Fuck the Winter Classic.
First, let's admit what the Winter Classic is. It's a giant publicity stunt for the NHL. It's not a way to celebrate the roots of the game, it's a way to trick Americans into watching hockey on Bowl day. That being said, is an outdoor game the best way to win over the Neilsons?
I remember back in 1991, Gretzky and the Kings took on the Blue shirts outside at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas. It was 80 something degrees, and all the fans were in shorts, and drunk, and it was awesome. Now, tell me, almost 20 years later, imagine the crazyness the City of Vegas could roll out if that was to happen again. You could close down part of the strip and do it there. Imagine Showcasing Crosby and Stamkos during a night game under the lights? That would be sick. I was there for the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2007, and you would think that it was the World Cup the way the city bent over for that game. You want attention? Las Vegas brings it.
But that not the only way to get it, what if you had a game on the ice at Rockefeller Center in NYC? Or in Central Park? Or Listel? What about having a day where every team plays each other in a non NHL market? You think that might make the Sports Center?
Basically, the outdoor games in front of 70,000 people in the dead of winter are great, but they are preaching to the choir. If you want to expose the game, then expos the game. It doesn't take a genius.