Winter Classic

Blackhawks to wear Winter Classic jerseys three more times in 2019

Blackhawks to wear Winter Classic jerseys three more times in 2019

The Blackhawks and Boston Bruins put on an entertaining hockey display on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium for the 2019 Winter Classic in front of a sellout crowd of 76,126 fans. It was a memorable event.

It was also highlighted by a terrific uniform matchup between two Original Six franchise's that paid homage to their past.

And we haven't seen the last of Chicago's black and white-themed sweaters, which was inspired by and honors the 1934 championship-winning team.

The Blackhawks will be wearing their Winter Classic jerseys three more times this season, all of which can be seen during home games at the United Center:

— Tuesday, Jan. 22 vs. New York Islanders at 7:30 p.m. (WGN)

— Monday, Feb. 18 vs. Ottawa Senators at 7:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Chicago)

— Sunday, March 24 vs. Colorado Avalanche at 7 p.m. (NBCSN)

Fans are able to purchase the retro-looking sweaters at all Blackhawks team store locations, including the Madhouse Team Store inside the United Center Atrium and the Blackhawks Store at 333 N. Michigan Ave.

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Winter Classic loss hurts, but Blackhawks remain encouraged by bigger picture

Winter Classic loss hurts, but Blackhawks remain encouraged by bigger picture

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Blackhawks went into the 2019 Winter Classic having won five of their past six games and earning 13 out of a possible 18 points in their previous nine. They were feeling good about themselves. They still are.

A 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium on New Year's Day doesn't exactly change that. It actually reaffirms it by the way the Blackhawks played against one of the top Eastern Conference teams. They competed hard and looked like the better team for the majority of the game, but penalties cost them and it was one of those days where the Bruins bent but didn't break.

It's hard to see the bigger-picture positives in the immediate aftermath, and certainly tough to accept after you play in a spectacle like the Winter Classic, but the Blackhawks did and remain encouraged by their progress.

"We’ve been in almost every game recently and had a stretch of wins," Connor Murphy said. "It’s important for us to have that competitiveness and that edge and that confidence that no matter who we’re playing against or what players we're out against, whatever lines they have, that we can beat them. And I think having a younger team, guys have built confidence that way and feeling like they’re a big part of the team to contribute to more wins." 

The disappointment really comes at the fact the Blackhawks couldn't get a win to top off the spectacular event in a perfect manner for Chicago fans. A victory makes looking back on the day much more memorable when for the 76,126 fans in attendance, and for everyone involved — players, coaches, front office members, etc. — when you're the home team.

On the hockey side of things, the Blackhawks are going to keep trucking along and continue to build on the culture they're creating. Because they really have come a long way in a short amount of time.

"We’re gonna keep building," Jonathan Toews said. "I think our confidence is building. We’re getting to a point where we really know what works for us and what makes things difficult for other teams. It’s just finding that consistency, finding that maturity to play the right way at the right times. The more we keep ourselves in games, the more we’re gonna have chances to take over and get two points.” 

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10 takeaways from Winter Classic: Blackhawks put on show, but outdoor struggles continue

10 takeaways from Winter Classic: Blackhawks put on show, but outdoor struggles continue

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Here are 10 takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Winter Classic at Notre Dame Stadium on New Year's Day:

1. Blackhawks remain winless in Winter Classic games

Going into Tuesday, the Blackhawks were 1-4-0 in outdoor games and 0-for-3 in the Winter Classic. They really wanted to turn that stat around and give fans something excited about on the ride home.

But they couldn't exercise their outdoor demons as the Bruins scored the go-ahead goal to break a 2-2 tie with 9:40 left in regulation and it held up as the game winner.

"In the big picture, I thought we did a lot of good things," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "Second period I thought we were aggressive and relentless and hard-working and probably deserved better than we got. Unfortunate to come out of the period 2-2. Big picture, we're still on the right path. Unfortunate that we didn't get paid off more for the good things that we did. We had a little lull there in the third and we end up going down. Then it's hard. We're chasing from then on. Disappointing because I think we did enough to probably deserve more."

2. Too many penalties

The Blackhawks were certainly the better team through two periods of play. In the second period alone, they outshot the Bruins 16-10 and generated 19 scoring chances at even strength compared to Boston's six.

But the Bruins scored a late power-play goal — their second of the game — with 1:12 left in the period to tie it at 2-2, which was a killer considering the Blackhawks had dictated the pace of play to that point.

And in the third period, the Blackhawks committed three penalties in the opening 4:56. To their credit, they shut the door on all of them, but too much time was wasted trying to kill them off.

"You never want to take penalties on their half of the rink," Colliton said. "It's not something we want to do. We killed the penalties in the third, we give up 2 in the first two penalties. But we killed the penalties, we killed the 5-on-3. At that point you feel like, 'OK, we came through this. And we're going to get some energy out it.' But that's the stretch where we were at our worst — those four, five minutes after we got to even strength, we just couldn't get playing again. They scored before we could get it turned around."

