The Chicago Blackhawks have been a part of the NHL Winter Classic twice since its beginning in 2008, but this year will truly be a spectacle as arch rivals square off to kick off 2017
More from Editorials
- Blackhawks: Changes to the coaching staff are a step in the right direction
- Chicago Blackhawks: Reasons for optimism and cause for concern
- Blackhawks: Kick off four game road trip against Kraken
- Recapping the Jeremy Colliton era with the Chicago Blackhawks
- Chicago Blackhawks have a lingering goalie problem
Though the Chicago Blackhawks have seen a successful beginning to the 2016-17 season, the path to the Stanley Cup Playoffs will never be an easy one.
The remaining schedule of the campaign holds 17 more matches between division opponents. While the ‘Hawks remain in the driver’s seat in the Central Division, it’s an absolute fact that holding the top spot in the Central Division will not be an easy task.
Among those games, the Winter Classic
January 2 will mark the third Winter Classic that the Chicago Blackhawks have been a part of since the concept’s beginning in 2008. The Blackhawks will invade Busch Stadium in St. Louis, home of the St. Louis Cardinals, who just so happen to be the Chicago Cubs’ nemesis in MLB. To say there is some tension between these two cities would be a huge understatement!
The Blackhawks first-ever appearance in the Winter Classic took place at Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2009 against the Red Wings. At the time, this matchup was up there with Boston and Montreal in terms of rivalry, but since Detroit moved to the East the rivalry has calmed down just a bit. The game resulted in a 6-4 win by the Detroit Red Wings.
Like quite a few seasons past, the Central Division’s St. Louis Blues have been the one fork in the Blackhawks’ road to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But this rivalry is more than just a long-standing hatred between two teams. This is Chicago versus St. Louis. This is much more than an on-ice affair; this is city against city.
The most recent meeting between the ‘Hawks and the Blues had playoff atmosphere written all over it. From goaltending, constant chirping and late-game heroics, the December 17 matchup was a sight to see.
With the result being a 6-4 Blackhawks victory on the road, the hangover from this hard-fought battle will surely carry over into this year’s Winter Classic.
Although Chicago has been exposed in the two most recent outdoor games and the nostalgia has somewhat diminished since being a part of so many of the events, this one will be special. The battle of Chicago and St. Louis is as intense as ever, whether it’s hockey or baseball.
The players dislike one another. The fans have developed a hatred that keeps fueling such bitterness towards each other. This is what sports are all about, folks, and January 2 will surely be enjoyable.