Olympic Glory

Olympic Glory

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010
9:19 AM

Its that time once again when the world, or at least a part of it, comes together to celebrate sport. Sorry if youve (not) heard this before, but is anyone paying attention? Besides the NHL involvement, I cant say that Ive heard anyone talking about it. Wheres Gillooly when you need him? Wheres the hype machine? Well as were about to find out, sometimes you dont need one. I know theyve been X-gamed out a little bit, but the Winter Olympics always seemed to be a little more fun to me, a little more about the athletic endeavor. I mean, you ski how far, then shoot things? Now that takes dedication! Not to mention, what a great idea. There should be more tings that combine a sport with shooting things. Oh, right, we already have the NBA!

Obviously the best thing about these games will be the individual and collective inspirational stories of the athletes involved. (Im not always old and bitter, well almost!) For the most part I like everyone else, dont know about many of the athletes (or sports) that Im about to be compelled by, but I will. Well not all of the sports. I swear they explain the rules of curling at every Olympics (even the summer ones!) and I can never remember what the heck theyre trying to do. And another thing, what is the difference between the skeleton and luge? Any other sports that can be reversed? (Easy!)

Anyway, what I always take from any Olympics, after I get through all of the baggage, is the thrill of competition and what it means to these athletes. For some of us, as you get older, the competitions get further and further apart, so most of my thrill of competition is to watch those waging it. For the vast majority of these competitors, this is it. No big endorsements or pro careers. They get one or two shots at achieving greatness and thats it. Thats a lot of pressure. When someone is able to achieve success, or near, you cant help but not feel for them. Or better yet, feel a connection with them. As we all go through our lives, we all face many battles and hurdles along the way. But we persevere because thats what we have to do, usually anonymously and without a lot of fanfare, same as many of the winter athletes. There arent as many sports, nor as many viewers. But the humanness of competition, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat will be felt by all of us who do watch.

So sit back, or come into your favorite establishment (33 W. Kinzie) and enjoy the Games as they unfold with the understanding that, almost without fail, something cool is about to happen that you never thought you would appreciate or understand. Take it for what it is, someone giving there all and being rewarded for it.

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games




Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 a.m. Sunday that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."