The NHL today took the drastic, shocking, and earth shattering step of canceling the most important game in league history, announcing that they canceled the 2013 Winter Classic. The game was supposed to be played at the Big House at the University of Michigan on New year's Day.
Actually, what the NHL did was cancel a January regular season game that saw two teams not even in the same conference, let alone division, that likely would have not even been much of contest to begin with. The fact that the game would have been played outside adds a bit of the "cool" factor, but in the end, it is one game, worth the normal two (or three) points.
This puts no pressure on either side to continue negotiating. It does nothing to further the current non-existent negotiations. It does not get the NHLPA and NHL back to the table, and it doesn't solve any of the issues that are the root cause of the lockout.
You want to know what it does? Absolutely nothing.
The Winter Classic is a farce, created to drum up excitement among non-hockey fans and hopefully create some new customers. It's a PR stunt that was successful, and has now become something that feels forced and fraudulent. I won't miss the game, because it's just another showcase for two teams that don't need anymore exposure.
The reaction to this announcement from fans? Mostly silence. You see, this was expected, and fans outside of Toronto and Detroit had absolutely no stake in the game being played anymore than any other regular season game between any two teams.
So, congrats to the NHL for sending up the specter of the fans losing out on something we supposedly cared about. The vast majority of your customers didn't give a damn if it was played or not, and are currently back to finding a bookie to buy a parlay board for the Father's Day Bowl brought to you by Trojan on New year's day and the other absurdities of the day that college football owns.
Anyone out there care this game was canceled? Bueller?