UPDATED 04/27/11 6:56 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – Bulls fans haven’t been this optimistic since the days of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson, but Blackhawks fans are coming to terms with the reality that they’ll be watching another team hoist the Stanley Cup.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, fans were experiencing the agony and ecstasy simultaneously Tuesday evening.
“It was fascinating!” one woman said of the Bulls victory. “It was the best experience ever, oh wow! It’s unexplainable, to see them come back, and the Bulls are going to take it all the way!”
Along Madison Street near the United Center Tuesday evening, fans jammed the many bars. Those who stayed past midnight were rewarded with the Bulls’ advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs, with a 116-89 win over Indiana.
As WBBM Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports, at the Crossroads Bar & Grill at 1120 W. Madison St., a favorite Blackhawks bar, the Bulls game was on early and had the fans cheering early and often.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bob Roberts reports
But when the Bulls’ win seemed assured, with 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the televisions and sound system switched over to the ’Hawks game.
The hitting was hard and the goaltending spectacular on ends of the ice, but fans at the Crossroads said it appeared early on, and again in overtime, that the Hawks could not skate with the Canucks.
In the front of the bar, near the door, two Vancouver fans sat, one in a Canucks cap. Vancouver fan Jonathan Pollock said he was irked that his team had to play all seven games before advancing to the second round, but said much-reviled Vancouver goalie Roberto Luongo retains the respect of his teammates and said they play harder for him.
Fans said they expect to be back for a number of additional Bulls games. Several said they expect the Bulls either to clinch the NBA title or make a run deep into the playoffs.
One patron, Ruben, beamed with pride, after the Bulls’ victory.
“I think the Bulls are going to go a long way,” he said. “With Derrick Rose, you know, he’s a winner. He’s a proven winner.”
But after the Vancouver Canucks’ Alex Burroughs slapped a game-winning goal into the upper right corner of the net five minutes and 22 seconds into overtime, another patron, Nick, stood stunned.
“This whole bar was ready to win, and we lost,” he said.
The cheering was still going on early Wednesday morning at the Hollywood Grill, 1601 W. North Ave. Fans said they were ecstatic that the Bulls had won their second playoff series since their last title run in 1998, and their first in four years.
As for the Blackhawks, they fought hard, fans say, but they just didn’t have it this year.
“Unfortunately at the end, we didn’t do the right thing, but we gave them hell. We did give them hell. They should have won to begin with it. But after all, they were three games to none, come back like that and lose like that, it was a little bit disappointing,” one Hollywood Grill staffer said.
“The ’Hawks, I wasn’t, like, thinking that they were that promising this year, to be honest you, after all the trading and everything that was done last year, we don’t have (Dustin Byfuglien), and we kind of needed his oomph, I think to win,” a woman said.
But overall, the Bulls’ victory seemed to overshadow the Blackhawks’ loss.