In case it slipped your mind during all the Olympic excitement, the Pittsburgh Penguins will play the third outdoor game in franchise history this Saturday at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
The game against the Blackhawks is the finale to the NHL’s inaugural Stadium Series, which included tilts at Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium in late January. As has become the custom, the Penguins and Blackhawks will wear special jerseys for their al fresco matchup, but there’s more that will look different under the lights.
Much like New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist donned pinstriped pads for his games on the Yankees’ home turf, Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury took inspiration from Saturday’s NFL playing surface in helping design a Steelers-themed mask he will use against the ‘Hawks.
According to photos posted by David Hutchinson of InGoal Magazine, Fleury’s new mask is a near replica of what the Steelers have worn for decades, albeit with a Penguins logo on the right side instead of the familiar US Steel-derived mark. Artist Stephane Bergeron, who has designed many of Fleury’s masks during his pro career, also took the lead on this one:
It’s a nice touch for Fleury, who will undoubtedly win points with Pittsburgh sports fans for the concept. He’s shown in the past he’s not afraid to “cross the streams” when it comes to the local clubs, whether he’s waving a Pirates flag or a Terrible Towel.
The Penguins and Blackhawks are scheduled to face off at 8 p.m. ET Saturday from Soldier Field, home of the NFL’s Bears. It’s the first of two meetings this season between Pittsburgh and the defending Stanley Cup champions.
The Pens are 1-1 in outdoor games all-time, both of which have been competed in NFL stadiums. They topped Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium on New Year’s Day 2008 in the first Winter Classic, then lost to the Capitals exactly three years later at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.