By Paul M. Banks
Chicago Blackhawks top scorer Patrick Kane headed to the locker room with a knee injury during the first period of Tuesday night’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, but returned to action in the second. January 1, the Blackhawksâ€™ franchise (and perfectly healthy) player will, along with his teammates, host the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field, in NHL Winter Classic 2009. (noon on NBC) Earlier this week, â€œKanerâ€ answered questions about the outdoor battle with the Wings on conference call.
â€œThis year it seems to be really high-scoring and real close games. Both games have gone to a shootout, one was 6-5, another 5-4. That’s what the fans want to see. They want to see a lot of goals and a lot of up-tempo, a lot of skill in the game and two fast teams…Every game against the Red Wings is important, especially when we are trying to chase them right now,â€ he said regarding the teamâ€™s bitter rival.
Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who played in the â€™08 Winter Classic gave Kaner some advice about playing in the game. â€œI think it’s probably going to be a little frustrating out there. The ice is going to be a little different. They are going to have to fix it up a little bit more than you do in a regular game. The game is going to be longer. Sometimes you get cold out there and you’ve got to deal with that too,â€ Kane said.
Kane will unveil and use personally-designed skates and stick during the Winter Classic. Only 88 skates and 88 sticks were created for this special event and Kane, the only player wearing them, will personally sign and auction off a portion of the limited edition product to raise money for breast Cancer research.
â€œThe skates and stick are the colors of the Blackhawks and should go well with the uniform, but at the same time, itâ€™s a little bit of showtime,â€ Kane said. â€œHopefully when I step out onto the ice, people will say â€˜Oh wow, look at the skates Kaneâ€™s wearing.â€™ You know the old saying, â€˜Look good, feel good, play goodâ€™â€ Kane said before adding, â€œItâ€™s really exciting to look at a skate and design it to exactly how you want it to be made. To be able to give back to the community makes the whole experience even more special.â€Follow paulmbanks