Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Ranking Their Best Outdoor Games

By Mike Brennan
Mar 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate as fireworks go off in the stands after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stadium Series hockey game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players celebrate as fireworks go off in the stands after defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Stadium Series hockey game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the Chicago Blackhawks hit the ice Sunday afternoon up in Minnesota, it will be their fourth outdoor game since the concept began regular usage in 2008. Overall, the Blackhawks are 1-2 in outdoor games, and have scored 11 goals in those three games. With the date of this tilt getting closer and closer, I have compiled a quick countdown ranking these three games. These games will be ranked based on entertainment value and the overall memories that were made on those days. Let’s take this outside.

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Jan 1, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) and center Jonathan Toews (19) shake hands with Washington Capitals players after the 2015 Winter Classic hockey game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 3: 2015 Winter Classic (Chicago Blackhawks at Washington Capitals)

Of the three outdoor games that the Blackhawks have participated in, this game is definitely the least memorable. I’m not sure if it was because the game was in Washington, or because of some other factor. I would say that 10 years down the road, fans will forget that the ‘Hawks even participated in this game.

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The game itself did have some entertainment value, considering the game was pretty close and the matchup with Jonathan Toews vs. Alexander Ovechkin was intriguing. The ‘Hawks lost the game 3-2, after former Blackhawk Troy Brouwer scored a powerplay goal with 13 seconds left. If you do not remember, the powerplay came off of a terribly called penalty on an alleged ‘hook’ from Toews. Although I think the ‘Hawks got the last laugh as they would go on to win the Stanley Cup that season.

In terms of other Winter Classic games, this one was a big ehhhh. Like I said, I’m not sure if the venue was boring or what, but this game just was not that memorable. In terms of television ratings, NBC reported it to be a 2.3 share with 3.47 million viewers. The jerseys for the ‘Hawks were also not that great.

The only good thing to come out of this game was the series “EPIX Road to the 2015 Winter Classic.” The show offered a unique view into the locker rooms of the teams and the lives of some of our favorite ‘Hawks players. In the show, Andrew Shaw gave Bryan Bickell some of the best hockey advice you’ll ever get: “You’re not supposed to go face first into a post.” I mean, he isn’t wrong.

No. 2: 2009 NHL Winter Classic (Detroit Red Wings at Chicago Blackhawks)

This ranking was an extremely difficult choice for me, as I was actually internally fighting between this game and the previous Stadium Series game for the past couple days. This was the league’s second Winter Classic, and Gary Bettman decided to bring it to Chicago’s north side at Wrigley Field. The game was an absolute spectacle, as hockey came to one of the country’s most famous stadiums. The ‘Hawks ended up losing the game 6-4. Looking back, it is kind of a good thing they lost considering they would have raised the ‘W’ flag, which I do not want that to have any association with the ‘Hawks.

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Goals on the ‘Hawks came from Kris Versteeg, Martin Havlat, Ben Eager and Duncan Keith — there are some names you all haven’t heard in a while. This game also featured jerseys that the ‘Hawks should still be wearing as their third jersey to this date. In my opinion, they are the coolest jerseys the ‘Hawks have ever showcased — behind the normal whites and reds of course.

Looking back at this game, and the state of the Chicago franchise for that matter, always makes me nostalgic to this day. It was before everything started. The front office was in the process of trusting and building the Blackhawks core, and everyone was young and ready for what was to come in the near future. Toews was named captain at the beginning of the season at the age of 20, and Patrick Kane was 20 years old as well. Only four players who took the ice that afternoon are on the team currently. That season was also the first year the ‘Hawks had Joel Quenneville behind the bench. Later that year, the ‘Hawks reached the postseason for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

Looking back at this game in the next 10 years will make every ‘Hawks fan nostalgic as this will be known as the marquee game the Blackhawks participated in before it all started.

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Mar 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Kris Versteeg (23) scores a goal past Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during the second period in a Stadium Series hockey game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 1: 2014 NHL Stadium Series (Pittsburgh Penguins at Chicago Blackhawks)

Five years after the Blackhawks participated in their first outdoor game, the outdoor spectacle returned to Chicago — this time, a little bit south on Lake Shore Drive at Soldier Field. The main reason why this game is rated as the best is because of the weather and timing. The game was played during a blizzard and at night. The game brought players and fans back to the days when they would go find a pond to play on while it was snowing. The conditions also favored the Blackhawks as the Penguins could not play their speed game.

The Blackhawks won the game 5-1, with goals from Patrick Sharp, Versteeg, Bryan Bickell and two from Toews. The look of the futuristic black jerseys was also a nice touch for the ‘Hawks. Going to this game was also one of the best sporting events I have ever attended, which really shows how memorable and classic this game was.

Agree or disagree with these rankings? Let us know on social media and in the comments.

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