Blackhawks prep for outdoor match-up with Washington Capitals

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Now that the Chicago Bears have finished their dismal, disgraceful 2014 season, and since tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 1) is a new year, I’m switching my passion from the football field to the hockey rink. The Chicago Blackhawks will now get the honor of taking over the top spot in my sporting world.

The Blackhawks start their new year off with an outdoor game against the Washington Capitals on New Year’s Day. The Bridgestone Winter Classic takes place in Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The stadium is usually home to the major league baseball team the Washington Nationals. Over the last couple of weeks, the baseball infield has been transformed into an outdoor hockey arena.

Chicago is in first place in the Central Division of the Western Conference with a 24-10-2 record at press time. The Capitals are 18-11-6 and in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division of the Eastern Conference. Both teams have won seven of their last 10 games.

Forwards Jonathon Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane are huge reasons the Blackhawks are having the success they are. They anchor the ’Hawks’ offense. On the opposite side of the center line, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are having all-star seasons. After missing a few games with an injury, goaltender Corey Crawford is back between the pipes and is 13-6 with 41 goals against and 492 saves for a .923 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average.

The puck drops at noon Central time and will be televised nationally on NBC.

From the Dec. 31, 2014-Jan. 6, 2015, issue

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