Astoria, NY – Under the heading of “things that are actually happening,” NHL fans can now add this: the New York Islanders will host the New York Rangers in an outdoor game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
The league office made it official yesterday, even though news had leaked last month that the NHL would be scheduling as many as six outdoor games next season as part of their Coors Light Stadium Series.
Ticket information will be made available shortly; the only guaranteed access to seats will be given to those who are Isles season ticket holders. Beyond that, it’s assumed that the game will be sold out soon after the tickets are offered to the general public.
The concept of multiple outdoor games next year is clearly an attempt by the league to capitalize on the success of recent Winter Classics. It’s a shameless money grab and a thinly veiled attempt to win back the fans – and potentially convert a few non-believers – after a lockout erased half of the current NHL season.
And even though the fans aren’t likely to forget the fact that the league and the players union couldn’t come to terms on a collective bargaining agreement until 40+ games were lost, the game at Yankee Stadium will be wildly successful.
But enough with the negative; let’s focus on the fact that the Islanders are finally gaining market share in the New York metro area. Their selection as one of the teams to play an outdoor game – in effect, that the NHL has deemed them “nationally viable” – is a sign that the franchise is heading in the right direction.
No longer playing second fiddle to the Rangers, the Isles have a chance to prove that they’ve arrived on the national stage. This time, it just so happens that their opportunity will be staged outdoors in January.
Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere
— NYIslanders (@NYIslanders) May 15, 2013
And there you have it: the official announcement of what NHL fans have known since approximately one month ago. Not exactly “BREAKING” news, but still. Grab your winter hats and ski gloves, Isles fans; it’s going to be a cold one in the Bronx.
— Rubber Puckie (@TealGiant777) May 16, 2013
With great power comes great responsibility. Or at least: with great publicity comes a greater fan base. At least one fan in Ireland is taking note of how well the Islanders played this season, battling the time zone difference to follow the team throughout the playoffs.
— Scott Schaedtler (@scottshad) May 16, 2013
I think Scott speaks for the rest of Isles Nation, here. If you haven’t voted for John Tavares to grace the cover of EA NHL 14, make it a priority. Of course, he’s already up for the Hart Trophy, but let’s make sure he’s the face of next season’s most popular hockey videogame to top it off.
Wow this blackhawk/wings crowd is lamely quiet for a playoff game. Shows you how great the #isles fanbase is!
— Karen(@NYIslesFanatic) May 16, 2013
Last night’s crowd at United Center was again a reminder of how loud a postseason atmosphere can truly be…in that by comparison, it placed a distant second to the fans who packed Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Once again, the crowd at the ‘Old Barn’ was held up as the model for what a playoff crowd should sound like. We here at EYES happen to agree with you, Karen.
Last Night In The NHL
Detroit Red Wings vs. Chicago Blackhawks (CHI 1-0)
The no. 1-seeded Chicago Blackhawks pulled away from the visiting Detroit Red Wings late and earned the victory in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal series.
In what was a close game until the third period, the Blackhawks scored three goals in the final frame en route to a comfortable 4-1 win. Detroit seemed to wear down as the game went on, perhaps owing to the aftereffects of their seven-game series win over the Anaheim Ducks in the first round. Excessive travel to- and from- the west coast appeared to play a role in the Wings’ loss.
Marian Hossa opened the scoring in the first period on a wicked one-timer from the high slot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead at 9:03. But the Red Wings, unfazed, tied the game two minutes later as Damien Brunner put home a rebound off of Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.
The second period saw both teams play good two-way hockey, but neither could get on the board. (And if not for several fantastic saves by Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, the Blackhawks likely would’ve put this game away earlier.)
Chicago finally broke through the Detroit defense twice in quick succession in the third period, as Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger capitalized on defensive breakdowns by the Wings to score the second and third goals for their team, respectively.
Patrick Sharp added an empty-netter in the game’s final minute to end the scoring. Game 2 will be played in Chicago on Saturday; the opening faceoff will be at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Red Wings vs. Blackhawks game highlights…
As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff, as we’re always happy to talk hockey.