MINNEAPOLIS -- Not long after their practice had ended at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, a group of Chicago Blackhawks grabbed their cellphones to snap some keepsake pictures.
At the same time, some of their teammates casually made their way to the visitors' locker room. For them it was business as usual, and why not? Chicago's core group of players, including four who will play in their fourth NHL outdoor game, are quite used to playing outside.
But when the Blackhawks face the Minnesota Wild in a 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, SN, TVA Sports), it will be a new experience for more than half of the players on the roster.
"It's crazy," said rookie forward Vincent Hinostroza, who was among those taking pictures and soaking in the surroundings on the University of Minnesota campus. "These [veteran] guys were just walking in here like it's no big deal, because it's their fourth time. I know they're excited too, but they're just used to it.
"The younger guys ... are just kind of in awe right now. We're definitely excited. It's something everyone would like to take part in, and we're pretty fortunate to do that."
That's especially true for Hinostroza, who's from Chicago and made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks earlier this season. In his first full season of professional hockey, Hinostroza was playing for the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League prior to being recalled Feb. 14 to replace right wing Marian Hossa, who is sidelined with a lower-body injury.
"Everything happened this week so fast," Hinostroza said. "I didn't even know when this game was [taking place] or anything, so I really had no idea before I got called up. You don't think about that stuff when you're down there [in the minors]. When I got the call, I kind of looked at the schedule to see the next few games and was hoping to still be here for this. It's great to get the chance to be here."
He'll have plenty of company. Rookie left wing Artemi Panarin, center Artem Anisimov and second-year forward Teuvo Teravainen also are playing outdoors in an NHL game for the first time.
"We've got a lot of new guys out here for the first time getting to play [outdoors]," coach Joel Quenneville said. "The excitement level's a different level. It brings you back to being a kid almost, out there smiling and having fun. But then you've got to know we're playing [the game] for keeps, so it's different emotions and mindset going into the game."
Goalie Corey Crawford, who will start his third outdoor game for the Blackhawks, doesn't expect Chicago's first-timers to experience any stage fright.
"I don't think there's too much to it," Crawford said. "Maybe you don't know what to expect [the first time outdoors], but really you just change the amount of fans out there, the stadium and how long the walk is from the dressing room to the ice. It's maybe a little bit different, but it's still the same game once you get out there."
Practice was largely the same too, right down to the Blackhawks again sharing the ice after their crisp workout with the Wounded Warriors team of veterans.
The only news of the day was a potential lineup switch. It appears rookie defenseman Viktor Svedberg will re-enter the lineup in place of rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson, whose offensive production has fallen off.
Otherwise, Chicago will start with the same forward lines as the past two games. Richard Panik will remain at right wing on the top line with captain Jonathan Toews and left wing Andrew Shaw. Hinostroza will stay at right wing on the fourth line.
Defensively, Trevor van Riemsdyk will continue playing with Brent Seabrook on the second pairing. It will be his first outdoor experience at the NHL level. Van Riemsdyk had to miss last season's 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic in Washington because of an injury.
"Watching it last year, you kind of wished you were out there playing," van Riemsdyk said. "This year will be a lot of fun. It's a great location, they have some great fans [in Minnesota] and I'm sure there will be a lot of [Blackhawks] sweaters that make the trip too."