Grettings from cold but sunny Pittsburgh. Hopefully you're feeling OK this morning. We took it a lot easier than in years past. Its nice waking up not burping up everything you drank the night before.
-It's still hard for us to believe we were in Buffalo a year ago. It still seems like it was yesterday that we were walking through the parking lot looking for Penguins fans to interview. There were open fires everywhere and tailgating feasts everywhere. Despite getting less than four hours of sleep that night, it was easily one of the best days of our lives as hockey fans.
-You know it's a big event when The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore is on hand:
-We're putting the over/under on "Ty Conklin has played in two of these outdoor games before" at 18 1/2.
-"Chris Chelios used to play for Chicago/is from Chicago" at 13 1/2.
-"Brian Campbell played in last year's game" at 3 1/2.
-Things you find on the photo wire:
(Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
-Hey look, it's Bob Costas pretending to care about hockey:
-Costas reminds us that Chelios is from Chicago.
-Pierre McGuire is unfortunately on hand as well.
-Mike Milbury is playing with those kids on that mini rink again. Does the NHL keep a staff of youngsters on hand to play shinny at these outdoor events?
-Jim Cantore has climbed to the top of Wrigley Field's scoreboard.
-McGuire reminds us that Ty Conklin has played in two of these games before.
-No Mike Emrick today. Bummer. Dave Strader, who normally does Coyotes games, is his replacement. Strader is a solid replacement. He's the Ty Conklin if you will, of play-by-play announcers.
-We've been to Wrigley Field once for a baseball game. Despite the Pirates being involved that day, it was a marvelous experience. We parked at this McDonalds for something like $30:
-Conklin, who we hear has some experience outdoors, will start in net along with Cristobal Huet.
-Detroit's scratches are Derek Meech and Tomas Kopecky.
-Chicago will scratch Aaron Johnson and Adam Burish.
-The players walk out to with all the pyrotechnics and smoke just like last year's game. Apparently this is a WWE pay-per-view.
-"O Canada" is performed. Why? We understand this is Canada's sport, but there isn't a Canadian franchise involved in this game. Sure most of the players on the roster are Canadian, but why not sing Slovakia's or Sweden's anthems as well?
-It's so wierd seeing Wrigley Field filled up with red.
-It was no Jeff JImerson, but the national anthem was tremendous.
-Pretty cool scene with the fighter jets flying over an urban setting like Chicago.
-What in the world is Mike Babcock wearing? A letterman jacket with a fedora? Why would Babcock hide that wonderful head of hair?
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
-Is Bobby Hull wearing leopard print ear muffs?
20:00: At 1:35 p.m. EDT, the second Winter Classic begins.
19:23: Huet covers a loose puck in the slot. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk is nabbed for hooking.
18:21: A one-timer by Brent Seabrook is deflected wide.
18:03: Seabrook suplexes Dan Cleary into the Chicago bench. What a hit.
17:54: Cleary's disappearing act causes a teammate to jump off their own bench an onto the ice. That's too many men. Doh. Chicago will get a two-man advantage for 31 seconds.
17:23: Datsyuk's penalty expires. Chicago will still have a 1:29 of a power play.
16:36: Chicago cashes in. Martin Havlat directs a slapper on net from the left wing. Conklin makes the save but gives up a rebound. Dustin Byfuglien drives to the net but misses the rebound. Kris Versteeg follows him and punches it in. Havlat gets the only assist. Blackhawks 1-0.
15:18: Datsyuk has lost his helmet at some point.
15:08: A shot by Andreas Lilja is deflected into the netting. Is netting really necessary for this venue? Ben Eager is called for slashing. How is this guy even employed by an NHL team?
14:33: The Red Wings are wearing those horrible striped socks.
13:23ish: Niklas Kronwall drives a slapper on net from the left point. Huet eats it up. Tomas Holmstrom gives him a big whack. Huet and teammates take exception and drop Holmstrom.
13:08: Eager's penalty is killed.
12:10ish: Conklin covers a puck. Byfuglien makes contact. Another scrum ensues. There's been a lot more of the nasty, chippy stuff already in this game than in last year's game. Unlike the Penguins and Sabres, these two teams today are true rivals. Byfuglien gets two minutes for roughing.
11:02: Huet covers another puck in the crease. Another scrum. We get some ice repairs. That was one thing we didn't care for much with last year's game. There were far too many delays to fix the ice.
10:33: Dave Strader reminds us Marian Hossa used to play for the Penguins.
