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Wednesday: From the Wings side of things

by Mike G. Morreale / Detroit Red Wings

11:50 a.m. CT

Wings assistant Brad McCrimmon stopped by to chat with a few media members during the Hawks skate.

He's obviously excited about the game. In addition to the possible snow that's looming in the forecast, there also an annoying glare from the sun shining brightly across both benches on the far side of the boards closest to the outfield. McCrimmon informed us he wouldn't be wearing any eye black, as most players were, to assist his sight in the case the sun is out on New Year's Day.

He also admitted a light snowfall wouldn't be the worse thing for the game. McCrimmon's 11-year-old son will be skating with the Wings players and coaches following their practice in the afternoon.

11:30 a.m. CT

While the Blackhawks were preparing for their team picture on the ice at Wrigley, Wings coach Mike Babcock and many of his assistants came out to take in the atmosphere.

It was pretty funny, actually, as Babcock and Brad McCrimmon were looking through the plexi-glass, pointing and grinning ear-to-ear. The boys just love hockey! They were bundled up pretty good too! Those heavy duty Red Wings winter jackets were certainly heavy enough to do the trick.

It'll certainly be something special for the families of each side when they are able to hit the ice with the players following each team's practice session.

10:40 a.m. CT

A cold but relatively calm day here at Wrigley but the joint is certainly jumping.

Final preparations are being made and the Detroit Red Wings are feeling pretty good after an industrious 4-0 victory over the Hawks at The Joe on Tuesday night.

Before they begin gliding on the ice,  however, the Red Wings will have to trudge 175 feet, meandering through the bowels of Wrigley before finally reaching the ice. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, have less than 50 steps to the ice.

I've heard of home ice advantage, but that's ridiculous. Still, it's all a part of the game, which should be pretty thrilling.

Wings coach Mike Babcock has announced that Ty Conklin, fresh off his 36-save shutout on Tuesday, will be his starter between the pipes on Thursday.

I'll find out the status of Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom at their afternoon skate from 1:30-3:30 pm.


4:21 p.m. CT

I'm pretty sure that none of the players from the Red Wings and the Blackhawks will be wearing Micron brand skates when they take the ice for tomorrow's practice. I'm also pretty sure that they won't get winded lacing said skates.

Yet, even with those two crucial differences being acknowledged, I must say I felt a little like a NHLer when I took to the playing surface Tuesday afternoon for a skating session for the media covering the Winter Classic.

-- Shawn P. Roarke

3:07 p.m. CT

After skating on his ice with his own crew this morning and then seeing how it reacted when 200 or so skates belonging to media members slashed through it this afternoon, NHL Facilities Operations Manager Dan Craig has advice for fans preparing to watch the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.

"You better put on your seat belt because you're going to be in for a show," Craig said.

If the weather cooperates as expected, Craig expects a super fast game between two highly skilled teams in the Blackhawks and Red Wings. Staff Writer Shawn P. Roarke contributed to this report.

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