The NHL announced today that the San Jose Sharks and the Los Angeles Kings will faceoff in an outdoor Stadium Series match on February 21 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. This confirms suspicions yesterday that Ticketmaster spoiled the announcement by accidentally posting information about the series.
This should be a good game after the brutal collapse of the Sharks in last year’s playoffs, when they lost to the Kings despite holding a 3-0 series lead. The NHL announcement points out that no two teams have played each other more since the start of the 2010-11 season than the Sharks and the Kings, which does help to make this an alluring outdoor match.
At the same time, Wild fans are waiting for their shot at an outdoor game.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman visited Minnesota in March to scout Target Field and TCF Stadium as possible outdoor game locations, but with the NHL likely to rein in the number of outdoor games from last year, it’s unclear if the Wild will get a shot at an outdoor game this season, despite late season speculation that this season was a possibility.
If the team continues to improve and the Stadium Series continues to be a success, you have to believe that they’ve got a good shot at hosting a game next season (if this season doesn’t happen), either against Chicago or Dallas. (Here’s a nice piece from Hockey Wilderness about the Stars as a possible opponent.) According to the reports from May, the Wild were pushing to get Chicago as an opponent and the NHL was pushing Dallas as their opponent.
At this point, the NHL has not yet made it clear how many Stadium Series games will be played in the 2014-15 season. (Though, my two cents of wild, unfounded speculation is that they’re calling it the Stadium Series again and one game does not constitute a series.)