Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's Coming...

The Chicago Blackhawks have to hope they fare better outdoors against the Detroit Red Wings than they're doing indoors.

The Wings made it 3-for-3 against Chicago this season with a 4-0 victory over the Hawks at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night — the opener of a home-and-home series that concludes on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field with the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. The loss snapped the Hawks' franchise-record winning streak at nine games and ended their 11-game streak with at least one point in regulation.

It was the second time in less than two weeks that
Detroit shut out a red-hot team. The Red Wings and Conklin defeated the San Jose Sharks , who have the NHL's best record, 6-0 at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 18.
Well… there’s good news and bad news lurking in the blurb above. The good news (for Wings fans) is Detroit continues to win against the league’s hottest teams, and win decisively. The bad news? It’s a bit of stretch to think the Wings will make it four in a row over Chicago… but it ain’t beyond the pale.
Tomorrow’s game actually counts for something beyond spectacle:
Beyond the excitement generated by the Winter Classic, this home-and-home set between the two clubs is very significant in the standings. Detroit currently leads the Central Division by four points (ed: that would be six points now) over the Blackhawks. "We’ve come a long way, but we still want to catch the Wings," Sharp said. "It’s going to take a big effort these next two games."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville admitted the club’s goals have been altered as the season progresses. "We’ve been chasing them," Quenneville said. "We’ve been in a different pack all season long, but now we’ve positioned ourselves in a different place. Both are meaningful games and there’s a lot of excitement around here. Our mindset is to be one of the eight. That’s our objective - to be a playoff team. There’s about 13 teams fighting for the last six spots, so we wanted to get ourselves ahead of that race. Maybe now we’re pushing ahead and can strive for a higher goal."
On the Detroit side, the Wings also recognize how essential these two games will be in the overall picture. "It’s a really important two games and it’s going to be fun," Detroit defenceman Andreas Lilja said. "They are playing the best hockey they’ve ever played. I’m looking forward to two really hard games."
Babcock is impressed by what he’s seen from Chicago. "You watch the last two games in particular and they’ve dominated," he said, adding he’s thrilled to be part of a reborn Detroit-Chicago rivalry. "It’s great that it’s back. I thought it got going last year when they beat us quite frequently early in the year. Things have really picked up for their franchise, both on and off the ice. It’s one of those franchises in the league like Toronto, like Montreal, like Detroit, obviously, like New York (Rangers) and like Boston, that you want to be doing really good, because it makes your league better."
Tomorrow… 1300 hrs EST, on NBC… in HD. Be there. Or be square.


  1. Great minds blog alike, my brother.

  2. By the way, that last bit by Babcock at the end is the big "it" for me all over again. That is hockey class all the way - rooting for the league, and recognizing that it is bigger than any one team.

    I hate Detroit - they're too professional for me to hate them.

  3. Ya know... I'm glad we found each other, Andy. I've been standing in front of the empty barn shouting at the owls as far as hockey posts go. Up until you and Michelle came along NO one gave a big rat's ass about my hockey posts. But... I never let that lil thing stop me from posting, LOL!

    It's REALLY nice to have at least two readers who care. (insert wry grin here)

    On "it"... I couldn't agree more. Hockey just OOZES class.

  4. Addendum: SN1 cares, of course. I shouldn't take him for granted. ;-)

  5. Agreed, Buck. It's nice to find another fan. And Michelle - a GIRL!!! I know they're out there, but girl hockey fans seem somewhat hard to come by. Great to have her on board!

  6. Enjoy the weather and Cigars...GO Flyers!


  7. Pat: Same to ya, Bud! Enjoy your trip...

    Andy: re: Girl fans. It was a woman who took me to my very first hockey game... in Tokyo in 1977 or thereabouts. I was spending time with a DoD school teacher from Wisconsin at that time, and the World "B" Championships (the old org) were played in Tokyo that year. Having grown up in Wisconsin, and having played hockey in high school and college, she was flabbergasted I'd never seen a game before. "We'll fix THAT!" said she... and we attended a couple of three games in the tournament. I was simply blown away. I'd never seen such speed and grace in ANY sport before...

    And thus a hockey fan was born. I owe that girl, Big Time.

  8. Man, I love the outdoor game. It brings back my own playing days, albeit minus thousands of screaming fans, of course.

    By the way... Bruins! Boston will be going hockey mad any moment now, since the Patriots have finished.

  9. And you're a gentleman for NOT pointing out the Bees beat the tar out of the Wings recently, Jim.

    I've been watching them (the Bruins) with interest this year. I think they'll go far in the playoffs this year... maybe even all the way to The Big Dance in June!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.