Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Darren Pang at PhoenixCoyotes.com,
Several years back, I was up in the scoreboard and my duty was to change the score as the Cubs were struggling. I had to place the old tin numbers in the right spot. It was hot and muggy. It was so cool to be up there. What an experience that was.
On Jan. 1, I will see the first NHL game played at Wrigley and I can’t wait. No need for anyone up in that old scoreboard.
The Wings vs. the Hawks. The defending Champs vs. the Contender, a real legitimate contender.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg against Kane and Toews.
Outdoors. Let the temperature drop and let the game begin!
from SnapShots at Mlive,
I can only promise you two things over the next 72-or-so hours:
1. I can’t say that I’ll find every mainstream media story written about the Winter Classic II, but I’ll sure as hell try.
2. This ain’t no stinking commercial for the Chicago Blackhawks. The NHL and the Blackhawks clearly planned on “selling” the game as a statement for the resurgence of the Hawks’ franchise, and Burnside’s interview with Hawks president John McDonough and the Blackhawks website’s coverage of the preparations (including the “de-stressing” of Wrigley’s ice) indicate as much.
A clip from NBC Chicago captures an unnamed NHL employee describing the game at hand thusly: “This year we’ve got the resurgent Hawks, which are just a fantastic story…In the world of sports, for that matter, and they’re playing their arch rival, the defending Stanley Cup champions, and it’s really shaping up to be a fierce, fierce day of hockey.”
Note that the Red Wings weren’t even mentioned by name. That’s how it’s shaping up.
from the CP via TSN,
The challenge for Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities operations manager in charge of putting down the rink and creating the ice, is to make sure the playing surface at the home of the Chicago Cubs is of NHL-calibre.
‘‘What they’re going to feel underneath their feet skating will be as close to what they have for an NHL facility and that’s going to depend on the day outside,’’ Craig said….
‘We’re hoping for (-3 C) weather and then our machines just sit there in cruise because the temperature we want on the surface is (-6 C),’’ Craig said.
Inclement weather is a test for both the players and the ice. And it was a factor in last year’s game when it snowed during the game between the Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins.
Remember you can watch as Wrigley Field gets transformed into a hockey rink. The lines are painted and the Winter Classic logo is in place at center ice.
from Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com,
If you’re the 0-for-‘08 Detroit Lions, there’s hope.
The galactically dysfunctional New York Knicks and Dallas Cowboys? There’s hope….
That’s because the perennially worst franchise in sports has performed reconstructive cosmetic surgery on itself—and it worked! Any prettier and the Chicago Blackhawks would have their own modeling deal.
You can hardly recognize the Hawks these days. They’re winning (nine in a row going into Tuesday night’s game against Stanley Cup champion Detroit). They’re compelling. They’re as cool as a fresh sheet of ice. And if they can do it, then any franchise can.
added 4:45pm, For those few Detroit Lions fans, you may want to take a look at long time Lions beatwrter Mike Ohara’s new blog.
from Tim Sassone of the Chicago Daily-Herald,
The Hawks set a record for the 82-year-old franchise Sunday night with their ninth consecutive victory, a tidy 4-1 decision over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
“I kind of feel like the Boston Celtics a little,” captain Jonathan Toews said.
It might be more appropriate for the Hawks to feel like the Detroit Red Wings, whom they now trail by only 4 points in the Central Division.
Next up: back-to-back games with the defending Stanley Cup champs, including Thursday’s Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.
“I think we can win every night,” said Dustin Byfuglien, whose 2 first-period goals got the Hawks off to a fast start. “We’ve got the group of guys and the work ethic to go out and beat any team we want to beat.”
If you hurry, you can watch the Winter Classic ice crew painting the ice at Wrigley. White is going down now and next would be the ice markings, including blueline, redline, etc.
from Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune,
Preparations for the final touches of the Winter Classic hockey rink were put on hold Saturday because of heavy rain, high wind and a tornado watch in Cook County.
In a matter of a few days, Wrigley Field went from sub-zero to semi-tropical, relatively speaking, forcing a brief delay in the painting of the ice surface. But an NHL spokesman said the ice should be painted Sunday, when the temperature is expected to drop from the upper 50s to the low 30s, and the rain is expected to subside.
“We’ll go out there with the Zamboni and give it a nice little shave, be ready to paint it white [Sunday] morning,” said Dan Craig, the NHL’s facilities/operations manager. “Everything is on schedule from our side, and we’re ready to go.”
from Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune,
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like the buildup for the Winter Classic, the outdoor game between the Hawks and the Red Wings to be played on New Year’s Day. I understand the goose-bump factor here: It’s very cool for an NHL game to be played in the elements and even cooler for it to be played in one of the cathedrals of baseball.
But, my goodness. You would think the pope were coming to Wrigley to announce his conversion to Scientology.
from Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune
, It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to erase any fear they would lose momentum during their Christmas break.
The Hawks picked up right where they left off as they scored 1 minute 13 seconds into Friday night’s 5-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers before a franchise-regular-season-record crowd of 22,712 at the United Center.
The crowd eclipsed the previous regular-season mark of 22,690 on Oct. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings.
The victory extended the Hawks’ winning streak to a club-record-tying eight games, matching the mark set during the 1971 season and again in ‘81. Their fifth victory in a row at home extended the Hawks’ points streak to 10 games (9-0-1).
continue for a game recap…
from Len Ziehm of the Chicago Sun-Times,
With an 18-6-7 record, the Hawks aren’t just playoff contenders—they’re championship contenders. Defenseman James Wisniewski doesn’t think it’s too early to think that way.
‘‘We’re 31 games into the season now,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s not like we played eight games and started 6-1-1. You look at some of the games we lost. We lost five in shootouts; if we won those, we’d be five points better and right there with [defending Stanley Cup champion] Detroit.’‘
Just making the playoffs would be a big improvement, given that the Hawks haven’t experienced postseason play since the 2001-02 season, but winning the Stanley Cup remains their goal.
‘‘I don’t think it’s too big a goal,’’ Wisniewski said. ‘‘I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if we bear down in a couple games and shut down San Jose and Detroit, we’re right up there at No. 1 in the [Western Conference].’‘
more on the Blackhawks…
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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