“Are you ready
Are you ready for this
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat
Out of the doorway the bullets rip
To the sound of the beat. “ – John Deacon
By Rich Lindbloom
One of my favorite things in life is when I see musicians that I’m not really familiar with, and they proceed to blow my socks off. The smaller the venue, the better. It can be jazz, blues, rock even a great musical like Wicked. One of the most exquisite shows I ever went to was at the Park West, on a cold December night. I think it was a WXRT show featuring Phillip Aaberg, Liz story and Night Noise. Before that night, I was unfamiliar with all three artists. I remember the Irish guy from Night Noise labeling one of Aaberg’s pieces “The NutRocker.” All three played individual sets before joining forces in a “grand” finale. What’s that, you never heard of any of them? – That’s what I’m talking about.
Another revelation occurred at the closing ceremonies of last year’s Summer Olympics, as a multitude of famous British musicians performed in the huge stadium. One of the musicians was a slender grey haired guitarist who came out by himself and coaxed sounds out of his guitar that were somewhat other worldly. (How many of you knew Brian May had a Doctorate in Astrophysics?) After a wailing solo on his homemade “Red Special” for about five minutes, he eventually broke into the Another One Bites The Dust song. It was at that point I was able to put two and two together. I was never a huge Queen fan – I knew their hits of course, and their front man Freddy Mercury. With his flamboyant style, Mercury tended to dominate my perception of the band. Little did I realize what a virtuoso queen’s guitarist Brian May is. Needless to say I had trouble locating my socks after this treat.
What better song though to capture the essence of “The Streak.” “And another one’s gone and another one’s gone…” bump, bump, bump! How can you not dance to that song? The only problem is, I can’t get it out of my head. I’ll gladly keep humming it though as long as the Blackhawks keep up this incredulous unbeaten record, now standing at 21-0-3. Take a good look at that zero – that’s what makes the streak so unique. We’re halfway through the regular season and there still isn’t a blemish in that middle category. Zilch, nada, squat, what the little boy shot at.
Jeff Bartl, (editor of Cheer the Anthem), in a recent recap said he has run out of adjectives to describe what the Hawks have done. I have a word for you Jeff;
even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious,
If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious,
I was fortunate enough to be sitting in the company skybox when we played the Wild. Fans who braved the inclement weather, (was there ever a doubt), were rewarded with a rare first period explosion, highlighted by the Bryan Bickell/Brandon Saad show. What is the world coming to when Bryan Bickell is named #1 Star two out of the last three games? The game was slightly delayed, not as a result of the challenging weather, but due to the 1,000th game Marian Hossa Tribute. It was quite a sight to see all those #81 jerseys flying around during warm-ups – go ahead – try to find Waldo. Rumor has it Big Cheyene was underneath one of the helmets.
John McDonough made a salient point of highlighting one of the aspects of Hossbollah’s game that never ceases to amaze me – his play at both ends of the ice. Watching Big Hoss backcheck is like holding on to a security blanket. Not that he’s too shabby at the other end of the ice, notching 417 goals and 487 assists in the NHL’s regular season. Marian made a move in the third period of the Blue Jacket game last Friday that could only be described as some sort of deal with Mephistopheles. With two Jacket defenders close enough to breathe down his neck, he moved the puck back, then quickly forward and both Columbus players swallowed the bait – hook, line and sinker. I believe the last move, back towards the blue line, went between one of the harried defender’s legs. They ended up crashing into each other and Hossa had enough space and time to read the Sunday paper. Seriously, those series of moves were Houdini-ish.
Another Hawk who prides himself on back checking, number 36, returned from the all-encompassing upper body injury, logging over 18 minutes against the Wild. Bolland skated with noted enthusiasm, adding some spark to our second line. The following night, he made a play on Tazer’s shorty that left many Avalanche fans smelling a rat. When the announcer said, “Watch what Dave Bolland does on this play…”, one just immediately suspected some sort of skullduggery. What he did was give a seemingly innocuous tap to 6’1”, 210# Jamie McGinn’s stick, leaving the only Avalanche defender who had a chance to stop Toews without a weapon. McGinn must have felt intense shame after the game. Oh Ratigan, oh Ratigan, hockey’s greatest criminal mind.
Tazer snuck one by Varlamov, who was locked in a pretty exciting duel with the undefeated Ray Emery, now 11-0. Both netminders stopped several prime scoring chances throughout the game. If you contrasted the two goalies styles, it would appear that Varlamov is much smoother. Razor? – Well, smooth is not an adjective I would use to describe him. Courageous, indomitable, feisty, doggedly determined– absolutely. Perhaps Jeff Bartl described him the best though in his recap after the game. “Razor is getting the job done whenever his number is called.”
By the way, Nick Leddy made another one of his patented rushes up ice last night, skating through the miserly Avalanche zone trap like they were standing still. I was at my friend’s house and commented, “That was Bobby Orr-ish.” Or at least Brain Campbell like. When I told my boss that at work, he told me a story of when he took a customer to a Hawk/Bruins playoff game many moons ago. The customer knew nothing about hockey but did note after the game, “That number four seemed better than everyone else.” Ya think!