10:10: Another former Penguin, Mikael Samuelsson punches one by Huet. Henrik Zetterberg glieds behind the net and feeds it to Samuelsson out front. Samuelsson misses on his first shot but is able to chip it up high over Huet on the glove side. A pretty loud cheer rings out. Zetterberg and Hossa get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Blackhawks 1, Red Wings 1.
9:43: Strader busts out some lame "change up/Wrigley Field" joke. Ugh.
8:33: Brett Lebda of Detroit is called for delay of game. A bit of breaking Penguins news here. Ryan Whitney and Petr Sykora are your alternate captains for January. And Kris Letang will dress tonight.
7:23: Wow what a pass. Versteeg controls the puck behind the Detroit net and zips a backhanded pass to Havlat in the slot. Havlat takes it and snaps a high wrister to the far side by Conklin on the stick side. What a play. We already have more goals in regulation than last year's game. Versteeg and Brian Campbell get assists. Blackhawks 2-1.
7:01: Andrew Ladd hits Lilja from behind. No call. Lilja gives him some business for it. Penalty.
6:36: Conklin eats up a big slapper by James Wisniewski.
6:31: Duncan Keith drives a big shot on net. It squeaks through Conklin and comes to a rest in the crease. It's cleared away before anyone can punch it in.
5:56: Datsyuk blocks a shot.
5:10: Hossa and company come up on a thee-on-one. Hossa has a wide open net to shoot at clinks it off the cross bar. Fire Ritch Winter.
4:06: Huet covers another puck in the crease. Another scrum.
3:39: Strader reminds us Conklin and Hossa used to be Penguins.
3:31: Ed Olczyk reminds us Conklin played two outdoor games before.
2:17: Brian Rafalski moves into the offensive zone and fires a wrister which is deflected and fought off by Huet.
2:00: Dave Bolland puts a shot on net. Conklin makes the save. Andrew Ladd follows up on the rebound but his shot is kicked out by Conklin's left foot.
0:53: Eager shows some actual skill and pushes a backhander on net.
0:39: Uh... We guess that's why Eager is employed. That was a heck of a play. He controls the puck behind the net, twists Lilja into a preztel with a few nifty moves Sidney Crosby would envy and even fakes out Ty Conklin who is totally lost. Eager jams the puck in from the side of the cage and puts Chicago up by two. He skates out to mid ice on one knee and gives a fist pump. Wow. What a goal. You have to give Eager credit for that. Havlat gets an assist. Blackhawks 3-1.
0:22: A slapper by Lidstrom is deflected wide.
0:00: End of period. Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 1.
-The Red Wings and Blackhawks have managed to deliver something the Penguins and Sabres couldn't last year and that's a pretty entertaining game. Lots up and and down hockey. Quite a few goals. Lots of hitting and chippy play. Last year's players almost seemed tenative last year on account of the atmosphere. Players today see much more comfortable and are going at it.
-Chicago had a 14-13 edge in shots.
-Cleary and Datsyuk lead the game with three shots.
-Patrick Sharp, Martin Havlat, Versteeg and Eager each lead the Blackhawks with two.
-Chicago has an 11-6 advantage in faceoffs.
-Wisniewski leads the game with 9:19 or ice time.
-Lidstrom leads Detroit with 8:44.
-Cleary leads the game with two blocked shots.
-It's nice to see Jim Cantore maintain his dignity for this event:
20:00: Before the period begins, McGuire mentions the wind is no in Huet's face.
19:16: Conklin eats up a one-timer from the point.
19:10: Off the faceoff, Martin Havlat whips a wrister on net from the boards. Conklin absorbs it.
18:46: A bit of lucky bounce benefits the Red Wings. Zetterberg chases a loose puck into the corner. He plays it into the slot but it deflects right to Hossa who punches a shot towards the net. It hits Seabrook who falls awkwardly and comes right to Jiri Hudler who puts it by an out of place Huet. Zetterberg and Hossa get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Blackhawks 3-2.
18:11: Strader reminds us Conklin is in his third outdoor game.
17:06: Conklin hangs on to a shot by Wisniewski from the left point.
15:52: Ladd whips a wrister on net from in tight. Conklin denies him.
15:36: Zetterberg tosses a backhander on net from the right wing. Hossa pursues it. A defender gives him a shove and Hossa runs over Huet and knocks off the net. Huet is stunned for a bit. Hossa gets the penalty for some reason. Indiana Jones Mike Babock complains.
15:25: Almost immediately The Blackhawks are called for a penalty. Toews clips Valtteri Filppula with a high stick. Four-on-four.
13:36: Hossa's penalty expires.
13:25: Toews does as well. Play has slowed down here a bit.
