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Experience Has Not Proven Helpful For Blackhawks In Outdoor Games

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - JANUARY 01: Tommy Hawk entertains fans during the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium on January 01, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA - JANUARY 01: Tommy Hawk entertains fans during the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium on January 01, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago Blackhawks’ upcoming season will not feature any outdoor games like the winter classic, and for Chicago, that is alright.

The Blackhawks have played in a lot of outdoor games over the years. Some would argue maybe a few too many, according to other teams in the NHL. Many teams have not played any outdoor games yet in the course of their history, Chicago; on the other hand, has played in six games outdoors since 2009, three of which were considered home games.

Chicago is a vibrant hockey city and one of the largest markets the NHL can tap into for views, so it is no wonder they have played in so many outdoor games. Winter Classics and Stadium Series games are some of the most exciting games to watch all year, and I am saddened that we won’t have a Winter Classic this coming season. Still, for Chicago, experience has not proven helpful for them outdoors.

Now there are some rumblings about the NHL potentially playing some of their games outdoors next season to allow fans to watch in person, but I do not see that working out personally. So let’s breakdown the Blackhawks’ past six outdoor games.

January 1, 2009 – Wrigley Field (Against Detroit)

The  Blackhawks lost six to four against the Detroit Redwings during the second Winter Classic for the NHL. Chicago would be playing against soon to be ‘Hawk Marian Hossa; he registered three assists during the game.

March 1, 2014 – Soldier Field (Against Pittsburgh)

During one of the best games I have ever been at, Chicago won an outdoor game five to one against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins. I believe this game came in the middle of the Blackhawks dynasty and showed just how dominant this team was.

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January 1, 2015 – National Park (At Washington)

The first of the many road outdoor games for the Blackhawks came in Washington against the Capitals. The game would end in Chicago’s second outdoor loss and continue the winless streak during NHL Winter Classics. This being a three to two final score made it one of the closer outdoor games for Chicago.

January 21, 2016 – TCF Bank Stadium (At Minnesota)

Chicago had some pretty cool jerseys for their fourth outdoor game and third in three years, this time against the Wild in Minnesota. Once again, this game proved the NHL would do anything to get the views up in an outdoor game. Unfortunately for the NHL, what should have been a classic rivalry matchup against two divisional teams turned into a six to one blowout for the Wild.

January 2, 2017 – Busch Stadium (At St. Louis)

After facing off against each other in the playoffs the year before, Chicago and St. Louis were finally going to meet outdoors in the Blues’ first outdoor game. Unfortanelty for Chicago, this was their third Winter Classic loss keeping them winless during the event.

January 1, 2019 – Notre Dame Stadium (Against Boston)

Lastly, we have the game at Notre Dame on New Years’ in 2019. What could have been a positive note for the Blackhawks to begin the new year after firing Joel Quenneville turned into a four to two loss in the Irish Stadium. This was only the second outdoor game not to have Corey Crawford in net for Chicago as he was injured at the time.

Experience isn’t everything

So, in all, Chicago is 1-5 outdoors in their outdoor games. They have been outscored 24 to 14 outdoors, and their only win outdoors came against another team that had already played under the lights once.

You would think after Chicago failed to win three of four outdoor games, they would stop getting picked for the event, but hey year after year, the ‘Hawks kept getting new jerseys and new venues to play at.

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I think there is something to be had about putting two teams that haven’t played in a Winter Classic against each other outdoors more so than a team like Chicago or Pittsburgh that has been outside numerous times. While anyone would be excited to watch or play in the event, the thrill and magic are heightened when it is a team’s only opportunity outdoors. That might be why Chicago rolled over so much to Minnesota outside during their matchup. It was the team’s fourth outdoor game and third in three years. The game’s gravity and excitement might be belittled when it seems like events like these come every year.

Hopefully, when the NHL has more Winter Classics and Stadium Series games in the future, we Blackhawks fans will get to watch other team’s faceoff during the event. While I like watching Chicago play in them, I’m tired of watching them lose it!

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