Rubin made one other observation from the past that really caught my attention, after I had mentioned I saw the Golden Jet at the Wild game. It just so happened that Bobby Hull was in the suite directly next to ours. I suspect that a lot of you young hockey players out there, don’t realize what Bobby Hull was to hockey in his day. Just like kids now a day’s idolize Kaner and Toews, Bobby and Stan Mikita are probably the main reasons I fell in love with this game. I fought off the urge to bother him for about 10 minutes before he finally made eye contact with me. I said “Bobby, I’ve got to tell you something. Nick Leddy reminds me of you the way he circles behind the net, winds up, and skates down the ice.” Of course Hull could do that with one hand controlling the puck and the other hand holding back two defenders. But you sort of hold your breath when Leddy gets one of those “Cover me, cuz I’m going in mindsets.” I know it’s a terrible comparison, but Hull at least humored me with a smile.
I also asked Bobby if he remembered an in between period interview with Lloyd Petit when he had his son Brett sitting on his lap. Brett was probably about four years old. At one point in the interview, Brett threw a solid right into his dad’s solar plexus, clearly stunning the Golden Jet. He laughed at that memory and I can only suspect Brett got a spanking when the interview ended.
At any rate, my boss mentioned that he once played golf with Billy Reay at a charity event. Rubin asked Reay if he thought Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of all time. When you think about the best of all time, a few names immediately pop into your head; Richard, Orr, Gretzky, Lemieux, and Howe. I’m sure you could add one or two to the list. However, Reay’s answer surprised me when he said, “Bobby Hull was the greatest – Gretzky just worked harder at it.”
Probably the hardest working player on the current Hawk roster, Andrew Shaw, took a vicious elbow to the noggin from Paul Stastny on Wednesday. I wanted to crawl through the flat screen and ring the announcer’s neck when he tried to downplay the nastiness of the despicable cheap shot by saying, “He got his arm up a little high on that one.” It was a blatant elbow to the head, one that Shanahan should take a look at. Something tells me if Chicken Hawk is able to dress tonight, that he may exchange pleasantries with Stastny. Our tertiary line is a lot better known for their macho-ness than their IQ! In fact, their line seems to be driven by two words, “Go Fetch!”
All’s well that ends well, as that bard so aptly put it, and when Danny Carcillo knocked home a rebound, the Hawk win streak went to 11 straight games. Perusing the various Hawk blog sites, it was quite obvious that Carcillo is not a fan favorite, especially when it means taking The Saadfather off the Captain’s line. I thought Carbomb was working pretty hard in the first period though and told my friend, “I’d like to see Carcillo score a goal tonight.” This is not to be construed as Carcillo love by any means, but if Q’s going to play him, I might as well root for him. Little did I know it would be the game winner – oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling!”
Finally, I received a text from a friend who told me her and her daughter were going to the Av’s game. “I’m so excited,” she exclaimed. Then she said her daughter was worried that they might jinx the hawks. “What if we go and they lose?” said Rachel with considerable consternation. I told them the answer to this dilemma was quite simple; if they lose, with about two minutes left in the game, stand and give them the loudest ovation they ever heard. In fact, I want to hear the ovation in Homewood. Then I noted Rachel might be a jinx, and Katie probably should take me. I just hope I’m there when this streak comes to an end.
Of course, I hope we continue to sing and dance to Queen’s pullsating Another One Bites the Dust for a few more games! I’m thinking Frank Pellico could funk up that song a bit! You may even want to hone up on your dancing skills by watching the ending of Napoleon Dynamite. C’mon, move those hips a little now. If that doesn’t help you, Google Queen playing that song and study Freddy Mercury’s moves. You know that’s right.
“And another one’s gone, and another one’s gone
Another one bites the dust”
Bullets on important stuff:
We met Steve Konroyd in the hall between the first and second periods. Nathalie noted that he was a lot cuter in life than on the TV! Also, the puck is taped to his stick, just in case you were wondering.
A co-workers wife, Chris G., was appalled at the Wild’s uniform. They clearly offender her. I’m guessing she has something against the color green.
Queen had 18 number one albums and 18 number one songs. How is it I never noticed Brian May until last year’s Olympics?
The Golden Jet scored 610 goals and 560 assists in his storied career. He also has a hand the size of a bear paw. He had five seasons with the Hawks where he scored 50 or more goals.
Ray Emery’s goalie style could best be described as “Get in the trunk.” More on that in a future piece.
Is Minnesota close enough to Canada that we could play both the anthems?
I still haven’t decided who I’d pick first in a draft, Tazer or Kaner.
Corey Crawford is currently second in mock voting for the Vezina trophy. Been a long time since the Hawks had one of those guys.
If you ever get a chance, see the ChicagoKingsnakes(.com) – a local bluesy type band. The lead guitarist will knock your socks off. He’s a trip.
I love snow!
Rich Lindbloom is the author of the book War Drums in the Distance: Special Moments in a three year quest for hockey’s Holy Grail, a collection of pieces written on the Chicago Blackhawks return to prominence and up to the team’s 2010 Stanley Cup Championship. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com or for the Kindle.