Is anyone else sick of having the Chicago Blackhawks in outdoor games? I get it, I truly do, as to why they're there. They're the NHL's cash cow, the money makers, the bread winners. The Blackhawks have three of the last six Stanley Cups and as a result have had four outdoor games since their inception in 2008.
Chicago's record in those outdoor games? One win and three losses.
And hopefully their worst game of the four will be their last as many people seem to be suffering from Blackhawks fatigue. In a similar vein to Sidney Crosby's treatment by NBC, fans have had enough of Chicago's presence in the outdoor festivities.
On the other hand, Minnesota certainly enjoyed their time in the overcast skies of Minneapolis in their 6-1 victory over the Blackhawks in their first outdoor game. Despite the non-sellout crowd, TCF Bank Stadium was rocking all day long -- and all weekend thanks to the Alumni Game -- with the home team posting six goals in the game.
Minnesota Wild fans will tell you they're probably not sick of the outdoor games, coming off the high of a really stellar weekend. It's understandable that fans are tired of the celebrations, but the real problem might be the lack of range in the NHL's selections.
It's hard to be excited about these games when the same teams play in them every year. We get why the NHL does it -- money, ratings -- but fans seem less and less enthused with every passing outdoor game.
A way to shake things up? Put teams in like Minnesota who haven't had their chance in the spotlight yet. The Avalanche will get their chance next week and with rumors of the Blues being the frontrunners for the 2017 Winter Classic, it's most definitely a start.
But please, NHL. Leave the Blackhawks out of it for a few more years. Your fans will thank you.
Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Buffalo Sabres 3
Minnesota Wild 6, Chicago Blackhawks 1
New York Rangers 1, Detroit Red Wings 0 (OT)
Anaheim Ducks 5, Calgary Flames 2
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Carolina Hurricanes 2
Vancouver Canucks 5, Colorado Avalanche 1
3 things we learned
1. Anaheim just keeps on rolling
We all knew the Ducks weren't as bad as their early season indicated, but with five straight wins, Anaheim is now two points behind the Kings for the top spot in the Pacific. It's a far cry from the doom-and-gloom of October and much more in line with what many predicted at the start of the season. With their goaltending situation stable and their offense finally firing on all cylinders, the Ducks are one of the most deadly teams in the NHL, and they're coming for Los Angeles' previously thought untouchable lead in the Pacific.
#Ducks beat Calgary 5-2. Host #Sabres Wednesday on 19-4-2 outburst since Xmas and 5-game winning streak. Yowza.— Mike Harrington (@BNHarrington) February 22, 2016
2. Jimmy Howard is a fine goaltender, so stop worrying Detroit
Please stop worrying, Red Wings fans. There's nothing to be afraid of here. Jimmy Howard seems to be an extremely capable goaltender, even with a 1-0 overtime loss to the Rangers.
3. Lightning survive meeting with the Hurricanes
Tampa Bay grounded Carolina with two goals in the third period, one of which came from captain Steven Stamkos. Weather puns aside, the Lightning now have three straight wins and have tied the Boston Bruins with 70 points for second place in the Atlantic Division. Five points out of first place, they'll need Stamkos now more than ever. And with the threat of a potential trade off the table, the captain can go on to do just that.
Sidney Crosby flipped a man in the Penguins game against the Sabres and while people complained, Crosby most likely bent to avoid the potential check and accidentally delivered a highlight one of his own.
Sometimes when you try to hit Sidney Crosby, you get flipped... pic.twitter.com/4ioiunATZE— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 21, 2016
MOST SHUTOUTS, ACTIVE GOALTENDERS:— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 22, 2016
72 – Luongo (FLA)
59 – @HLundqvist30 (@NYRangers)
42 – Fleury (PIT)#DETvsNYR pic.twitter.com/c1Mj635OFF