Chicago Blackhawks: Winter Classic Matchups Fans Want to See
Chicago fell to the Detroit Red Wings 6-4 in the second annual Winter Classic, and the Hawks played host to the outdoor game at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs.
HBO's original series 24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic debuted the year after the Hawks and Wings faced off in the Winter Classic. I would love to see Joel Quenneville and his squad in HBO's original series. Talk about entertainment.
If the Blackhawks were to play in another Winter Classic who would they play?
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The Blackhawks have developed a rivalry with the Vancouver Canucks over the last several years because of three consecutive postseasons in which these two teams met. Two of the meetings ended in favor of the Hawks, but the Canucks prevailed in the most recent.
It's obvious that there's no love lost between these two teams, and the bad blood has only increased throughout the years.
The Hawks and Canucks won't have the opportunity to play in the postseason starting next year, unless they meet in the Stanley Cup, because of the latest NHL realignment. A Winter Classic matchup between the two, whether it's played in Vancouver or Chicago, would continue the heated rivalry between these two organizations.
If these two teams were scheduled to play in the annual Winter Classic, I'd suspect Vancouver would play host to it.
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The Minnesota Wild are having their best season in recent memory thus far in 2011, and the Wild and Hawks are currently sitting atop the Western Conference standings.
Minnesota and Chicago will be conference mates next season because of the latest NHL realignment.
Due to the Wild's latest resurgence, the Hawks and Wild are rekindling a long-lost rivalry from when the Wild were known as the Minnesota North Stars.
Minnesota is a great place for hockey, as is Chicago. It wouldn't matter where the Winter Classic was held between these two teams, because it would be an unforgettable game between two teams who have regained interest around the NHL after years or irrelevance.
If these two teams were to meet in the annual Winter Classic, I wouldn't be surprised if Minnesota would be the host because of the long-time hockey tradition the state has had, especially considering the Minnesota Twins recently built a new outdoor stadium.
St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues are slowly but surely regaining prominence around the NHL because of how hard they play on a nightly basis.
Every game between the Blues and Blackhawks is a battle for who will come out with two points to add to the left column of the standings. Every game gets physical, sometimes chippy and even bloody.
A Winter Classic matchup between these two long-time rivals would raise the tension even more and bring out the best in both teams.
If Chicago and St. Louis were to be scheduled to play in the NHL's annual outdoor game, I'd expect St. Louis to host the game at Busch Stadium, the home of the St. Louis Cardinals.
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Winnipeg finally has a hockey team they can call their own once again now that the Atlanta Thrashers moved back to Winnipeg and called themselves the Winnipeg Jets.
The Jets are by no means one of the best teams in the NHL, but they're playing in a city that loves its hockey, so good things are bound to come.
Don't forget, a couple members of the Blackhawks' 2010 Stanley Cup team got traded to Winnipeg after the Hawks' Stanley Cup season. Dustin Byfuglien and Andrew Ladd are playing significant oles for the Jets since parting ways with the Hawks.
NHL realignment has placed the Hawks and Jets in the same conference starting next season, and this could very well lead to a rivalry over the next couple of years.
If the Hawks and Jets faced off in the Winter Classic, I'd be willing to bet just about anything I have that Winnipeg would play host to the annual outdoor game.
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In 2010, the Philadelphia Flyers were the Blackhawks' opponents in the Stanley Cup Finals, and as you already know, the Hawks hoisted the Cup that season.
The Flyers are playing in their second Winter Classic in three years this year, so it's hard to imagine them playing in a third anytime soon.
It'd be pretty exciting to see a rematch of the 2010 Stanley Cup played outside in the annual Winter Classic game.
If these two teams met in the Winter Classic somewhere down the road, it'd be a toss-up for who would host the game, considering that, by then, both of these teams would've already hosted a Winter Classic game.