Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s Day’

Detroit at Chicago, Winter Classic (1/1/09)

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

The long awaited day was finally here.  New Year’s Day.  The outdoor game.  The awesome event that is the Winter Classic.  The ice and weather conditions could not have been better.  The pregame shows that started in the morning on New Year’s Eve were great.  The NHL Network showed the practices of both teams as well as the family skates that each team was allowed after their practice.

The Blackhawks had a score to settle with the Red Wings after being sorely beaten two days earlier.

Ty Conklin was the starting goaltender for the Red Wings.  He’s the only player in the league who’s played in all three regular season NHL outdoor games.  Huet was the goalie for the Hawks.

The national anthems were really something special in this one.  Especially the US anthem during which they had rockets and bombs going off and an F-18 flyover at the conclusion.

There was a lot of strangeness to this game early on even besides being outdoors.  For one thing Pavel Datsyuk took the first penalty.  During the PK, Dan Cleary was hit along boards and went end over end into the Chicago bench.  It looked like he ended up on his head.  The Wings ended up with too many men on the ice during that exchange so the Hawks had a 5 on 3 power play.

The first penalty of the 5 on 3 was killed off but the Blackhawks scored on the second power play.  They entered the Red Wings zone and shot the puck.  Conklin gave up a juicy rebound that was put into the net by Versteeg.

A bit later in the first period Detroit joined in the fun when Samuelsson scored a power play goal on a nice feed from Zetterberg.

On the Blackhawks’ next penalty they scored another power play goal.  It was a great pass from behind the net to the front and they roofed it over Conklin into the net.

With less than a minute to go in the first period the Blackhawks scored again this time at even strength.  Lilja was battling Eager behind the net.  Eager went around Lilja and came back to the front of the net.  Conklin was expecting him to be forced around to the other side of the net so he was focusing on the wrong side.  Eager’s great move earned him a goal and put the Hawks up three to one.

That was the end of the first period scoring so the Wings had a big hole to claw their way out of.

Early in the second period Detroit got their own even strength goal.  There was a shot from the slot and Huet gave up a great rebound.  Hudler was near the side of the net.  He picked up the rebound and popped it in to bring the Wings within one.

Later in the second Detroit did it again.  Hudler was again near the net picking up the trash after a shot on the power play.  He had several whacks at the puck and finally was able to push it into the net to tie the game at three apiece.

Late in the second period Datsyuk took the puck from his own end and split the defense.  He took it in on net, made a few moves and put it between the legs of Huet.  That put the Wings up by one.

That was the end of the second period.  According to the broadcasters the wind was a big factor.  Each team scored three goals on the net in the end that had the wind in the goalie’s face.

Early in the third period Detroit had another power play opportunity.  Rafalski ended up with the puck in deep near the goal line.  He brought it to the front of the net, went forehand to backhand and somehow got it between Huet’s legs for the goal. 

Just 16 seconds later Lebda shot the puck and it looked like a goal but the referee waved it off.  On the replay it was pretty clear that it was in the top of the net.  After a replay review they awarded the goal which put the Wings up six to three.  After that goal Huet was replaced by Khabibulin.

Near the seven minute remaining mark in the third period the teams switched ends.  That was the first stoppage after the halfway point of the period.

In the final 10 seconds of the game Chicago scored a goal right off the faceoff.  It was a quick pass to the high slot for a one timer to make the scored six to four.

That was it for this game.  Because of how great the weather was and the perfect ice conditions, the fact that this was an outdoor game sort of wore off very quickly.  It became just another great hockey game between two rivals.  The Red Wings played very well in this one.  Let’s hope they can keep this streak rolling for a while.

This year’s Winter Classic was another huge success.  Everything about the event was first class.  Hopefully this is a tradition that will continue for years to come.

This 6-4 win brings us to:
55 points