Somebody has to lose

Somebody has to lose

Thursday, June 10, 2010
11:39 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

That can hurt, but its the truth. You cant have a winner without a loser. For a certain someone behind the bar at a world famous Chicago steakhouse those two sides could not be more apparent after the Stanley Cup Finals. For a long time Ive been able to avoid the ultimate conflict here, but in a life full of strange twists, this was just another. The main source of my angst has been my feelings for both sides. The team Ive followed all of my life, against the one of my new hometown. The point of being a fan is in your emotional investment. Why else would we watch? With this investment comes a connection and that is where the joy, or pain (trust me!) comes from. I think at some point that I will realize that, as a fan, Ive been a part of, and witnessed, something very special. In fact, I think I do understand whats going on and thats why, for me, its so disappointing. I understand what it takes for a team just to get to the Finals and how hard it is. For these two teams, besides their long championship droughts, it had been 18 and 13 years respectively since their last appearance in the ultimate stage. Thats why the ability to capitalize on that opportunity meant so much.

The magical run that the Flyers had is one of the wildest rides that Ive been able to witness. How could you not love that team? Counted out, time after time, they refused to die and showed a resilience, and will to win, that was inspiring. That is the type of thing that captures the imagination of a fan base and a city. Its something that many can identify with, especially a city with a chip on its shoulder. I know its easy for some to bash Philly fans for their behavior, but I dont think its that easy. For most are not knuckleheads, theyre just normal fans that are devoted to entities that rarely provide a happy ending. (ONE in 27 years!) Wouldnt that drive you a little crazy, or make you the slightest bit cynical? Thats why this team brought out so many emotions, it was somewhat of a gift and every minute was cherished. We never quit on this team and they never quit on us. But never in any of our wildest imaginations would we have seen them going this far. But as they say, be wary of the smiling face. Fate can be cruel, even more so when you invest yourself in the cumulative efforts of others playing a game.

But it also can deliver beyond your wildest dreams. When I moved here 15 years ago to say that the fan base was minimal and disillusioned would be putting it nicely. Three years ago, when Rocky Wirtz took over, this team and orgin-I-zation, was put on a path that was destined for greatness. For the long suffering, and a hockey mad bartender from the east coast, it was a path worth following. Almost every decision made by this franchise from that time has been the right one. That is incredible. My favorite, besides the obvious all games must be on TV, was a re-established connection to the past. I often wonder why ALL franchises do not embrace their history like their fans do. The past should not be looked on as a burden, but a gift that should not be squandered. Watching the heroes from the past at the games, enjoying every minute of the action and being treated like royalty, I think has helped the connection that has been re-established in this city. That the team is loaded with talent and direction doesnt hurt either.

My point is its hard to root against what has happened here, but in the end, isnt that what its all about? You root for yours and against theirs? Thats what makes it fun. Unfortunately for yours truly, I was sitting right in the middle, or a little, all right a lot, towards the wrong side. . It will probably take me a while to sort through it all, but I cant be denied that I watched the whole thing grow and take form and was a part of it. On that end, the ride was very cool. That just about every person here in my life right now is ecstatic is also very cool. I know for a fact that the memories of this will only get better, but for every action, there is an equal and opposite one. So as I prepare to work behind the bar today, during a parade, Ill make sure everyone has fun and realizes how special this time is. But inside, there is a large part of me that cant help but feel a little jealous and still rue what might have been. With all due respect to Mr. Savard, I committed to someone else.

62 Days To Kickoff: North Chicago

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62 Days To Kickoff: North Chicago

CSNChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O'Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Jul. 31, we'll unveil the @CSNPreps Top 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 25.

School: North Chicago

Head coach: Addonte Adams

Assistant Coaches: Jamal Patterson OC Wilton Hill Joshua Franklin Orlando Kilpatrick

How they fared in 2016: 3-6 (2-5 Northern Lake County conference), failed to qualify for the 2016 IHSA state playoffs.

