In that incredible two-week stretch known as the 2005 MLB playoffs, the Chicago White Sox went an incredible 11-1 to win the World Series. They swept the Boston Red Sox. They got four straight complete games in the ALCS to beat the Los Angeles Angels. They heroically capped it off by sweeping the Houston Astros for the championship.
But according to first baseman Paul Konerko, the current streak of the Chicago Blackhawks, who have gone 19-0-3 to start the season, is an even tougher accomplishment. Yep, you read that correctly.
"What they're doing is more difficult because when you're in the regular season it's easy to have a bad one here or there," Konerko told Comcast SportsNet. "When you're in the postseason, that's when you really do have that focus when you see somebody sweep a team or sweep games in a row. So the fact that they're traveling all over the country and playing different teams every night and still pulling out wins, home and away, they're doing it every different way. I'd have to say what they're doing is definitely more impressive."
Toni Kukoc played for the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls team that lit up the NBA that season, shattering a league record going 72-10. They opened the season going 41-3, which included an 18-game winning streak. Living here in Chicago, Kukoc and his family have become avid fans of the Blackhawks. Does he see a connection between those Bulls and these Hawks?
"Yes, actually there's a lot of similarities between these teams. Both are kind of a perfect match of experience, leadership, right attitude, and chemistry," Kukoc said.
What's it like right now inside the Blackhawks dressing room every night? Kukoc has an idea.
"It actually turned out to be really disappointing if we lost a game. It put our thinking level and our expectations at a totally different level. It stayed that way for the whole season, into the playoffs, and the end result is a well known thing."
The Bulls beat the Sonics in six games to win the NBA title. Kukoc is hoping the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. So does Konerko, although he wouldn't mind if they eventually lost a few games first.
"I've watched a lot of their games. From a fan standpoint, I'm almost hoping they have a little bit of a lull, that they might lose some games because they're looking like they might run the table and I don't want to see them have a bad time during the playoffs," Konerko said.
After winning those 72 games in the regular season, Michael Jordan and the Bulls won 15 more in the playoffs to capture their 4th NBA title. For the Blackhawks, it's been an incredible start, but in the end, the only thing that matters is how they finish.
"We had shirts they gave us right before the playoffs that said '72-10 don't mean a thing without a ring,'" Kukoc said. "That was kind of our way to say, 'Okay we did what we did. It's the best record ever, but we've got to finish the whole thing. Win the championship if we want the year to be remembered the right way.'"