DENVER -- Does the deputy commissioner of the NHL worry about outdoor game fatigue? Maybe just a little, although Bill Daly thinks the league has hit a comfort zone with the number of games currently being played outdoors.
This year, there were three outdoor games: the Winter Classic in Boston, and Stadium Series games in Minnesota and Denver.
"It's a little bit different next year because it's our centennial season starting [in] 2017, so we’ll see what next year has to offer, but I don’t think you want to do too many of these games,” Daly told reporters Saturday night at Coors Field in Denver, where the Colorado Avalanche played host to the Detroit Red Wings.
"First of all, our events staff can’t do too many of these games. It’s going to almost physically kill them if we do any more than we’re doing now,” Daly said. “But I think we’re at the right number. A couple of outdoor games a year and I think particularly in the middle of our schedule it creates event points for people to embrace the game."
Although no announcement has been made regarding next year’s Winter Classic, St. Louis appears to be the odds-on favorite to host the event with the Chicago Blackhawks as the visiting team at Busch Stadium. Since Jan. 1, 2017, falls on a Sunday, look for the NHL to play the game a day later on Jan. 2, to avoid going up against the NFL. The NHL did exactly that in 2012, when the Winter Classic in Philadelphia was played on Jan. 2 instead of Jan. 1.