NHL Winter Classic 2015: Game Preparations Are Beginning to Jell

Published on 26-Dec-2014 by J Square Humboldt

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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NHL Winter Classic 2015: Game Preparations Are Beginning to Jell

Let's get this out of the way right now.

Announcer dudes! The Swedish embassy is right down the road on K Street.

Call 'em.

Or at the very least, ask the easygoing Chicago defenseman himself himself how to really pronounce his name:

After all, the NHL's now-annual New Year's Day showcase is streamed to a global audience, which includes a rather sizable contingent Sweden, where hockey stands front and center year 'round.

And the Winter Classic is where casual sports fans in the USA start to catch up with them. Their numbers are growing each year, so it's become kind of a deal.

The league clearly wants to put its best skate forward, so it tends to every other little detail with a surgeon's precision.

The Blackhawks, as expected, are performing like a favorite in the gauntlet that is the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Capitals are in their usual dogfight for a playoff berth. Also as usual, if Washington has nothing else, it has highlight-in-waiting Alex Ovechkin.

Of course, another Swede, Niklas Bäckström, and Blackhawk stalwarts Jonathan Toews -- that's a pronunciation crusade for another day -- and Patrick Kane are every bit the headliners as Ovechkin, which makes this Winter Classic well worthy of the big stage.

The weather is projected to be wintry. Not as wintry as the orginal Ice Hotel, perhaps, but no one's gonna be checked into second base. That would be embarrassing on an international broadcast.

Almost as embarrassing as continuously mispronouncing a key player's name when it's so avoidable.