12:26: Datsyuk bombs a slapper from inside the blue line. Huet knocks it down and covers the rebound. McGuire reminds us Campbell played in last year's game.
12:15: A shot by Rafalski is covered by Huet.
11:25: Hossa dishes a feed to Lebda driving down the slot. He directs low wrister on net. Huet stops it.
9:18: Filppula gets a pass in the neutral zone and gets a step on Campbell. Filppula drives to the net with the puck on his backhand. Campbell lunges to knock the puck away but takes down Filppula who crashes into the cage knocking it off. Campbell gets two minutes.
8:09: Bolland whips a backhander towards the net. Conklin knocks it down.
7:30ish: Datsyuk snaps a quicks wrister from in tight. Huet knocks it down and covers. What is up with the little red triangles on
7:17: Tie game. Hudler gets his second. A Red Wings drives a shot on net from left wing. It hits a body in front and comes to Hudler who whacks at the bouncing puck three times before it goes in. Rafalski and Lidstrom get assists. Slowly but surely, Detroit is taking control of the game. Blackhawks 3, Red Wings 3.
7:01: Strader pulls outs a lame "one, two, three strikes you're out" joke with Hudler's goal. Strader's been solid as Emrick's fill in, but he's taking a few chances with the baseball references.
6:28: Patrick Kane, who's been quiet today, whips a wrister on net. Conklin fights it off with his glove.
6:10: Byfuglien blasts a slapper from the slot. Conklin eats it up. A small scrum ensues.
5:40: Strader reminds us Conklin has in fact played all three of the NHL's outdoor games. Huh...
3:33: Brad Stuart drives a slapper from the right point. Huet's kicks it out with his left foot.
3:11: Conklin fights off a chance by Toews.
2:43: Wow. What a goal! Datsyuk dekes between Campbell and Cam Barker like they were pylons and pushes a backhander under Huet. Wow. What was Campbell doing there? Nice to see he's earning that big contract. McGuire claims the wind pushed Datsyuk towards the goal. Ok. Whatever. Johan Franzen and Rafalski get assists. Red Wings 4-3.
1:57: Huet fights off a high wrister by Hossa.
1:48: Sharp is denied by Conklin.
1:32: Filppula chops a backhander on net. Huet says no.
0:00: End of period. Red Wings 4, Blackhawks 3.
-Detroit settled down that period, got used to the environment and began to play its game. They controlled the puck and took back the lead.
-We're digging the old-school manual baseball scored board by the way.
-Chicago owns a 27-26 edge in shots.
-Datsyuk leads the game with six shots.
-Havlat and Sharp lead Chicago with four.
-Chicago has a 21-16 lead in faceoffs.
-Sharp is 7-for-10 (70 percent).
-Datsyuk is 7-for-12 (58 percent).
-Duncan Keith leads the game with 16:45.
-Lidstrom leads Detroit with 15:48. Kronwall is right behind him with 15:46.
-Not a lot of blocked shots today. Cleary and Seabrook each lead the game with two.
-Costas tries to do a impression of Toews' father's heavy Canadian accent and it doesn't come out well. He almost sounds like a drunken Frenchman.
-A rock version of "It's a Wonderful World" not featuring The Clarks? Say it isn't so.
-Brian Campbell trying to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is about as natural as putting butter on potato chips.
18:58: Conklin covers a loose puck in the slot. NBC sticks with the overhead view from the blimp or plane or whatever for about a minute. Pretty good stuff.
17:58: What a surprise, the Rangers and Penguins will be a national game for NBC.
17:38: Wisniewski is nabbed for hooking.
16:53: Ugh. That was a weak goal for Huet. Rafalski sneaks in from the point and slips a backhander under Huet. Blech. Tomas Holmstrom gets an assist. Red Wings 5, Blackhawks 3.
16:36: Lebda whips a wrister from the slot that beats Huet but officials immediately wave it off. Replays show it hitting the net but bouncing out immediately. Huet covers it in the slot. A replay confirms the goal and overturns the call. Lebda is from Chicago by the way. We've been told about it approximately 42 times. Huet actually gets chased. He's replaced by Nikolai Khabibulin. Huet goes to the bench and slams the door. On top of all that, the Sun begins to make an appearance. Again it's Zetterberg and Hossa with assists. Fire Ray Shero. Red Wings 6, Blackhawks 3.
15:27: Khabibulin knocks away a shot by Hossa.
13:51: Detroit is pretty much in full puck possession/kill the clock mode. Ugh.
13:28: Conklin fights off a shot by Wisniewski.
13:01: A wrist shot by Fraser from the left wing is denied by Conklin.
