December 28, 2008 in Sports

NHL’s Winter Classic takes over Wrigley Field

By Sam Carchidi Philadelphia Inquirer
 

Wrigley Field hosting a hockey game almost sounds sacrilegious.

But that’s what will happen Thursday when a baseball shrine hosts this season’s Winter Classic, a matchup between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit.

The rink is standard NHL size, 200 by 85 feet, and will be situated between first and third base.

The center-ice face-off dot will be 112 feet from home plate and 288 feet from the center-field wall.

The penalty boxes will be 9 feet behind the pitcher’s mound.

Maybe Ernie Banks should drop the first puck?

The American and Canadian flags, measuring 90-by-45-feet, will be draped on the outfield grass, and there will be batter’s-box logos of each team.

There will be about 40,000 seats available, along with 2,000 rooftop seats across the street.

The teams will enter the playing field via the dugouts.

“I got shivers coming out of the tunnel (at Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium last year), not because it was cold but because it was crazy and exciting,” said Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who played for the Sabres in last year’s snowy 2-1 shootout loss to Pittsburgh. “It’s like playing in a playoff game or even better. When you’re coming out of the tunnel, it’s not closed in. It’s open. It just explodes in front of you.”

A Winter Classic between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins could be a future matchup at Heinz Field or Beaver Stadium.

Philly apparently is too rainy around New Year’s Day, based on previous weather patterns, to be considered.

Double standard

Think there are special rules for the NHL’s glamour boy, Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby?

It seems that way.

If you’re not convinced, google a video of Crosby’s cheap-shot antics when he was the third man in a fight against Atlanta recently. Crosby punched a player from behind and appeared to hit him in the groin twice.

Amazingly, all he received was 2 minutes for roughing.

Spectrum flashback

On Jan. 3, 1978, the Flyers defeated Cleveland 5-4 at the Spectrum in a game filled with milestones.

Bob Dailey scored his 15th goal, a team record for defenseman, while Bill Barber recorded his 20th goal, marking the sixth straight season he had scored 20 or more goals.

In addition, Bobby Clarke reached the 30-goal mark for the ninth straight season.


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