Thursday, May 30, 2013

Unlike Cubbies, Blackhawks found a way to win -- not another way lose

If that had been the Cubs playing the Red Wings, they would have lost in overtime ... and "cursed" again would have been the word of the day, week, month, year, decade and century.

If that had been the White Sox playing the Red Wings, they would have lost in overtime ... and Hawk would have been whining about the dadgum dodobird who cost them the series.

If that had been the Bulls playing the Red Wings, they would have lost in overtime ... and conspiracy theorists would have opined that "of course, the NBA wanted the Red Wings to win."

If that had been the Bears playing the Red Wings, they would have lost in overtime ... and Jay Cutler would have shoved an offensive lineman after J.C.'s game-losing interception.

Thankfully, the Blackhawks were the Chicago team playing the Red Wings.

They weren't happy that a bad offsetting-penalty call nullified Niklas Hjalmarsson's apparent game-winning goal with less than 2 minutes left in regulation. But they quickly got over the disappointment, regrouped during the break before overtime and won it on Brent Seabrook's goal early in OT.

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who is trying to lead his squad to a second Stanley Cup championship in four years, rallied the team after regulation, reminding his mates that the refs hadn't cost the Hawks the series. The Blackhawks, he said, still controlled their own destiny.

"Keep working," Toews said. "We were not going to go away that way."

Yes, it sucks to be victimized by a bad call. But every game in every sport includes hundreds of good plays and bad plays by both teams, good moves and bad moves by both coaches and good calls and bad calls by the officials. It's especially pathetic when a team caves after a bad call or an unfortunate bounce that doesn't even end the season -- yes, I'm talking to you, 1985 Cardinals, 1986 Red Sox and 2003 Cubs.

Many people forget that even after Don Denkinger's screw-up, Bill Buckner's blunder and Steve Bartman's foul play, the Cards, Sox and Cubs still had a chance to prevail. Each memorable moment came in a Game 6 and only tied the series. Instead, St. Louis, Boston and Chicago shrunk from the challenge and folded in Game 7. To this day, fans of those teams blame Denkinger, Buckner and Bartman.

If only those teams -- if only ALL teams -- took fate into their own hands, held themselves accountable and got the job done.

You know, just as Toews and the Blackhawks did.

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