5 Reasons Why Pittsburgh Penguins-Chicago Blackhawks Stadium Series Game Will Not Disappoint
Stadium Series: 5 Reasons Why the Penguins vs. Blackhawks Will Not Disappoint
When the NHL announced earlier this year that there will be six outdoor games, as opposed to just the Winter Classic, some fans were up in arms saying that the NHL was going overboard. Others said it was just a scheme to increase ratings and draw larger attendances, but isn't that a positive thing? I love outdoor games. I think they're the most exciting NHL games to watch, even if the two points on the line are either irrelevant, or extremely important. It's something different, and as a general hockey fan it's easy to get involved with the game when it's between two teams you would normally never care about.
Saturday's outdoor game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks at Soldier Field will be one for the ages. Never has there been so much talent on a single outdoor ice surface. It's going to be fun to watch how Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews interact just days removed from leading Team Canada to a gold medal at the Olympics in Sochi.
Since 2009, there have been five Stanley Cups awarded, and only twice have they been awarded to neither the Blackhawks, nor the Penguins. These are two dynasties in the making, and it is going to be an incredible game from the opening drop at 7 p.m. to the buzz of the final horn. This game isn't just about being able to watch two teams don innovative uniforms, although both teams are wearing some awesome threads. It's about much, much more. Here are five reasons why the game will not disappoint.
5. Star Power
There has never been more talent on display in an outdoor game than there will be Saturday night. Crosby, Toews, Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Kane, Chris Kunitz, Duncan Keith... The list goes on and on. Many of the players that will be in action on Saturday night can make magic with the puck, and that's something that every hockey fan can appreciate.
4. The Atmosphere
There is nothing like the buzz that goes around the stadium during an outdoor game, and considering this game involves two franchises with thousands of loyal fans, the atmosphere is going to be remarkable. Soldier Field has a capacity of 61,500 people, which is three times more than both the United Center (where the Blackhawks play home games), and Consol Energy Center (where the Penguins play home games).
3. Bragging Rights
Over the last five seasons, the Penguins and Blackhawks have been the two most dominating franchises in the NHL. They've won three of the last five Stanley Cups and have some of the most recognizable names in hockey on their squads. They're in different conferences however, and rarely get to face each other in the regular season. Both teams currently have 84 points, which is the second most in the NHL... Saturday night's game settles the tie.
2. Power Play Perfection
With great talent usually comes great special teams, and in terms of the power play these two teams are no exception. The Penguins currently convert on their power plays over 25 percent of the time, which is the best in the NHL. The Blackhawks are not far behind, converting on 21.8 percent of their power play chances, which ranks them third highest in the league. Penalties will be a huge factor in this game, but just watching how well both teams can move the puck with the man advantage is almost breathtaking.
1. The Weather
What would an outdoor game be without a little snow? The forecast for Chicago is calling for late snow showers, and hopefully the hockey gods let it dump all over Soldier Field. The snow makes the players adjust every shift, and watching the goaltenders have to wear beanies over their helmets to keep warm is a spectacle that you just won't find anywhere else.