Hope everyone caught the finale of 24/7 on HBO last night. In case you missed it, though, check out the video above for the opening sequence. Beautifully shot and edited, it shows the process of turning blank Winter Classic jerseys into what would identify every man on the ice.
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Part 2 of 2014 Winter Classic documentary airs tonight
Perhaps one of the best things about the NHL Winter Classic in the last few years is HBO's contribution. Their 24/7 camera crews are granted unlimited access and present the game in a way you've never seen before — unless you've played it professionally.
In last week's premiere episode, we got a quick glimpse at how well the Detroit Red Wings are treated while on the road. For example, every player received a specially made cookie with his name (and number) on it — literally! These jersey cookies were too cool not to share.
The second installment of the four-part series, 24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, airs tonight at 10 PM on HBO. This show alone is worth the subscription fee for any hockey fan.
Opponent, location and uniform designs still unknown
The Washington Capitals officially announced this morning that the American capital will play host to the NHL Winter Classic on Thu., Jan. 1, 2015. But that's about all they revealed.
Still unknown are the opponent, location and uniform designs for the game. But in the press release on their website, the Caps said that all of this will be announced "in the coming months."
Until then, there's only speculation. I know we started this a little yesterday, but now that it's official, who would you prefer to see the Capitals face and what jerseys should the teams be wearing?
The NHL held a press conference in New York today make the 2014 Stadium Series official. Four of next winter's six outdoor NHL games will be played under this banner, the centerpiece of which is a pair set for Yankee Stadium. The Rangers will face the Devils and the Islanders at the baseball venue.
As a reminder, here's schedule of games planned for the open air next season:
- Wed., Jan. 1 — WINTER CLASSIC: Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs, Michigan Stadium
- Sat., Jan. 25 — Kings vs. Ducks, Dodger Stadium
- Sun., Jan. 26 — Rangers vs. Devils, Yankee Stadium
- Wed., Jan. 29 — Rangers vs. Islanders, Yankee Stadium
- Sat., Mar. 1 — Blackhawks vs. Penguins, Soldier Field
- Sun., Mar. 2 — HERITAGE CLASSIC: Canucks vs. Senators, B.C. Place
It begins Jan. 1 with the yearly tradition of the Winter Classic — this one in Ann Arbor, Mich. — and culminates with the more infrequent Heritage Classic in Vancouver. In between, we get four more games called the Stadium Series. That's it in a nutshell.
But no big event goes unbranded in the sports world these days. That is to say we'll have no shortage of logos and special uniforms for these six match-ups. While we'll have to wait to see what the sweaters will look like, the logos are already here.
First, there are the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic logos — which have their own distinct styles. Then, the three Stadium Series games, which are all the same and generic but for the city name.
The version shown at the top of this post features all three cities and I assume is used when discussing the Stadium Series in general as opposed to any individual game. There's also a version that includes the sponsor, Coors Light. But the logo patches that will be used on the jerseys will probably not include the sponsor — just like the Winter Classic and Heritage Classic.
The jerseys remain the only question mark. We got the Winter Classic jerseys (officially) back in April. But there are nine other teams I expect to see something new from. Garth Snow has already said a special uniform is in the pipeline for the Isles. Probably the same story for all teams involved.
Could it be true? Is the NHL really considering six different outdoor games in the span of two months? It would be a heck of a way to ring in the new year. And ESPN says it's in the works.
The network reported yesterday that a series of outdoor games will take place beginning with the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 and wrapping up with the Heritage Classic on Mar. 2. And the official announcement could come in the next couple of weeks. Here's what ESPN is reporting.
Jan. 1: Maple Leafs at Red Wings (Michigan Stadium)
This one is official. The NHL announced it on April 7. We've even seen the jerseys and everything. The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium — "The Big House" — in Ann Arbor, Mich. on New Year's Day.
Jan. 25: Ducks at Kings (Dodger Stadium)
Three weeks later, it's the most surprising outdoor game of the series. The Los Angeles Kings will apparently host the Anaheim Ducks at Dodger Stadium. A sheet of outdoor ice in southern California is a novelty, but it's doable. I believe the Rangers and Kings once played outdoors in Las Vegas.
Jan. 26: Rangers at Devils (Yankee Stadium)
A day later on the other side of the continent, the New York Rangers would play in their first of two games at Yankee Stadium — this one against the New Jersey Devils. But ESPN reports that for both games, oddly, the Rangers would play the visiting team. Not sure why that would be.
Jan. 29: Rangers at Islanders (Yankee Stadium)
In the same week, the Rangers would square off against the New York Islanders in the elements. It's likely the NHL would be looking to capitalize on the media attention given to the Super Bowl — which in 2014 takes place at MetLife Stadium in nearby New Jersey. I think this would get the job done.
Mar. 1: Penguins at Blackhawks (Soldier Field)
The next game would be more than a month later and be the first cross-conference match-up of the outdoor series. The Chicago Blackhawks would host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field as part of Hockey Weekend in America. It would be the Penguins' third appearance in an outdoor NHL game.
Mar. 2: Senators at Canucks (B.C. Place)
Finally, the series would wrap up the following day back on the west coast with the Vancouver Canucks hosting the Ottawa Senators for the third Heritage Classic at B.C. Place — just across the street from Rogers Arena. The previous two have each featured the Montreal Canadiens taking on the Edmonton Oilers (2003) and Calgary Flames (2011) with both games being staged in Alberta.
Both of these teams already have "heritage" jerseys too — the Sens' black "O" sweater and the Canucks just debuted their Millionaires jersey last month. One of the teams would have to introduce a white version though, because black and maroon wouldn't quite work together the way blue and red will for the Jan. 1 game.
Does this mean 11 new sweaters?
I doubt we'd see special uniforms for all six games, but if the NHL is looking to make each one as special as the Winter and Heritage Classics of past years, it might be necessary. I could see Anaheim sporting Mighty Ducks colors and the Kings in their Gretzky-era threads.
What about the Rangers? They already have two throwbacks — their dark blue third and the "vintage white" jersey they wore for the 2012 Winter Classic in Philadelphia. Should they try to come up with an alternative for their games against the Devils and Islanders.
And speaking of which, the Devils already have a retro sweater — the green and red one they've worn around St. Patrick's Day in recent seasons. The Islanders? Well they're already wear throwbacks night in and night out. The only other option they have is the fisherman. And there's no way that happens.
What's left is Pittsburgh and Chicago. Both of these teams still have huge collections of past jersey designs to choose from. I know most Penguins fans will push for the early '90s Cup-era design of black and yellow. It makes sense now why they wouldn't introduce a third jersey next year — as has been reported. They'd probably just do a special outdoor jersey that could be adopted as a third in 2014.
For the Blackhawks, there are a lot of choices. Maybe something in black and white from the early, early days of their existence? All I know is there is a lot of money to be made with all of these potential jerseys. And a lot of news to cover here on Icethetics should that happen.
I'll keep an eye on it, but for now, of course, even these games are all still speculation.