12:52: Without his stick, Conklin is able to deny Eager.
12:23: Toews moves in on net from the right wing and can't beat Conklin. The net gets knocked off.
11:14: Conklin fights off a rising wrister by Sharp from the point.
10:26: Andrew Ladd blasts a slapper from the left wing which totally misses the net.
10:00: Zetterberg whips a wrister on net from the slot. Khabibulin kicks it out.
9:23: Ben Eager pumps a slapper on net from a bad angle. Conklin is there with the save.
8:44: The Red Wings are just about completely dominating play. They are getting to every loose puck and just controlling play. Chicago will be luck to get another goal the rest of the way. That's what Detroit does. It gets a lead and just clamps down and chokes the life out of the game. "Take me out to the hockey game?" Not so much. Darren Pang reveals Ty Conklin had to use the rest room. Roberto Luongo not impressed. The teams switch ends of the rink.
5:27: Zetterberg tries to to jam in a wraparound. No deal.
4:54: Kirk Maltby drives a slapper on net. Khabibulin kicks it away. There still seems to be a packed house there. Give credit to the Blackhawks fans for not leaving early despite this contest being over for the most part. Byfuglien is the player without the logo on his Reebok Edge-Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-You Uniform System jersey.
4:15: There's a stoppage to repair the ice near the Chicago net. This has been only second stoppage for ice repair during today's contest we can recall. There were at least eight during last year's contest.
3:30: Datsyuk pushes gentle shot on net which Khabibulin rejects.
3:03: Byfuglien dumps a Detroit player behind the Red Wings' net.
1:58: Havlat is dumped in the neutral zone. No call.
1:51: Hudler tries for the hat trick and fires a shot on net. Huet hangs on. Could you even get a hat on this rink? Would you even want to get rid of your hat on a day like this?
1:31: Kirk Maltby whips a wrister on net. Huet fights it off.
0:52: Bill McCreary calls a penalty in the five minutes of a game for the potentially the first time in history. Filppula is sent off for holding.
0:11: Barker fires a one-timer form the left point. Conklin eats it up.
0:09: The comeback is on! Right off a faceoff, Keith blasts a slapper from the top of the slot that beats Conklin on the blockerside. Sharp and Toews get assists. Red Wings 6-4.
0:00: End of game. Red Wings 6, Blackhawks 4.
-They actually have a handshake line after the game. We call handshake foul. You should only do that following a playoff series.
-Darren Pang reminds Conklin following the game he has played in three outdoor games.
-Are we the only ones who find it ironic they're giving a Honda Pilot to a Ronald McDonald house in Detroit? It's not like the auto industry in that city needs another kick in the gut or anything.
-All-in-all it was another pleasant day for hockey. Not as good as last year's game in terms of competition but the NHL benefitted from this day.
-Give Detroit credit. The Red Wings settled down after a shaky first period and played their game. You could probably fly them to Mars and expect the same. Once they adapted to the lack of oxygen, Jiri Hudler and Niklas Kronwall would be hitting each other with tape-to-tape passes and keeping the puck away from the Martians in a 4-1 win.
-Chicago just seemed to let up on Detroit in terms of physical play after the first period and that seemed to contribute to the Detroit comeback. The Red Wings always seem to let up off their gameplan when teams take the wood to them. Chicago quit doing that and lost partially because of it.
-Little-known fact: Ty Conklin has played in three outdoor games and he is now 2-1-0 in them.
-Good day for anyone with fantasy players in this game. Jiri Hudler had two goals and an assist. Brian Rafalski had a goal and two assists. Zetterberg and Hossa each had three assists. Fire Ray Shero. Martin Havlat, a winger who is an unrestricted free agent after this season (cough, cough) had a goal and two assists. Versteeg had a goal and two assists.
-There were a ton of shots in this game. Detroit had 43 while Chicago had 37.
-Datsyuk led the game with seven.
-Sharp led Chicago with five.
-Chicago had a 30-21 lead in faceoffs.
-Fraser was 8-for-11 (73 percent).
-Zetterberg was 6-for-9 (67 percent).
-Lidstrom led the game with 24:59 of ice time.
-Keith led Chicago with 23:55.
-Chelios needs to retire. They Red Wings tossed him a bone and gave him 1:57 of ice time.
-Stuart led the game with four blocked shots.
-Seabrook led the Blackhawks with three.
-Datsyuk's highlight goal is already on YouTube:
-Joel Quenneville's letterman jacket was sweet:
-We'll be back here at 7 p.m. for tonight's Penguins' game. Please tune in.