As the building fills up, the big videoboard above center ice is showing the Blackhawks playing their customary soccer game, a new time-honored tradition that goes on outside of nearly every dressing room in the NHL.
Every media member here spent the morning trying to figure out all the possible clinching scenarios for the Blackhawks and where they could wind up playing. I was just in a conversation with two members of the Chicago Tribune and a Blackhawks' PR member discussing the merits of Anaheim, where the Hawks will be headed if they are able to beat the Wings today.
Of course, we were all putting the proverbial cart before the horse. The Red Wings will have their say against the Blackhawks today and could decide who they play in the first round of the playoffs, either Phoenix or Nashville.
If Detroit wins the Predators will be coming to Hockeytown this week. If the Blackhawks win, the Coyotes come to Joe Louis Arena.
Chicago could end up as high as fifth or as low as ninth at the end of the day.
"There are four scenarios," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville
said this morning. "The fourth one is not a good one. So, let's take care of business."
So much on the line here at United Center this afternoon.
The scoreboard clock reads under 20 minutes now, so the teams should be on the ice for warmups soon. Fans are lining along the glass to try to get a glimpse of their favorite players. There is a buzz.
"Anything can happen," Quenneville added. "We still control our own destiny. We're still trying to get to where we want to get to. We'll know at the end of the day."