You know, I was just thinking about how the NHL hit an outdoor game sweet spot with the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night when Coors Field turned into a snow globe.
Coors Rink has turned in to a snow globe with fake snow everywhere. The NHL must be in panic mode #9NEWS #9sports pic.twitter.com/cfZiRizdcx— Reno Boyd (@Reno_Boyd) February 28, 2016
Maybe fake snow in (near) March in the windy Rockies was a mistake. But everything else about these Stadium Series events aren't.
Sure, the Minnesota Wild-Chicago Blackhawks game at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis came and went without much fanfare. But the alumni game at least gained some momentum for the series as a whole. And the alumni game between the Red Wings and Avalanche on Friday grabbed headlines for the classic names coming back to celebrate a classic rivalry. Sakic. Yzerman. Forsberg. Roy.
It's a fantastic way to inject life into an event that has grown stale thanks to the NHL's overexposure of a good thing over the last few years. And somehow highlighting classic rivalries injects life into the present-day outdoor matchups when the rivalries have gone extinct. The Avalanche and Red Wings truly put on a fun show on Saturday night despite the heavy winds and higher temperatures.
For fans of the sport and the league, it's good to see the NHL nail something like this after a year full of PR disasters.
Blue Jackets 4, Panthers 3 (SO)
Canadiens 4, Maple Leafs 1
Red Wings 5, Avalanche 3
* * *
Get the biggest NHL news, rumors and analysis in your inbox every morning!
* * *
3 things we learned
1. The Dallas Stars have a serious defensive problem
The second-best team in the Western Conference (sorry, not up to the Blackhawks' level yet) has been leaking goals for a while now, but now it's starting to look like a legitimate mental complex or something. Dallas' potent offense terrorized the Rangers into giving up a tying goal late in the third period on Saturday, but then the Stars gave the lead (and thus, the game) right back just a minute later. The Stars' third pairing of Jordie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak/Patrik Nemeth has been a weak link all season, and the top two pairs (and goaltending, honestly) have shown cracks as the season wears on. Fan confidence in the club's ability to contend in the playoffs this year wanes by the day. I wonder if the same feelings echo in the locker room.
2. The trade action overshadowed the on-ice action
We were supposed to be able to get our weekend hockey out of the way before the chaos of the trade deadline on Monday. Nobody sent that memo to the NHL's GMs. Seven trades went down on Saturday, and many of the deadline's anticipated big names were involved. Justin Schultz went to Pittsburgh. James Reimer went to San Jose. Anders Nilsson went to the Blues. And Jiri Hudler, Teddy Purcell and Jakub Kindl all went to Florida in the busiest 45 minutes of the day.
3. Puck eye patches are in style this year
And Dan Girardi is leading the trend.
Filip Forsberg is the hottest player in the NHL, scoring his second natural hat trick in three games yesterday.
Per @EliasSports: Forsberg (@PredsNHL) is 1st to post multiple natural hat tricks in 3 or less team GP since 1986-87 pic.twitter.com/0NmymEqVNd— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) February 27, 2016