NHL Winter Classic, Olde Tyme Hockey and Doc Emrick Replacing Bowl Games?

Winter Classic Wings fan NORTH SALEM, NYNew Year’s Day used to be reserved for a steady diet of college football Bowl games and the their associated gambling. But since some genius in a suit decided to space out the marquee Bowl games over the span of a week, a new king of sports – with it’s own heavily marketed platform – now comes in like Baby New Year and is called the NHL Winter Classic.

The event is now six years old and reached new heights as almost 106 thousand people filled a venue built, coincidentally, for college football.  The University of Michigan’s “Big House” hosted this border war between Original Six franchises, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. If spectators enjoy football in the snow, why should outdoor hockey be any different? Television and other media ratings proved our romanticism with sports – even a niche one – played in adverse conditions of snow, single digits, and sub-zero wind chill numbers.

winter classic

Olde Tyme Hockey becomes meshed with The Classic, as the forgoing of revenue-generating third logos for a slight yellowing of white stripes, adds a “Toast of Yore” to the uniforms.  The sweater homage pre-dates the rookie years of Gordie Howe and Alex Delvecchio for the Wings and “Bashin Bill” Barilko for the Leafs, with a young Stan Fischler (who is 81!) covering them for local newspapers.

Play mimicked a bygone era as the weather and ice conditions made modern tape-to-tape, rink-wide passes impossible.  Players adapted by keeping the puck on their stick or opting for ten-foot passes in the attacking zone.  “Dump and chase” tactics were equaled by “crashing the net” to create scoring opportunities, making hockey historians smile north and south of the Canadian border.  Nothing says olde tyme hockey like the cross-check to the jaw. as perpetrated by Joffrey Lupul (Leafs) on Patrick Eaves. That left Toronto shorthanded for two minutes; the latter with a jaw that had to be reset (ouch), and the former $10K lighter in the wallet.

winter classic fans Meet_The_MattsHolding court over the play-by-play was the best in the business, who now only works an abbreviated schedule of games as opposed to his old break neck employment, Doc Emrick.  The former voice of the Flyers and Devils understands the place of motion picture Slapshot in the hearts of hockey diehards and finds new ways to reference the best movie in cinematic history.  To paraphrase, Emrick noted of the 500,000 living Michigan alumni, one is Strother Martin – or better known in the hockey world as the fictitious Charlestown Chiefs GM Joe McGrath.  Gold, Doc.  Pure gold…  There was also the frozen marble inside the whistle of head referee that had to be “warmed” by rink side color analyst Pierre McGuire after the first muted attempt of said whistle.

In all the sights and sounds of the NHL Winter Classic, part of me has reservations about expanding this spectacle into the Stadium Series.  Hey NHL, learn from the NCAA: keep things relegated to New Year’s Day.

DJ Eberle, whose NFL picks from yesterday and today can be seen by clicking this, tomorrow.

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About Cheesy Bruin 491 Articles
A man amongst men. Cheesy Bruin kicked cancer to the curb - twice. The Cheese Man's a big, tough teddy-bear who survived the Bronx despite being an unabashed Boston Bruins fan and Sargent-At-Arms for Angry Ward's Urban Spur Posse. Nuff said. Doctors have taken most of this throat and had to make him a new tongue from thigh-meat (his own) and still he won't shut up about the Bruins, Cowboys, Pirates and Cleveland Cavaliers. And yes, his kids do love him.


  1. All this outdoor hockey talk warms my heart! Nice win for the Rangers in Toronto, by the way.

  2. That was actually a nice NHL article to read before June but where the heck were your picks for the NFL playoffs.
    Chargers need a miracle on turf to upset Cincy at home (8-0) but maybe I’ll get a wish granted by the Great Sky Wizard. It all comes down to Dalton and if he screws up.
    Frisco @ Green Bay—-surprise, I’m rooting for Green Bay just because Harbaugh is a great big ___________.(fill in the blank)
    On opening playoff weekend the Book of Yim demands everyone try to eat more food and drink more beer than the day before.

    • Andy Dalton often looks more like David Klingler than Boomer Esiason or Ken Anderson. If he’s on with his throws, the home team should squeak by… But Philip Rivers is sensing this may be his last shot, so don’t be alarmed if the Bolts shock. (See what we did there?)

      • I lost 40 lbs in 2012 actually using McDonald’s to control calorie count. In Florida, I would have only a McChicken sandwich/small soda for dinner every other day.Did this for a few months and walked as much as I could. Nothing like a dinner for $2.12
        Alas the car crash last year had me on the couch and all the weight came back. Basically it’s eat less and exercise more–never fails!
        Time for some breakfast sausages as I await the 1 pm game….GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Chargers!

  3. The Packers rely on fans coming to the field to shovel snow away otherwise it would be too expensive to keep the team there. They don’t get paid… it’s one of the coolest things in sports. I doubt the people of San Francisco would do the same thing.

  4. The problem with the NFL is that we watched part of the Green Bay/Frisco game, rode bicycles down to Chelsea Piers, played ice hockey, showered, rode bikes back to MTM HQ and there is still six and a half minutes left in the game!

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