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Hawks, Red Wings set to take on the elements
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/1/2009 12:04 AM

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Most of the Blackhawks and Red Wings felt the ice was good enogh after practicing at Wrigley Field on Wednesday, but there were concerns about the sun.

The forecast for today's Winter Classic is for clouds with some snow showers, which would save the players on both sides the worry of what to do about the sun that would be slightly peeking over the first-base grandstand roof.

"It could cause a little bit of a problem, but we'll see," said Cristobal Huet, who was named the Hawks' starting goalie by coach Joel Quenneville. "You can still see the puck, but you might need a little time to adjust. I'll probably have to wear some eye black for sure."

The sun at faceoff would put about half the rink in shade. The end the Hawks will defend twice, on the third-base side, would have Huet looking into the sun.

"Finding the puck through the sunlight might be a little bit of a challenge, but we'll see. It might not be sunny," Quenneville said.

Brent Seabrook wore sunglasses during Wednesday's practice, with most players donning the eye-black patches with their hometown area codes written on them. Brian Campbell wore a tinted visor.

"The sun was a killer at one end until you got used to it," James Wisniewski said.

Both sides figure the ice will be better for the game after a full day Wednesday of people skating on it.

There was some cracking in spots, and when the Red Wings practiced, the league put orange cones down to warn of bad patches.

"It's an issue, but there's nothing you can do about it," Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios said. "Whatever happens it's for both teams and hopefully it's not a hazard as far as injuries."

"Who knows how it's going to be (today)," Campbell said. "There are some obstacles out there, like the sunlight, but we'll have to see how it is for the game."

"The ice was a little chippy, but hopefully it will get better," Martin Havlat said.

A few Hawks sported facemasks under their helmets for warmth. Havlat complained that his toes got cold.

The forecast is for temperatures around 30 degrees with a wind chill of 17 thanks to winds at 20 mph from the south.

"Once you get a little frostbitten out there, you're fine," Campbell said.

The Hawks enjoyed their time on the Wrigley Field ice and had a fun practice.

"We were shooting the puck around at the end of practice and (Campbell) actually put one off the crossbar and the puck went over the right-field wall," Wisniewski said. "It made you realize you were on a baseball field.

"And nobody threw it back, but it was us doing it. If the Red Wings do it (today), they better throw it back."