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Hockey fans soak in 'Classic' atmosphere

Thursday, 01.1.2009 / 1:04 PM ET / News
By Lindsey Ungar  - DetroitRedWings.com Special Writer
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Hockey fans soak in \'Classic\' atmosphere
CHICAGO — The best Christmas ever?

That’s what Jesse and Jake Trawinski had when Santa left them tickets for today’s Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.
WINGS CORNER

“We got ‘em in our stockings,” Jake said. “We got (Green Bay) Packers’ tickets too, so we get to freeze our butts twice.”

They drove in with their mother, Jen Trawinski, from Appleton, Wis., who came prepared lugging a shopping bag full of blankets for the bleachers, extra mittens and hats, as well as snow pants. Jen lived in Detroit for 22 years, and was successful in keeping the Red Wings tradition in the family.

“I was born surrounded by Red Wings stuff,” said Jake, sporting a black Wings practice jersey and knit hat. “It sort of just caught on after a while.”

Over two hours before game time, Red Wings’ fans were already crowding the sidewalks near Addison and Clark streets. Matt Janisse and his friends left from Windsor, Ontario at 4:30 a.m., and then walked a mile from his hotel to Wrigley. All in sub-zero temperatures.

“We’re pumped up; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Janisse said. “We didn’t even think we’d be coming, but it all came together and here we are.”

Nick and Nina Hall hold up their homemade sign outside of Wrigley Field before the start of the Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2009. (Photo by Lindsey Ungar)
Nick and Nina Hall clutched a sign reading, “Let’s go Wings, Show ‘em FIRE ON ICE.” Nick works for Chevrolet, and he and his wife were lucky enough to drive Mikael Samuelsson in the Stanley Cup parade down Woodward Avenue last June.

 But will Thursday’s game measure up to that?

“It’s close,” Nina said.

Even Blackhawks’ fans were getting in the Red Wings spirit. John Roth from Woodstock, Ill., paints vintage goalie masks as a hobby. But two of his friends were dressed in Red Wings jerseys — even though they’re all Blackhawks’ season-ticket holders.

“They lost the bet,” Roth chuckled. “They had to wear the Red Wings.”

In Spectator Plaza – just outside of Wrigley Field – fans were grooving to the live band playing “Save a Blackhawk, Ride a Red Wing” — a parody of Big & Rich’s country hit.

Others were getting photos snapped with Red Wings and Blackhawks characters outfitted on stilts, next to enormous blown-up jerseys, or poking their head through a hole to look like they’re actually playing the game. No frowns were found, and fans decked in everything from a Nashville Predators jersey to a San Jose Sharks scarf were taking in the atmosphere.
Amy Kegler, who went to the inaugural Winter Classic, drove eight hours from Buffalo to experience outdoor hockey again.

Last year, Kegler got to Ralph Wilson Stadium at 2 a.m. in the morning to begin tailgating for the game, sleeping in the car to stake out a good parking lot spot.

This year, she’s here for one reason.

“Just watching (former Sabre) Brian Campbell play,” Kegler said. “I want him back!”

Will this year’s version top the snowy shootout from last season?

“As of right now, no,” Kegler said, still an hour and a half before the game.

But she left some room open to change her mind.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89