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updated: 2/28/2014 9:55 AM

Plenty of memorable big events in Hawks' past

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  • Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane carries out the Stanley Cup from Grant Park after the celebration in Chicago.

       Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane carries out the Stanley Cup from Grant Park after the celebration in Chicago.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Not many of the Blackhawks have even seen the rink at Soldier Field that has been constructed for Saturday's Coors Light Stadium Series game against Pittsburgh.

"No, but I looked at the pictures," said Hawks winger Kris Versteeg. "They've had some pictures and it looks pretty amazing. I'm very excited about the opportunity to be able to play there.

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"I know the last time we got a chance to play an outdoor game at Wrigley, it was an experience that I got to have with a lot of friends and family and this is likewise. I have a lot of friends and family coming out, who are just as excited for this one and I'm excited to see what all those people look like."

The Hawks and Penguins will practice at Soldier Field tonight.

"That'll be a fun experience as well," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I just think practicing going forward and in between game days the rest of the year, we've got a lot of games and not a lot of days as well. So I don't foresee spending too much time at practices and morning skates."

The Hawks have had the opportunity to host many special events the past few years as they have risen as an elite team, such as two Stanley Cup Finals and the outdoor game at Wrigley Field.

Where do they rank? Let's see if you agree with my list.

1. Stanley Cup, 2010:

When Patrick Kane beat Flyers goalie Michael Leighton in overtime in Game 6, it snapped a 49-year championship drought for the Hawks.

The parade and celebration that followed were a spontaneous outpouring of affection from the die-hard fans that had waited so long to let loose.

The combination of the 49-year wait and the fact that the Hawks finally were champions made it extra special.

2. Stanley Cup, 2013:

It's the most famous 17 seconds in franchise history, the span of time late in the third period of Game 6 at Boston between goals by Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland that gave the Hawks their second championship in four years.

Bolland's goal still seems like a dream.

3. Winter Classic at Wrigley:

The 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, the vision of Hawks president John McDonough, had to be seen to be believed.

The scenes and pageantry were second to none, from the iconic scoreboard to the packed rooftops. Unfortunately, the Hawks lost 6-4 to Detroit despite a strong start that saw Brent Seabrook dump Dan Cleary into the Hawks' bench with a check.

4. All-Star Game, 1991:

There wasn't a dry eye in Chicago Stadium when Wayne Messmer belted out the national anthem just days after the start of the Persian Gulf War. It was both emotional and unforgettable, the way the flag-waving fans reacted with their banners and their loud cheers.

5. Stadium Series, 2014:

This is where the Chicago game should rank, barring something special happening. Soldier Field isn't Wrigley Field, but it's still a special venue.

Goalies Corey Crawford, Antti Raanta and Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins have special equipment they will wear for the occasion. Fleury's mask will be painted like a Pittsburgh Steelers football helmet, and Raanta's mask will pat homage to Hawks Hall of Fame goalie Ed Belfour.

"I think it looks awesome," Versteeg said. "If I was Eddie the Eagle, I'd be pretty pumped. I think it looks pretty sweet."

6. Stanley Cup, 1961:

It was April 16 and the Cup was a lot easier to win back then as the Hawks beat Detroit 5-1 at the old Olympia in Game 6 to claim their third championship.

7. Stanley Cup, 1934:

The Hawks win their first Cup in double overtime against Detroit on a goal by Harold "Mush" March.

8. Stanley Cup, 1938:

The Hawks win their second Cup in five years, beating Toronto in the Final.

9. Game 7 vs. Montreal, 1971:

It was one of the greatest games ever played in Chicago, Game 7 of the Final against Montreal at the Stadium. The Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead but couldn't hold it and lost 3-2 on Henri Richard's tiebreaker in the third period.

10. Game 6 vs. Canucks, 2009:

This was the game in which Kane and the Hawks arrived as the new heroes in town.

Kane scored a hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks and Roberto Luongo to win the semifinal series, sending the Hawks into the Western Conference finals against Detroit. Luongo would cry after the loss while the Hawks would go on to lose to Detroit, but it was all part of the learning process of how to win.

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