were "played in front of virtually full houses." The sellout last night "for a freezing night game was something of a surprise, as were the rising prices for tickets on the secondary market in the three days leading to the contest, although both developments could be seen as continuing signs of success for the NHL’s program of outdoor games" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/30). TSN's Darren Dreger wrote on his Twitter account, "Ballpark number (no pun intended)...6 outdoor games this season should generate aprox $20 million in revenue for NHL and NHLPA" (TWITTER.com, 1/29).
LOVES ME, LOVES ME NOT: CBSSPORTS.com's Chris Peters summed up last night's game under the header, "Rangers Win Ugly In Another Perfect Night For NHL." The setting at Yankee Stadium, the sellout crowd, and the "glitzy musical performances" gave the game "an aura of something bigger." It "doesn't matter how the game on the ice looks when it comes to outdoor hockey." It is "all about the spectacle," and last night's game "certainly was that." The league's "outdoor gamble is working in spades." For the third time, the NHL "played to a packed stadium for an outdoor hockey game that wasn't the Winter Classic." NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in a postgame statement said, "When you think about the fact that we've played three outdoor games in five days to over 150,000 people, then throw in the Winter Classic and another 100,000 people, it's been an incredible month of special events" (CBSSPORTS.com, 1/29). But THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau wrote last night's game "from an entertainment standpoint ... was the least exciting" of the '14 Stadium Series. Outdoor hockey "doesn’t make bad hockey more fun to watch." Also, pregame and intermission performances by singer Cee Lo Green "went over like a lead balloon with the crowd." Last night felt like one "that was simply to be endured and not enjoyed by fans." This "isn’t to say the concept was a failure, but rather, that three outdoor games in five days is a little much -- and one of the three taking place midweek made it feel shoehorned into people's schedules" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 1/29). CSNBayArea.com's Ray Ratto said, "We've reached the 'too many' part because almost nobody knows that the Rangers and Islanders are playing at Yankee Stadium ... because they already saw that on Sunday." Ratto added, "Unless you get crummy weather, the outdoor doesn't mean a whole lot. To me, I think they've overplayed their hand" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 1/30).
WHERE YA HEADED? In Chicago, Adam Jahns reports the NHL is "open to hosting a game" at U.S. Cellular Field. NHL COO John Collins said, "We’ll get through the successes of this year and we’ll be able to sit down and really figure out what the plan is going forward. But yeah, sure. Comiskey is a great park." He added that there "have been discussions" with the White Sox, but they "took a backseat" to the Cubs for the '09 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field because Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough worked as Cubs President from '84-07 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/30). In Denver, Adrian Dater noted NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings "confirmed that Denver is under serious consideration" for a Stadium Series game. An outdoor game in Denver "was and always has been the biggest no-brainer on earth." Dater: "I’ll go out on a limb and say that MillerCoors would want the game to be played at Coors Field. And I’ll predict that the game will be against the Detroit Red Wings." The NHL's outdoor games "likely will be reduced from six to four, but Denver is an automatic to get one." Dater: "You think the NHL will say no to their biggest sponsor’s publicly expressed wish? Not. A. Chance" (DENVERPOST.com, 1/29). TSN's Dreger wrote on his Twitter account, "4 outdoor NHL games likely next season. Tons of interest. SJ, Phx, Col, Bos, Minn, CBJ, etc. Toronto pushing hard for Winter Classic...." (TWITTER.com, 1/29).