Friday, May 28, 2010
From the Wayback Time Machine, I present some pictures from not all that long ago... the January 13, 2006 Blackhawks home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the first year after the lockout. I was looking for some pictures from games 1999-2004, but I think any pictures I took at those games were on film, not digital cameras, so these are the oldest pictures I have available from my Blackhawks archives.
The game recap on the Blackhawks website for that date reads: "The Chicago Blackhawks found a team struggling more than they are."
According to the website, the crowd attendance was 20,541 and the "third sellout" of the 2005-2006 season. I can tell you that if it WAS a sellout, it sure didn't feel like it - there were a lot of empty seats scattered throughout the UC that stayed empty for the entire game.
And if there was a sellout, it was probably due solely to this guy, wearing #87 for the Penguins. That's right, Sidney Crosby playing his first game against the Chicago Blackhawks, at the UC. (Unfortunately, this digital camera sort of sucked, so this is about the only semi-clear shot I have of Crosby from the entire game.)
This was the only game the Blackhawks played against the Penguins for the 2005-06 season, which means I got to witness Crosby's rookie debut against the Hawks. I knew that he was already making history: as one of the most highly-regarded draft picks in hockey history, the rookie was already sporting an "A" on his chest for just under a month at this point.
The funny thing? I don't even remember being particularly impressed by his play that night. At a point when the Hawks were struggling to rebuild, they actually looked better than the Penguins that night. First-year Blackhawk Patrick Sharp was in the lineup that night, as was rookie Duncan Keith - but so were a lot of now-forgotten players.
Look closely at this picture and who do you see? That's right, Patrick Sharp (#10) at the top right, playing his first season with the Blackhawks after being traded from the Philadelphia Flyers. And who is that in front of rookie goalie Adam Munro? Why, it's #2, Duncan Keith, also playing his first - and rookie - season with the Chicago Blackhawks. Sharp was one of the three stars of the game that night.
Oh, look, it's goalie Marc-André Fleury, in his second year with the Penguins. His rookie year had actually been 2003-4, which he also played partially with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. During the 2004-05 lockout, he played for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. So wow, this game was just chock-full of rookie/newbie goodness.
And here's Martin Lapointe, during his first of three seasons with the Blackhawks after a long career with the Red Wings and the Bruins. Lapointe played one season with the Senators after the Hawks, and is now a scout for the Blackhawks.
And on a last note, this is what the Ice Crew looked like when they were still sponsored by a PG-13 product (Mt. Dew), and thus actually still wore clothes. I liked this look so much better than the current outfits.