Sunday's NHL schedule release didn't give us much when it comes to potential outdoor games in 2014-15. We know the Chicago Blackhawks will visit the Washington Capitals in the 2015 Winter Classic on New Year's Day, but we don't know exactly which D.C.-area venue will host the game and we don't have any other details either aside from the teams and the day.
It's long been assumed that there will be more than just the one outdoor game this coming season, though. There might not six like there were in 2013-14 -- a calculated decision to drum up post-lockout interest in the league as well as regain some of the lost revenue from that work stoppage -- but we do expect two or maybe three outdoor games.
The rumors have been swirling for weeks about a potential San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings outdoor game, and while the 2014-15 schedule release didn't give us any indication that it'll happen, one report from the Globe & Mail indicates that the Saturday, February 21 meeting between the two teams could be marked for outdoor ice:
"For the upcoming season, there is one Winter Classic – Jan. 1 in Washington, where the Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks – but it is believed that a Feb. 21 date between the Kings and the Sharks will also be played outdoors in the Bay Area, after the NHL successfully pulled off an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium last January."
Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, the soon-to-be-completed new home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, could be an option for this outdoor game. AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants is certainly the idyllic choice, and team officials are on record saying they'd love to work with the Sharks and the NHL on bringing outdoor hockey to the park.
San Francisco weather is much better for ice quality than the heat of Southern California, and for all intents and purposes the NHL pulled off that Dodger Stadium game without a hitch last season. The average high temperature in the area on Feb. 21 is 59 degrees, while the average low sits around 47 degrees.
No matter where the game might be played, though, it seems like this Kings vs. Sharks outdoor game is on track to happen at some point in 2014-15. It should be fun.