2) First of all, the timing is horrible. New Years Day has always been a huge day for college football. Already the NHL is almost ignored by ESPN/the U.S. media. With this timing, you can pretty much be assured that it won’t get at most a passing glance on New Years Day. For your perusal here a list of the games planned for that day:
- Outback Bowl – 12:00 p.m. – ESPN
- Cotton Bowl – 12:30 p.m. – FOX
- Capital One Bowl –2:00 p.m.– ABC
- Gator Bowl – 2:00 p.m. – CBS
- Rose Bowl Bowl – 5:30 p.m. – ABC
- Sugar Bowl – 9:00 p.m. – FOX
3) This NHL’s version of the Ice Bowl set to take place at Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills, at 3:00 p.m. The rumor(not yet confirmed) is that the game would be carried live on NBC. With that timing of the game during the span of the game itself, you will have to be in competition with two games that will likely be just finishing up, two that just started and another that will just be starting when the hockey game will be finishing up. Who in heck planned this???
4) As for the placement of the game. Buffalo has shown itself to be a decent hockey town with it being in close proximity to hockey crazy southern Ontario to attract hockey fans from those locales, and fill up the estimated 60,000 seats. It is also not a far drive for Pittsburgh fans to make to Buffalo to see their Pens. However, given the unpredictability of the weather in Buffalo, it could be a huge problem. Known for localized snow bursts(or more) off Lake Erie, how would the league handle such a possibility? Have a snow delay? Is there a way to plough snow from an ice surface so play can be resumed, etc?
5) We realize scheduling any out door games has a whole set of unique issues that can arise, but having the game in Buffalo in early winter on a day that almost all of the U.S. will be watching college pig skin, seems to not be the best possible scenarios. What would/could be better?
- Montreal-Toronto: Played as a home and home, out-doors. Guaranteed to sell as many tickets as you can sell in both venues. Yes, it wouldn't get as much play down in the states, but the Buf-Pitt game won't be getting any exposure anyway.
- Rangers-Islanders in NYC (Yankee Stadium)- This has been floated, and probably has quite a few issues to be resolved before it could be a reality, but this would get exposure in the biggest American market, and have the rivalry like the above game to make for an intense game.
- Above all schedule the game(s) when the NHL would get maximum exposure. Geez, why not just have it set for SuperBowl Sunday at 6:00 p.m.?
6) The key therefore in our opinion is the timing of the game. New Years Day would probably NOT be our first choice. We understand the logistics of such an undertaking, but so should the powers that be in the league office. We hope that the weather is good, and that hard core hockey fans aren't too interested in any bowel games, and next time they have more time to get this arranged properly.