Reports have the NHL expanding its slate of outdoor games to 6 next year, starting with the Wings-Leafs Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, then followed up by:
Anaheim vs. Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium in January 25, 2014
New York Rangers vs. New Jersey at Yankee Stadium on January 26th
New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders at Yankee Stadium on January 29th
Penguins vs. Blackhawks at Soldier Field on March 1st
Ottawa vs. Vancouver at B.C. Place in Vancouver on March 2nd
There is no doubt that the Pens playing the Blackhawks outside in Chicago will be an awesome event. We're excited about it. But you know what would get us just as excited? A regular season, indoor game between the Pens and the Blackhawks.
Sidney Crosby has played 2 career games against the Blackhawks. Evgeni Malkin has played 4 games against them. Injuries have contributed to this, but it's not hard to argue that not having any semblance of a Crosby/Malkin vs. Toews/Kane rivalry is the biggest missed opportunity in the entire league. The best thing to come from realignment next season is a guaranteed two games against each Western Conference team.
But maybe -- hopefully -- this resolves itself sooner than next season.