Friday, January 2, 2009


I was looking forward to a good game between my Red Wings and Blackhawks, and I certainly wasn't disappointed with the outcome. The crowd, the venue, the weather was all good. The players seemed ready to play... at least Chicago looked ready.

In the first period, Chicago came out with spark and fire, and Versteeg quickly put one behind Conklin on the power play, who I thought may have been picking daisies out in the outfield. It was a power play goal, so Conks is forgiven for now. The Wings would quickly tie it up with their own power play goal, but Versteeg on another Blackhawk power play would slide a beautiful pass from behind the net to a driving Havlat who put it top left corner. Not much chance for Conklin on that one, but I was starting to wonder if the Wings were going to get the cement out of their skates. No such luck as later in the period Early would shake off Lilja behind the net, reverse direction and wrap it around front. It was a pretty, pretty goal. Conklin, I think, was on "she loves me not".

Coming out for the second period, apparently Detroit found the box of Dr. Scholl's lead lined skate inserts and removed them. They came out fast and hard, and Hudler scored within the first 2 minutes. Both teams would play well, but Detroit kept up the pressure and evened it up a little over halfway through the period with another tally from Hudler. It helped that neither team committed a lot of penalties, although the second Hudler goal came right after Chicago killed off a power play. Datsyuk would remind the world why he's one of the best at the end of the period, blasting between 2 defenders, deking out Huet and sliding one 5 hole to take the lead at 4-3.

The third period was Detroit's to lose, but came out hard scoring 2 goals within a minute at the 3 minute mark. The second of those goals was immediately waived off by the ref, but after further review showed it taking a wacky bounce off the inside of the net. 6-3 Wings. At this point, I could work on my hangover with some hair of the dog, since Detroit would go into shut down mode. The effort withstood a few chances from Chicago, but overall the Wings would keep the Hawks out of the net until 20 seconds remaining in the period, when they put one in behind Conklin on the power play. End game, 6-4, Red Wings Win!

Besides the skate insert incident in the first period, both teams played very well on this Winter Classic day. Detroit showed up to play like the champions they are, (at least in the 2nd and 3rd) and the Blackhawks showed a lot of speed and grit that these young players have. It was a great hockey game to watch from my perspective, and I hope whoever else watched the game enjoyed it as much as I did. Okay, so I'm a little biased. But overall, I think for the NHL, the Winter Classic lived up to its' name. I certainly am looking forward to next year's matchup, and despite the NHL folks complaining about the "ice quality", I think snow was the only thing missing from this year's Winter Classic.

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