Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hawks and Wings throwin' it back (maybe)

The Chicago Tribune has reported that the Chicago Blackhawks will faceoff against the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL's next outdoor game. The game is said to be set at the hallowed Wrigley Field. One of professional sports' gems when speaking of ball parks.

While yes this has probably been one of the NHL's worst kept secrets over the past few months. It really has something special to it. I'm not in any way criticizing last years game because it really was an amazing spectacle to watch even through all the delays to fix the ice, I enjoyed just watching how good of a time the fans there were having. But with that said, I really pondered the choice of teams. I know Pittsburgh has Sidney Crosby and Buffalo is a really great American hockey city, I just feel they could have chosen a better match-up then the two that participated, something with more of a rivalry maybe. I have to add that I absolutely loved backup goalie Danny Sabourin's Pads. For those of you that don't remember or didn't notice since he was on the bench, he fashioned the old school brown, cooper style pads straight out of the 80's. Classic!

So let's get to this years supposed match-up. While the Blackhawks and Red Wings have had a very storied rivalry and with both being original six teams I really do think this years will be very good. Last season we all seen the beginning of what most hockey folk think is the new age of the Hawks. They did very well against the Wings last year, arguably better then any other team did even in the playoffs. I also expect to see the two teams wearing throwback jersey's. I know neither of these teams jersey's have really changed all the much over the years, but there has been some rumors from various sites and even retail stores getting order sheets for new third jerseys and throwbacks for next season, so i expect both the Hawks and Wings will be in on this. Not to mention that both Pittsburgh and Buffalo sported them in last seasons contest.

There is also always going to be an argument about whether or not the NHL is making the right decision about having an outdoor game every season. It still has never been confirmed they will indeed have one every year, but when you have a chance at doing something different like this why not do it. Personally, I can't see a fan tiring of them if they never get tired of watching regular indoor games. No other professional sporting leagues do anything like this at all, mind you Basketball may be the only other league that may be able to switch it up with an outdoor game, the NHL is the best fit for this type of thing.

As for Wrigley itself, well what can one say about one of the most popular sports venues in North America other then it being the perfect choice. Some may say the Soldier Field would have been better but I do believe that Wrigley is the perfect fit mostly since the winds don't hit it as hard as they do over Soldier Field, Which will obviously help the ice conditions tremendously. The "friendly confines" was built in 1914 and became the home for the cubs in 1916, Wrigley also housed the Bears from 1920-1970. Hall of Famer Ernie Banks gave Wrigley it's nickname "the Friendly Confines" and although it is the fourth smallest ball park in the MLB it is the second oldest active park sitting second to only Fenway park. Currently it has a capacity of 41,118, that number may be higher for this game since there will most likely be some seating at ground level.

All in all this is going to be another great NHL product in an amazing town that is known as a great sports city. Hockey once again is on the rise in Chicago and this could very well mark the official return of the Blackhawks-Red Wings rivalry, as it seems the hawks are determined to be the new team to beat in a division that has long been ruled by the mighty Red Wings.

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