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Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Shift Charts

So let’s review what is supposed to be just about the NHL’s signature day during the regular season, possibly only apart from the All-Star Game, which has its own issues.

For the day and morning leading up to it, all the news pretty much had to do with how this game had little chance of getting off on time, what they would do if it didn’t, and what would happen if they had to abandon in midgame. This is not exactly how you build momentum toward an occasion. This is obviously always a problem for outdoor games, but this one was particularly pronounced.

When it came out that the Hawks and Blues would have to engage in a shootout in two months’ time in case this game was ended early, but after two periods, and tied, it had the mark of a league that didn’t have a plan or shouldn’t be taken seriously.

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 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 23-11-5  Blues 19-13-5

PUCK DROP: Noon, or so they say

TV: W-ENN-BEE-SEE! W-ENN-BEE-SEE! Waste not want not, Robyn.

EVEN BUSCH STADIUM WON’T LET THEM IN: St. Louis Gametime

PROJECTED LINEUPS

ADJUSTED TEAM CORSI %: Hawks – 49.7 (16th)  Blues – 51.5 (11th)

ADJUSTED TEAM xGF%: Hawks – 46.9 (26th)  Blues – 50.5 (15th)

POWER PLAY %: Hawks – 19.0 (15th)  Blues – 21.6 (8th)

PENALTY KILL %: Hawks – 75.0 (28th)  Blues – 86.0 (4th)

For the most part, I’m positive on outdoor games. While most of us Inside Baseball have soured on them, citing the disappearance of the novelty, the lack of interesting, first-time venues, the continued use of the same teams, and whatever else, the NHL season is long and monotonous. Whatever can break it up, whatever can spike the meter here and there, is welcome. While it isn’t by the books that some teams will play a game with different conditions than all the rest, one out of 82 shouldn’t really queer things to a noticeable point.

And yet this one is shaping up to be a giant mess. Then again, that’s kind of perfect for St. Louis, isn’t it?

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Hawk Wrestler vs. irwin_r_schyster

FACEOFF: Noon… or maybe 1pm…or 1:30… could be 2? All of it Central

TV/RADIO: NNNNNNN!BC, WGN Radio

YO! MTV CAPS: Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks

Well, it’s finally here. The landmark the season kind of pivots around. With the holidays over and the season about to head into it’s interminable slog phase, and almost right on the halfway point, the NHL has its winter landmark. It’s the Winter Classic… between two teams who have no history with each other at a venue that wouldn’t even be close to old enough to drive yet. But hey, let’s enjoy it anyway, right? The NHL regular season offers no other more singular stage than this one.

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Well, at least I know I don’t have to work New Year’s Eve this year.

Bob McKenzie was the first to put it out there, but it looks like the Hawks will be the visitor in an outdoor game for the first time as they will head to likely Nationals Park (outside shot of Camden Yards) on New Year’s Day to face the Caps in The Winter Classic.

It’s a strange choice in that usually the NHL has opted for something of a rival to play the host. Obviously, the Hawks and Capitals have no connection whatsoever. But NBC does like to guarantee its ratings, which the Hawks almost certainly do.

I’d like to believe as well that after the Leafs and Wings served up just about the most boring 24/7 possible, HBO begged the NHL to give them the very photogenic and television-ready Hawks. I don’t know how important that series is to the NHL, but if it is at all I’d like to think it played a small role.

While the game will of course be dogshit thanks to crap ice and whatever weather conditions come up, the HBO series should make for interesting watching and just to see how much the Hawks let in. Remember, both the Wings and Leafs caught flak for kicking the cameras out of the dressing room during games, and I’m sure McDonough is going to throw his back out trying to control whatever message he wants put out there. Still, we’ll be glued to every episode.

Back later today with more exit interviews.

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The big news last night was that the NHL is expanding its outdoor schedule to carry five more outdoor games in larger venues in addition to the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at the Big House in Ann Arbor. In that series, the Hawks are scheduled to take on the Penguins on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at Soldier Field. And thus far, most have seemed to agree with Puck Daddy’s Harrison Mooney and his claim that this is a cynical cash grab. But while Mooney is right in that aspect of it, he’s incorrect in stating that it’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s exactly the sort of thing Hawks fans should be glad is happening.