With the rain and mist all day potentially making the ice surface difficult to play on, one of the major concerns regarding the Winter Classic was if the weather was going to impact the quality of play.
The game started a bit slowly, and the lone Blackhawks goal from Michal Kempny took a bounce off of the ice before it bounced off of Jake Allen’s glove and into the net. After watching that goal, scored shorty after a minute’s worth of time elapsed in the first period, you could be excused if you were worried about ice conditions.
The Blues proved that their fans had nothing to worry about, though the Blackhawks; fans may have disagreed. When your team loses an outdoor game 4-1, you can be forgiven for wondering if the ice had something to do with it.
Corey Crawford certainly would’ve agreed with you:
Corey Crawford: "The ice was pretty bad. (The puck) was jumping all over the place."#Blackhawks— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) January 2, 2017
Niklas Hjalmarsson would not:
Niklas Hjalmarsson on the conditions: "The ice was really good. Probably better than the other night in Carolina. No complaints there."— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 2, 2017
Joel Quenneville would agree with Hjalmarsson. Coach Q stated during his post-game press conference that he thought that the ice conditions were fine and didn’t have any outcome on the game whatsoever. The bigger issue was that the Blackhawks aren’t getting enough “greasy goals” in front of the net (I know, I know, stop me if you’ve heard that one), and stated that "[Crawford] did everything he could to get us a point or two."
Jake Allen felt he could view the pucks much better with the fans further back from the ice; the puck didn’t have a crowd to blend into. That helped, but he and Alex Pietrangelo both believed that the ice conditions played no part in the outcome of the game.