2017 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 25 – @ Waukegan

Sept. 1 – vs Robeson

Sept. 8 – @ Round Lake

Sept. 15 - vs Grayslake North

Sept. 22 - @ Grant

Sept. 29 – vs Wauconda

Oct. 6 - vs Grayslake Central

Oct. 13 - @ Antioch

Oct. 20 - vs Lakes

Biggest storyline: Can the Warhawks get back to winning and into the state playoff field in 2017?

Names to watch this season:  Senior LB Garrett Turner Senior WR/DB Ishaun Walker Senior QB/ATH Dyshaun Gates

Biggest holes to fill: The Warhawks return a ton of starters from a season ago, however just one starter is back on the offensive line in senior OC Joseph Gaiden.

EDGY's Early Take: It's been a while since the Warhawks have been a threat in either the conference or in the state playoffs, yet that could change in 2017. North Chicago went young last season and gained a ton of playing experience in 2016. If head coach Addonte Adams can get his Warhawks to buy into his program, this has the potential of becoming a team to watch this fall. 

It’s a business, but Blackhawks still feel sting of emotional deals

It’s a business, but Blackhawks still feel sting of emotional deals

Coach Joel Quenneville stood in the United Center hallway, summing up what had been a difficult Friday.

“Very emotional deals,” he said on Saturday morning, as Day 2 of the NHL Draft commenced. “A lot to process there.”

Indeed, the Blackhawks had a busy and difficult day on Friday, trading defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona and swapping Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quenneville was seen by media leaving a coaches meeting in between the Hjalmarsson and Panarin/Saad trades on Friday morning and he wasn’t at the Blackhawks’ table on Friday, unusual for the opening night of the draft. But he said his absence wasn’t about the trades.

“Not at all,” he said.

Still, as Quenneville said, big moves are a lot to process, even for a team that’s done its share of shedding players since the 2010 offseason. General manager Stan Bowman said Friday was filled with, “high emotions… when you make some difficult decisions.” Jonathan Toews said on Friday night that, “everyone’s kind of shocked” by recent events, including Marian Hossa’s loss. Toews added he was wary of saying the team was better today, out of respect for departed players.

“It’s hard to sit there and say that without sounding like you’re being disrespectful to two teammates you care for and know were huge parts of the team,” he said.

We talk about the business side of hockey all the time. You make the tough decisions and then you move forward. But there’s a human element to all of this that’s easy to forget. Players, especially those who are with an organization for a long time as Hjalmarsson was, make their impact on and off the ice. Teammates and coaches are spending endless amounts of time together, and those bonds, coupled with what they all go through during regular seasons and Stanley-Cup runs, endure. Saying goodbye is difficult.

For Quenneville, seeing Hjalmarsson leave was very difficult.

“Well, certainly Hammer, he’s one of those heart-and-soul guys and was instrumental in winning some championships for us. You feel for him and what he meant to his team and his teammates and fans here and the city of Chicago. He’s one of those guys that you have an appreciation to watch and see how he competes and knowing what he fights through to stay on the ice in a lot of games. He’s a heart-and-souler. Those guys are hard to see go,” Quenneville said. “Bread Man wasn’t here long enough to really get that consistency over term. But Hammer really did give a lot to the organization. And we are very appreciative of the Bread Man, because he could wow us and entertain us and a great kid, as well.”

Still, there’s the positive side. Quenneville and Toews are thrilled to have Saad back in the fold. Toews and Saad had great chemistry, the first time around and Quenneville said he’ll put those two together to start the season – “I know that [Patrick Kane] finds a way to make it happen, no matter who’s playing at center or on his left. It really adds a one-two punch that hopefully we get consistency and predictability in that area,” Quenneville said.

Saad should also help fill at least some of the void left from Hossa.

It’s another offseason during which the Blackhawks are feeling the losses, professionally as well as personally. You process, you deal with the sting and then you proceed. That’s the business.

“As a coach, we’re in the short-term business, we’re thinking about now,” Quenneville said. “So we’re going to do everything we can to better ourselves right now and looking to win today. And that’s our challenge and that’s what we look at.”