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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

Kris Versteeg Out Around A Month After Taking A Shot To The Hand Area

 

If you scroll to the 18:20 mark of the Winter Classic highlights below, you can see Versteeg take a shot to the hand area...

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Open Post- 2015 Winter Classic, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals

Watching the game?  Feel free to leave a comment on it or anything hockey related.

The latest reports say the game will start on time, which is probably around 1:15pm ET.

In case you are looking for the game on you TV guide, the game is on NBC in the US and CBC and TVA in Canada.

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A Different Feel To The Outdoor Games

from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,

For all the unfamiliar blanketing the Capitals – the pregame bus ride to a home game, the scores of family members in town during the regular season, even the relative hype surrounding a matchup with a Western Conference opponent – the players must also handle the unique experience of playing outdoors.

Rather than pressed against the boards, slamming them after every hit, fans sit hundreds of feet away. The distance causes their sound to travel in ways foreign to the skaters. Score a goal, wait a second, then hear the roar.

“It’s almost like a wave coming in,” said the Rangers’ Carl Hagelin, who’s played in five outdoor games since he was 18 – two in college and three in the NHL.

“Out in the middle of nowhere,” is how the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Matt Carle described it, because even inside a stadium stuffed with far more people than Verizon Center can hold, the ice is often silent. The glass blocks out any sound the wind didn’t already carry away.

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Be Like The Blackhawks

from Corey Masisak of NHL.com,

When the Chicago Blackhawks were ascending to the top of the NHL, they had a franchise to measure themselves against, to model their progress after.

That franchise was the Detroit Red Wings, which was the elite organization in the League for a long time. Whether it was on-ice success or a wealth of intangible measures, the Blackhawks wanted what the Red Wings had.

It wasn't really until Chicago beat Detroit in the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs and won a second title that the little brother-big brother dynamic disappeared from that rivalry.

After two championships and four trips to the Western Conference Final in six seasons, the Blackhawks, along with the Los Angeles Kings, have become a franchise others measure themselves against. The Blackhawks will meet one of those teams Thursday in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park.

"I think the Blackhawks are probably the gold standard right now in the National Hockey League with success on the ice and success off the ice, having a strong following," Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

continued

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Remembering Clint Reif

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

Hushed voices. Tear-filled eyes. Hoarse throats.

The Chicago Blackhawks are still struggling to put words to the enormous amount of grief they’ve experienced in the wake of Clint Reif’s death, but there’s an undeniable feeling of loss around the team right now.

A walk inside the visiting locker room at Nationals Park takes you past a stall carrying the name of the equipment manager who was found dead on Dec. 21 at age 34. The makeshift memorial was completely game-ready on Wednesday afternoon with one of the team’s white Winter Classic sweaters hanging in it and a pair of socks neatly folded below.

There will also be “CR” stickers on the back of the helmets worn by both the Blackhawks and Washington Capitals during Thursday’s game — reminders of a man whose presence will be greatly missed at the NHL’s signature event.

“He passed away, but it’s not like we’re going to forget about him,” said Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.

continued

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  Tags: clint+reif

“Not Just Another Outdoor Hockey Game”

from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,

This is not just another outdoor hockey game. Not to Washington. Not to the Capitals. Not to Brooks Laich.

Not long ago, the Capitals ranked near the bottom of the NHL in record and attendance. The players would joke they had an “S.O.S.” – a “sold-out section.”

“I remember my first couple years,” said Laich, whose first full seasons were 2005-06 and ’06-07. “You almost couldn’t give your tickets away. People were like, ‘Oh, hockey? No, it’s OK. I’m not interested.’ ”

Thanks to superstar Alex Ovechkin and a high-flying offense, the Capitals changed that. By 2009-10, they won the Presidents’ Trophy as the NHL’s top regular-season team, and they had a new kind of “S.O.S.” – a “sold-out season.” They had 100-percent capacity.

continued

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In-Depth Coverage Leading Up To The Winter Classic

NEW YORK (December 29, 3014) – NHL Network™, NHL.com and NHL Social’s™ programming plans for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, the outdoor game between the Chicago Blackhawks® and the Washington Capitals® at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 1 (1 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, TVA) will be filled with several days of exciting, in-depth coverage and activation across the National Hockey League’s media platforms.

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The Winter Classic Is Just Around The Corner

from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,

For the first time, the crown jewel of the regular season isn't a matchup of long-time rivals. And it's at seven-year-old Nationals Park, not a historic stadium that attracts extra attention.

"I'm sure if you ask the Washington Capitals, there's probably more of a buzz there because it's in Washington and not in Chicago," Blackhawks defenceman Brent Seabrook told the Chicago Sun-Times. "All the fanfare around it, we don't get to see that here."

This will be the eighth Winter Classic since the tradition began in Buffalo in 2008. According to NBC play-by-play broadcaster Mike Emrick, there have been 110 outdoor games since at various levels and in many countries, from Mexico to Russia.

This one is a chance for the NHL to shine the spotlight on Alex Ovechkin and the city of Washington, which has experienced a rejuvenation as a hockey town with the "Rock the Red" era Capitals, who have made the playoffs in seven of the past eight years.

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The Improved Defensive Game Of The Chicago Blackhawks

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

Through 35 games, the Hawks have allowed an average of 2.03 goals per game, best in the league and way down from last year’s middling 2.6. If the last month or so has started to feel a lot like the Hawks’ Stanley Cup season of 2013, there’s a good reason. They led the league that season, too, winning the Jennings Trophy by surrendering an average of 2.02 goals per game.

Perhaps most impressive is how the Hawks have been able to shut down opponents who are chasing the lead and taking more chances offensively. The Hawks have given up a mere 21 goals in 35 third periods, again the best in the league. In 2013, they gave up just 35 in 48 games, third-best.

“I think it’s comparable to that year, for sure,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “We’re just comfortable out there, playing in our own end when the teams are pressuring. We trust the system that we’re playing and that the coaches want us to play. Everybody in here takes pride on not being scored on.”

The Hawks have been so effective defensively, it hasn’t much mattered who’s been in goal, even when Crawford was twice injured. Crawford, Antti Raanta and rookie Scott Darling all have posted eye-popping numbers.

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Stream- Road To The Winter Classic, Episode 2

Follow the Hawks and Caps through the regular season as they get ready to face off in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic outdoor game.

Watch below, scheduled to start at 10:00pm ET.

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

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