As we all know by now, the Chicago Blackhawks will play the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field on January 1st, in the most recent iteration of the NHL's "Winter Classic" series. I love the concept, with two Original Six teams battling it out in a chilly outdoor setting in a game that showcases the defending Stanley Cup champs in what will be the most-watched regular season game of the year.
However, can we not pretend that there is any sort of current rivalry between the 'Hawks and the Wings? Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley seems to have other ideas:
When Quigley put together an official resolution Tuesday celebrating the Hawks' outdoor showdown against the Red Wings on New Year's Day at Wrigley Field, he included a secret message to the reigning Stanley Cup champions and their fans.
He used red capital letters in the last line of his resolution to spell out a favorite chant he learned while growing up a Hawks fan ''in the second balcony in Chicago Stadium.'' The letters spelled out, "DETROIT SUCKS."
Besides declaring Jan. 1 will be "Chicago Blackhawks Day" in Cook County, Quigley's resolution designates Wrigley Field and the surrounding area an "Octopus Free Zone" -- a dig at Red Wings fans' tradition of throwing octopi on the ice after their team scores.I can't blame the man for trying to fuel the hype for the Winter Classic, and I have no problem with him celebrating the Blackhawks on New Year's Day. But, Commissioner Quigley, taking childish potshots at Detroit is not recommended. We all know how tremendous Detroit hockey has been in the last decade-plus. Shall we, for a second, go over Chicago's recent hockey history?
- The Blackhawks have not made the playoffs since the 2001-2002 season.
- The last time Chicago made it past the first round was 1996. I was eight at the time.
- Chicago's last Stanley Cup? 1961. Guess the Cubs aren't the only team in Chicago in a bit of a championship drought.
- In 2004, ESPN named the Blackhawks the worst franchise in all of sports.
- In April of this year, the Blackhawks announced that for the first time in team history, all of their games would be televised. Welcome to the late-20th century, Chicago.
- Late owned Bill "Dollar Bill" Wirtz instituted many fan-unfriendly policies before his death in 2007. He raised ticket prices to over $50 on average, and blacked out Blackhawks home games in the Chicago area.
Chicago Blackhawks seasons (Wikipedia)
Blackhawks Announce All Games to Be Televised (Chicago Blackhawks)