Blackhawks, Bruins set for Winter Classic at Notre Dame
The Chicago Blackhawks have dug themselves a deep hole when it comes to playoff positioning, but they hope there is still time to make a move.
The way the Blackhawks have played of late sure hasn't hurt.
The Blackhawks will enter Tuesday's Winter Classic against the Boston Bruins having won five of their last six games. Chicago -- whose struggles cost coach Joel Quenneville his job earlier this year -- will start the new year against the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium looking to continue its recent surge. Patrick Kane's overtime winner on Saturday lifted Chicago to its latest victory in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
Now, the Blackhawks hope to use Tuesday's game as a springboard to what they hope is a productive second half of the season.
"We've done a good job of staying in the moment the last few weeks," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton told reporters on Monday. "Obviously, we went through a really tough stretch results-wise, but one thing I've been really impressed with our group is that they didn't quit. They just kept playing. The attitude was great throughout as good as you could expect but even within the games.
"We'd fall behind 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, which no one wants to be in that situation, but most nights, we battled back and the commitment and work ethic and energy and positivity has been really great. That says a lot about the group and that's part of why we've been able not only to play better lately but get some more results and that gives us some positive energy coming into this event and it's a lot easier to enjoy something like this when we come in with some wins."
The Bruins, meanwhile, enter Tuesday's game having won six of their past 10 games and are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.
Boston's Brad Marchand will likely be a game-day decision as to whether he plays against the Blackhawks after he missed Saturday's game with an upper-body injury. But Marchand was a full participant in Monday's practice in South Bend, Ind., and said he hopes he can play on Tuesday.
Asked how important it was that he play in the annual outdoor game, Marchand turned to sarcasm.
"It's so important that I faked that I was hurt last game," Marchand joked with reporters on Monday, according to the Boston Herald. "Pretty important."
Although it's just another game on the schedule, Marchand said players don't treat the Winter Classic that way.
"It's an event," Marchand said, according to the Herald. "At the end of the day, it's just another game in the regular season, but I think it's the event, the experience of the whole thing. . . . It's the whole experience that you miss out on. At the end of the day, it is just two points, but it's a lot more than that for family and friends."