2010 Stanley Cup finals: Who has the better pre-game ritual?

In all the breakdowns we’ve done of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers going into the Stanley Cup finals, there’s one debate that seems to really draw the line between the two cities. No, it isn’t the debate between the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and the Chicago deep dish pizza (come on, they’re both delicious), it’s the debate over who honors America/fires up the home team the best way possible.

For years, Chicago has honored America by singing the National Anthem while the hometown fans at the Madhouse on Madison roar, cheer and go out of their mind “bizonkers” as Gary Bettman would say. For those of you doubting how long this has been going on, check out this footage from the All Star Game back in the early 90s at the old Chicago Stadium.

Crazy, right? And I don’t just mean the mullets on some of those fans’ heads either.  Thankfully Patrick Kane is representing for them now.

As for the Flyers, they’ve been honoring America by having the long-since departed Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” before games since the mid-1970s. She became the Flyers good luck charm of sorts during the Broad Street Bullies days when she would come out to center ice and sing it back then, but now it’s a duo with a recording of Kate Smith teamed up with the live singing of Lauren Hart and it’s done pretty well.

So, now the question for you lovely readers of Pro Hockey Talk, who does it the best? Obviously we know where Philly and Chicago supporters will decide and some of the readers at NBC Sports have weighed in already.

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    PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

    Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
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    PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

    In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

    Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

    Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

    The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

    The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

    Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (NHL.com)

    Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

    Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

    Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

    DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

    Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

    Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

    Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

    Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

    Fleury had 21 saves.

    The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

    Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

    The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

    Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

    The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

    Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

    NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.