A Rolling Stones concert the night before.
Temperatures expected to reach the mid-80s.
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By the time the puck drops for Wednesday night's crucial Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks know just what to expect from the United Center ice surface: the unexpected.
"I'll be prepared," goaltender Corey Crawford said. "Any sort of dump in or something, I'll be able to attack it on bounces. Just be prepared for those crazy bounces."
It's that time of year again, when talk turns to the ice surface at the UC and, well, you can't always get what you want.
"It's the same for both teams," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "Usually when we go to Joe Louis, it's one of the best ice surfaces in the league.
"I guess it's tougher here for the guys to have the ice in top shape with so many different events here. You've got the basketball, concerts -- I understand it's tough to keep the ice in great shape, but it's the same for both teams, so you can't really complain about it."
And the Hawks players rarely do, preferring to be diplomatic and just hoping for some satisfaction when they finally take the ice.
"It's a busy building; some nights are tough," Jonathan Toews said. "That's the way it is. It's the same for both teams. We can't really worry about that too much.
"If it's chippy a little bit, we'll just have to play a simple game. Can't make too many pretty plays. It's very similar in most buildings."
After allowing what he himself deemed a "brutal" goal to Joakim Andersson to break a 1-1 tie midway through the second period Monday, things could've turned real ugly real fast for Hawks goalie Corey Crawford.
But thanks to the support of his teammates, both emotionally and with their play on the ice, by the time the game ended it was a mute point and the Hawks were heading back to Chicago for Game 7.
"It means a lot," Crawford said of his teammates' support. "You need that as a team to move on, to have everyone backing each other, playing hard for each other.
"It was a lot of emotions there in, I don't know, 30 seconds after that goal. I was able to stick with it and make some big saves in the second when they were pressing.
"And we were able to rally. Our guys just took over after that at the start of third."
Lighting up the power play:
After reaching a point where you almost wondered if the Hawks could decline a penalty instead of going on the power play, the worm has turned. Big time.
"We've seen the last few games that if we work our tails off on the power play things can happen for us," Jonathan Toews said. "It's going to give us energy, whether we score or not. It's going to give us energy for playing 5-on-5 and in the rest of the game."
He said it:
"Yeah, he's fine."
-- Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville discussing the health of a couple of his young players … and some much older guys.