By George Ofman-
(CBS) And I thought God was a Cubs fan.
I think Harry Caray tried to make us believe that. Little did I realize he wears extra large pads, has shiny silver skates and coaches a team called “Angels on Ice.” Something has to explain these Blackhawks. Can’t be as easy as “We have four lines working: there’s a commitment to both ends of the ice and our goaltending has been outstanding.”
You don’t do 22 straight games to start a season with at least a point in each without some kind of cosmic occurrence. Did a meteor heading for Chicago spot the Indian head and make an abrupt turn toward Russia? Was that a UFO whizzing over Schaumburg, or just a slap shot by Seabrook?
Or do we dare invoke divine intervention?
I’m starting to believe there are forces other that Patrick Kane, who is playing out of this world, that are helping to contribute to the Hawks’ phenomenal streak. I mean, how do you explain them being 2 1/2 minutes from having this seemingly endless run end and a Red Wing’s player suddenly and inexplicably shoots the puck out of the rink and gets a delay of game penalty? And then Kane scores 30 seconds later. And then Kane gets the only goal in a shootout.
I’m trying to phone heaven but the line is busy. Must be Blackhawks fans trying to get through. There’s has to be something in the air. Maybe Kane was whisked away after some tumultuous behavior issues and transported to the planet “You Gotta Be Kidding Me.” Maybe he’s spreading that something special in the Hawks locker room. Could he have returned to earth an Angel? Kaner? Has anyone detected wings underneath his sweater?
Whatever it is, the Hawks are playing as if they decide to lend the Stanley cup to the Bruins and Kings. There is perceptible bounce to their step, as if someone added rocket fuel to their skate boot. They hit the ice flying: a group programmed to deliver a dizzying display of hockey brilliance. They aren’t punishing their opponents with their bodies, just dominating them with persistence. If Kane isn’t dazzling, Toews is instilling his will or Hossa is hogging the puck.
At times, it doesn’t seem fair. But it’s a joy to watch.
Patrick Sharp offers credit to the man behind the bench. “Joel Quennville knows how to push the right buttons” he says with some reverence. Quennville exclaims incredulously he has so many buttons to push.
This is another way of the head coach saying it’s a joy to coach this team.
Either that or those wings are hidden under Coach Q’s Suit: Or Corey Crawford’s blocker: Or Ray Emery is actually a Saint.
I Covered the Hawks of the 80’s, one lead by the diminutive lightning bolt named Denis Savard. The Chicago Stadium was then what the United center is today minus the electronic gadgetry. Those Hawks had pizzazz, Secord and Larmer. Doug Wilson could outshoot anyone and of course, they had Baaaaaanerman! But they never won a cup, even when a rugged riptide named Roenick joined them. There was this guy named Gretzy and a team called the Oilers and then a guy named Lemiux and a team called the Penguins. But the Hawks received high marks for fabulous entertainment.
And now, two seasons removed from lofting Lord Stanley’s elusive Urn, these Hawks are playing as if retuning it to the shores of Lake Michigan is a foregone conclusion.
It doesn’t quite work that way unless someone with the ultimate skybox seat happens to have a season ticket. And an endless loop of Chelsea Dagger.
George Ofman is a sports anchor and reporter for WBBM Newsradio 780 & 105.9FM.