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Article posted: 4/19/2013 5:30 AM

Spellman's Scorecard: Blackhawks at Soldier Field true Classic

By Mike Spellman

Here's my lasting image from the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field a few years back:

Blackhawks and Red Wings jerseys flying back and forth inside a rink way out in the middle of a baseball field.

Skates? Sticks? Pucks? Ice?

No dice. Never saw 'em.

In other words, the Classic wasn't really a classic spectator event that frigid New Year's Day unless, of course, you were seated in the upper deck.

But now:

Soldier Field for the Blackhawks-Penguins matchup next March should provide much better sight lines.

Much better.

Plus it can accommodate more fans looking for that once-in-a-decade experience. And, yes, I said decade.

Just a solid choice of venue by the Hawks and the NHL.

Original thinking:

If the Blackhawks make it to the Cup Finals -- and that's still a big if -- how great would it be to see them go up against another Original Six team?

I know a lot of people are hoping for a Hawks-Pens final. But if I had a vote, I'd love it to be Hawks-Canadiens and save the showdown with the Pens for next year on the lakefront.

Speaking of Canada:

Can we go back to calling them Canadian geese?

And also, can we get them to ease up on their tough-guy, this-is-my-office-complex-parking-lot attitude?

Now back to the Hawks:

Love Kaner's improved all-around play this season.

Love it.

But Tazer's still the team's MVP.

Let's make it two:

While it seems like the Hawks clinched their postseason bid in Week 2, the Wolves find themselves fighting for their playoff lives on this the last weekend of the season.

They trail Rockford and Milwaukee by 2 points with just three games to go. Two of those are at the Allstate Arena, starting with a Saturday showdown against the Admirals.

Just saying:

I better not hear the word drought for at least a month.

Loss of a big voice:

Sad to hear of the passing of Pat Summerall, one of the many low-key play-by-play guys from days of yore.

Along with Summerall you had your Schenkels, your Giffords, your Gowdys all with their calm, cool and collected demeanors.

The loudest thing from that generation of announcers were Lindsey Nelson's sport coats.

Devin Hester:

Gunner or Goner?

You can bet on it:

It hasn't been the easiest of years for the folks at Hawthorne, so it's nice to see that they attracted a full field of 14 3-year-olds for Saturday's running of the Illinois Derby, the showcase race of the track's spring meet.

Meanwhile :

The folks at Arlington Park are going at it with the horsemen again, and guess what? Unless an agreement is reached, we could witness another embarrassing opening weekend -- just like last year's.

Remember that? Only 51 horses were entered for the opening day, resulting in a three-horse field in the second race and a four-horse field in the fourth race.

The next day's card wasn't much better -- just 57 horses were entered for the nine races.

Three words: Get it done.

Question:

Can Doug Collins serve as a consultant to the 76ers while living in the Evanston area?

Kudos:

To the Boston Bruins for their pregame tribute to victims of the Marathon bombing.

Beyond touching.

Kudos II:

To Pat Foley for 30 great years in the Hawks' booth.

If you didn't read Bob Verdi's tribute to Foley in the DH last week, you really ought to track it down.

Working numbers:

RJ Bell out of Las Vegas has the Bulls, Nets and Celtics at 60-1 to win the NBA title.

Wonder what it drops to if a certain someone returns to the Bulls' lineup?

Don't think it'll happen, but that would be something, huh?

mspellman@dailyherald.com

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