Ranking The Chicago Blackhawks Four Winter Classics
The Chicago Blackhawks have played in four Winter Classics over the past handful of years. Naming them all might be a bigger feat than naming the backup goalie on each of the teams. On the day of the Winter Classic in Minnesota, let's go back and look at some of the past events.
Before we really get into the rankings, I need to start off with this fact - the team has not won a Winter Classic game. In fact their only outdoor win came in 2014 during the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
As a fan that was at that game I take pride in watching the one outdoor game the team has won outdoors. However, it was so cold and snowy that day I still look back and shiver at the thought of the bleachers at Soldier that day.
The Blackhawks have played in four Winter Classics over the years. Here is what we are working with in this list:
2009 - Chicago Blackhawks vs Detroit Red Wings - Wrigley Field 6-3 Red Wings
2015 - Washington Capitals vs Chicago Blackhawks - Nationals Park 3-2 Capitals
2017 - St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks - Busch Stadium 4-1 Blues
2019 - Chicago Blackhawks vs Boston Bruins - Notre Dame Stadium 4-2 Bruins
In my mind, ranking these four winter classics is not that difficult. The last ranked one would have to be the matchup against the St. Louis Blues in 2017. While it was a great rematch of the playoffs the year before, the Blackhawks did not play their best game that day and dropped their only game that they failed to score at least two goals.
That Winter Classic meant a lot to the Blues, and it did not mean a heck of a lot to the Hawks that had been getting into outdoor events every year. The next one on my list has to be the 2015 matchup against the Washington Capitals.
The Capitals were an odd opponent for the Hawks as they hadn't met much in the past before. It was not really a rivalry or have a heck of a lot of storylines for the Hawks. It probably would have been better for the Capitals to play the Penguins outdoors which they did back in January of 2011. While the matchup would have repeated, I still think that would have been a better game than the Hawks.
While the Capitals matchup is the third ranked Winter Classic, it was also the closest one for the Hawks. In my mind the top two venues are in a league of their own for the Hawks though.
Playing an outdoor game at Notre Dame was definitely one of the coolest things the Blackhawks have done. Only one other venue beats it in my opinion. While the Blackhawks lost to the Bruins, they were arguably at their worst during the 2019 Winter Classic with a new coach and a string of iffy goaltenders in the net with Crawford out with an injury.
The number one spot still belongs to the first outdoor game the Blackhawks played in. Back in 2009 at Wrigley Field the Blackhawks faced off against the Detroit Red Wings. While the Blackhawks lost the game, the iconic venue and the fact this was the first outdoor game make this one the best of the best for Blackhawks fans.
I am looking forward to watching the 2022 Winter Classic between the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. I hope the two teams can give the NHL an instant classic as the event has done in the past. My favorite will always be the 2014 showdown between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings. With the snow and the crowd in Michigan, it was arguably my favorite one to watch.