MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Finally, after years of lobbying to host an outdoor game, the Minnesota Wild will take their skates and sticks to the ice under the winter sky.
Fittingly, they will face the Chicago Blackhawks, the division rival that has eliminated them from the playoffs in each of the last three years and one of the NHL’s premier teams that has already participated in three of these au naturel games.
Fortunately for the Wild, they’re playing well enough a week after the firing of head coach Mike Yeo that they haven’t spoiled the party.
This will be the 17th time the league has staged an outdoor game, including eight editions of the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, but the players who haven’t done this yet will surely find themselves thinking back to those childhood skating sessions at the local park or on the frozen pond for at least a few seconds.
“It’s important to really live in the moment and soak in different situations that you get a chance that you get to be a part of. This is one of them,” Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “Who knows when you get a chance to be in a situation like this or a game…