When the NHL and NBC scheduled this game to be their first Sunday afternoon telecast, they probably figured they'd get a lot of attention -- you know, Sunday, two big TV markets, the first rematch of the Stanley Cup finals participants from the previous year since they played in June.
Well, undoubtedly, they didn't figure that the Chicago Bears would be in the NFC Championship Game on the same day, which has reduced this marquee NHL matchup to a footnote in the Chicago media. Fortunately for fans of both the Bears and Blackhawks -- although not so much if you have tickets to both games -- the late morning start time of this game means that it should be just about over at the time the Bears and Packers kick off at Soldier Field this afternoon.
And, this is an important game for the Hawks to make a statement. They did so yesterday in Detroit by convincingly defeating an admittedly depleted (by injury) Red Wings team that is second in the Western Conference. Now, they'll face the East-leading Flyers, who suffered a surprising loss to the awful New Jersey Devils yesterday afternoon. Neither the Hawks, who let Antti Niemi go to the Sharks via free agency, or the Flyers, who sent Michael Leighton to the minors, will have the same goaltender as the last time they met.
Corey Crawford, who made 36 saves and was the third star of yesterday's game, should get the start in goal. The game begins at 11:30 a.m. CST and will be televised on NBC nationally.