3. Striking first again

For the sixth straight game, the Blackhawks scored the first goal. And that has usually ends well for teams that do so in outdoor games. 

In the previous 12 outdoor games, teams that scored first were 10-1-1 — and 15-7-3 all-time. This was the second time in the 13 such games that a team lost in regulation when scoring first.

4. Home team win streak ends

Another thing the Blackhawks had going for them was that home teams in the past six outdoor games were 5-0-1. The Blackhawks played really well and deserved at least a point, but couldn't crack Tuukka Rask for the equalizer as the Bruins netminder finished with 36 saves on 38 shots for a .947 save percentage.

"It sucks we couldn't get the win for our fans," Jonathan Toews said. "It's a memorable moment for everybody and you want to leave the game feeling a little bit better than you are right now. It's unfortunate, but it is a special opportunity to play in this building. It even exceeded my expectations. Just so much excitement to be out there and start that game. We all really enjoyed it."

5. Cam Ward's solid effort

When Ward was announced the Winter Classic starter and not Collin Delia, it didn't sit well with fans that thought the 24-year-old rookie had deserved the net. But as a sign of respect to the 14-year veteran, the Blackhawks gave Ward the start and he was terrific all afternoon.

The 34-year-old goaltender turned aside 32 of 35 shots and had a high-danger save percentage of .917 save during 5-on-5 play. He was arguably Chicago's best player.

"It would've been a lot sweeter if we got the victory in a game that was real close both ways," Ward said. "It could've gone either way, it's unfortunate that you come up short. You definitely want to walk away with a win and give the fans what they want, but I thought we played well.

"Just an unbelievable experience, I'm really thankful I got the opportunity to do it and you're just disappointed that you don't come away with the win."

6. Jonathan Toews ties all-time points leader in outdoor games

With a secondary assist on Dominik Kahun's goal, the Blackhawks captain climbed up the outdoor rankings with seven points in six career games outside. Only Henrik Zetterberg has as many points as Toews all-time in outdoor events.

7. Sellout crowd

The atmosphere at Notre Dame Stadium was incredible. Fans were into the game all day long, and it made for a terrific environment.

There were 76,126 fans in attendance, a sellout crowd that is the second-largest in NHL history and first in Blackhawks history.

"I wanted to soak it all in and enjoy it, and it gave me goosebumps right from the beginning when we walked in behind the marching band," Ward said. "I thought that was really neat. This is an experience that nobody will ever get. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially here at Notre Dame, and we enjoyed it."

8. Gary Bettman compliments Blackhawks

The Blackhawks aren't expected to get an outdoor game next season as the NHL prefers to avoid giving teams one in consecutive seasons, but when the NHL commissioner spoke to the media during second intermission he had nothing but positive things to say about the organization and fanbase, and how far they've come.

"The Hawks in their current form — and I mean that over the last decade, particularly since Rocky Wirtz has been running the club with John McDonough — Chicago has always been a hockey city and passionate about the Blackhawks," Bettman said. "Even in the down years, people were just waiting for the opportunity to come back and I think there's no doubt that as not only one of the Original Six franchises, the Blackhawks are a storied franchise, great tradition, great former players who are still active with the club and great, great fans. You see the reaction. And you know what? The team's playing better."

9. Winter Classic first-timers

The Blackhawks have appeared in six outdoor games. The Bruins have appeared in four. But 26 of the 40 players that dressed on Tuesday were participating in an outdoor game for the first time, which says a lot about the state of the NHL.

"This is a young man's league and it's changing every year," Bowman said. "There's more young players playing big roles on their teams. Some teams, 19-year-old players are their best players, so when that happens there's obviously cause and effect, and the guys that are moving out of the game are the older players, so teams are skewing younger. When that happens it's also harder to keep teams together year after year, the way the system we play under. 

"The younger players they obviously have speed and skill in abundance, and those are the things that tend to wear down when you get into your 30s and that's probably why the league is skewing younger. But I think there's never been a better time to be an NHL fan. The product on the ice is outstanding. For new fans to the game, to watch the game of hockey now, when you see these young guys, they're electrifying players and it makes it fun to watch."

10. Wounded Warriors skate with Blackhawks

The day before the Winter Classic, the Blackhawks got a chance to skate with the Wounded Warriors, a group of wounded military personnel, which is something the organization does annually. It was a neat idea to have them participate in the Winter Classic festivities and have them be a part of the experience as well.

"It's awesome," Alex DeBrincat said. "I mean, those guys are heroes and they're heroes to us. So it's definitely cool to be able to skate with them and maybe help their day. They brightened our day, so hopefully we did the same for them. It was just a fun time."

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