Congratulations, Chicago Blackhawks!

Since my Bulls-watching schedule freed up immensely around the middle of May, I’ve had some spare time to devote, not, as you might think, to the NBA. When it comes to basketball, it’s my Bulls or nothing.

So I’ve turned to our Hawks, and I’ve truly enjoyed watching them since said Bulls began their summer vacation a little early. [It’s just so darn hard to see that puck moving around the ice…] I still don’t understand too much, other than, first, it’s a good idea to score goals. And second, the goalie should stop the opponent from doing the same. Oh, and everyone seems to lose their teeth.

The Bulls and the Hawks have a lot in common. They share the UC. Yup, they’re neighbors.

The players, coaches, staff, they’re stand-up. There’s no one not to like.

Both prevailed in triple overtime wins in playoff series this season.

And the fights. I thought hockey was supposed to be all about the knock ’em down drag ’em outs. I venture to say the Bulls held their own with the Friday Night Fights at MSG and the playoffs against “that other team” where Big Naz shoved (horrors) “that other guy.” So we’ll call it even.

And, I guess, from a fashion perspective, they’ve both got the red and black going.

However, there are some differences. First and foremost, the Hawks prevailed this season. They are the champs. It wasn’t the Bulls’ year…and while all Chi-town fans want their team to bring it home, for Chicago, this year, it’s our Hawks. And we couldn’t be more proud.

But some of the other key differences have been on my mind. And as I practiced my stellar basketball moves at EBC this morning (watch out DRose – Cinjo’s in town, you better hurry back), I realize someone needs to demystify these Hawks and hockey mysteries for me.

INJURY REPORTS
Why is it no one will say anything about the exact injury? It’s always upper body or lower body. I read the Bruins coach characterized Patrice Bergeron’s injury as a “body injury.” As opposed to what? Out-of-body?

Is it part of the hockey strategy? Since the injuries can essentially be hidden beneath all that padding, why reveal the details if it can give the opponent any kind of advantage?

It’s quite the opposite with basketball, but how could it be any other way. Either you’re in a walking boot, have a bandage on your head, and your arm in a sling, or you don’t. Or you tweet photos of yourself from the hospital bed (Luol Deng). Or leave nothing to the imagination with the barfing into a trash can from the bench (Nate Robinson). I think during one press conference, Jo thanked all 15 of his doctors who helped him deal with the plantar.

PRE- AND POST-GAME ATTIRE
Why is it hockey players look like a million bucks in their fancy suits and all, when they arrive at the games, and during the press conferences, while the Bulls (and I guess other NBA players) roll in wearing jeans, t-shirts, maybe a button-down. But never a suit. Somebody? Anybody? I guess they must not pay those NBA players enough.

NICKNAMES
Since I watched a lot of the local sports coverage from October to May, I caught a fair share of the Hawks on CSNChicago. I noticed the naming convention from the outset. And that is – there’s at least one, if not zillions of nicknames for everyone.

You’ve got Sharpy, Kaner, Tazer (or Captain Serious), Seabs, Zus, Jammer, Shawzer, Crow. When I was listening to Coach Q’s press conferences, I had no idea who he was talking about (other than Sharpy, who I’ve followed since 2010 b/c, well, he’s all-too-easy on the eyes.) I’ve been reading up a little on this nicknames in hockey thing. Yes indeed, it’s a thing. And I’m cool with it.

THE ANTHEM
The Hawks know how to do it right. I’ll be honest, I started watching the home games just for the anthem. Now that is first-class, and makes me proud to be an American.

THE POST-SERIES HANDSHAKE LINE
From an article in The Bleacher Report: “The NHL is the only North American major pro sports league in which players and coaches make it a tradition to shake hands and show their respect for the opponents after every playoff series.” Enough said.

I don’t think I’ll truly ever get hockey. If this blog doesn’t reveal that, I guess you’ve been up celebrating too long. But you heard it here. I will be spending even more time at the UC next season, and it won’t just be to see our Bulls.

Chicago Blackhawks, thanks for an unprecedented season, and the MOST amazing post-season. You’ve got a fan here. But don’t worry, it’s not likely I’ll be taking hockey lessons any time soon or trying to join the first line or the second line, etc. I kinda like my teeth.

Congratulations!

ONE GOAL!

[Editor’s Notes: Listening to 670 the Score this morning, the guys were talking about all of the injuries. So what we thought were “upper body” or “lower body” or “body” injuries were a broken wrist, a sprained MCL. Bergeron reported he really had a broken rib, a torn cartilage and muscles, and a separated shoulder. I get why the coaches won’t reveal these details. It leaves their players vulnerable, because the opponent will go after them. But boy does it make you have EVEN more respect for these guys. And some NBA players, and one in particular, who wears awfully nice suits but didn’t play this season…might want to take notice. I’ve been waiting a long time to say that.]

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