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Kane Eager For Winter Classic To Arrive

Saturday, 12.27.2008 / 5:29 PM / NHL Winter Classic 2009
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Kane Eager For Winter Classic To Arrive
Like a lot of fans, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is eager for the arrival of Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

CHICAGO — Patrick Kane is logging on to NHL.com quite often these days.

"I've been watching the time lapse on the computer," Kane told NHL.com, referring to the high-speed video detailing the construction of the Wrigley Field rink. "I have been reading everything. I think it's just fun. It's just really cool to be a part of. It's cool to see everything and it's cool that everyone is talking about it."

To the Blackhawks, it's also cool that they're getting away from the Windy City for a few days.

Following their 5-1 victory over Philadelphia on Friday, the Hawks travel to Minnesota, where they play the Wild on Sunday. From there, the Hawks fly to Detroit for a preview of the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night.

By being away from Chicago and the all the Winter Classic hype, the Hawks feel as though they'll be able to focus all of their energy where it should be: on gaining four points during this quick two-game road trip before they come home to the hoopla.

The Hawks won their eighth straight game Friday night when they beat the Flyers. The eight-game winning streak ties a franchise record.

"Our team is pretty focused," Hawks forward Patrick Sharp told NHL.com before Friday's game against Philadelphia at the United Center. "The players and coaches are good about talking about the next game. We know (the Winter Classic) is coming and those days are going to be pretty exciting when it does get here, but it hasn't really taken anything away from our team focus. We're worried about the Flyers (Friday) and our road trip in the next couple of days."

"We're on a role right now and our focus is keeping that going more than anything and keeping the energy and enthusiasm up," defenseman Duncan Keith told NHL.com.

Given a chance to think about it, Kane agreed with Sharp's assessment, but he's so excited about the Winter Classic that he wouldn't mind if the Hawks' next two games were at home so he could not only enjoy the hype, but be a part of it as well.

"Now that you mention it, for our sake it's probably better that we're on the road," Kane said. "If we were at home we might not be worrying too much about the games we're playing. It's good for us to get away to make sure we're doing the right things and playing the right way and not thinking about anything else."

That's not so easy considering the Winter Classic has dominated a lot of the Hawks' conversations and interviews lately. Plus, they can't wait for the big day to get here either. They're like little kids waiting outside in line at the candy store.

Why won't it just open already?

"It feels like it's the Super Bowl — we have been talking about it for so long and promoting it," Sharp said. "I can remember watching the Pittsburgh-Buffalo game last season, and that was just a regular-season game. I probably wouldn't have watched Pittsburgh and Buffalo unless it was outdoors.

"Everybody is going to be watching that game. Everybody wants tickets to be at the stadium."

"Unless you're that (Ty) Conklin guy, you probably only get to play in this game once in your life," Kane said, referring to the Red Wings goalie who has already played in the first two NHL outdoor games. "It's fun to soak it all in and one of the big things is not to look so much at the final result, but to enjoy the process and everything that is going on with it."

Sharp said he can't wait to just "look around and see the amount of people that are (going to be) there. It's going to be neat being on national TV in both Canada and the U.S."

Kane has been thinking a lot about the walk from the dugout onto the ice for warmups.

"It's also just playing in the game," he added. "You come down on a 2-on-2 or a 3-on-2 and you then realize you're outdoors in Wrigley Field…it's cool to think about that."

First things first, though.

"If we're on the road, away from the city of Chicago and all the hype that is around here, maybe it will give us a little urgency at the task at hand against two pretty good teams in Detroit and Minnesota," Kane said. "It's obviously big for us to win those games, especially against Detroit so we can gain on them and see how close we can get to them."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com

Author: Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer