Rip the conditions, rip the weather, rip the ice if you will, but remember: This wasn't just a game, it was a spectacle.
And as a spectacle, Saturday night at Soldier Field worked out pretty darn well, huh?
Did you see all those smiles as they awaited the opening faceoff, or how they celebrated goals like they did when they were kids on their old backyard rink?
That's stuff you don't normally see.
That's spectacle stuff.
Just ask the coach:
"This is one of the greatest settings you could ever want. The first one was cool. This one was even cooler."
-- Joel Quenneville.
My first thought as I was walking toward the concourse and getting pelted by an icy mix at Soldier Field was that I might actually be the only person out here not wearing either a Blackhawks or Penguins jersey.
My second thought:
Man, where did all these Penguins fans come from?
Simply awesome saga:
How can you not love the mystery surrounding Corey Crawford's missing mask?
The Blackhawks goalie, who was to wear special pads and a mask designed specifically for Saturday night's game, tweeted out Friday that his mask was nowhere to be found.
He ended up wearing the new pads, but had to wear his old goalie mask.
The saga continued:
Love that Dan Bylsma got in on the fun.
The Pittsburgh coach was asked if he had any idea what happened to the mask and replied with a sly look saying, "I don't know anything about it."
Fun in the press box:
Announcement: "The game-time temperature is 17.4 degrees."
Wiseguy in press box: "The temperature in the press box is 19 degrees."
Truthfully, he wasn't too far off.
Marian Hossa left with an upper body injury, but Coach Q said it wasn't long-term.
The true MVPs:
Sure, you could say Jonathan Toews, who scored 2 goals and had an assist.
Or you might choose Corey Crawford, who stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced Saturday.
But for my money, the real MVPs were the dozen or so guys and girls working the shovels and wheelbarrels, all night doing their best to keep the ice surface at least playable.
It was an impossible task but they did their best and made it work.
He said it:
"It wouldn't have mattered if it were inside or outside. They were better and more prepared to play." -- Dan Bylsma, on the loss to the Hawks