Cubs manager Dale Sveum is a big-time hockey fan. So it’s no surprise that he’s following the Blackhawks’ postseason run as closely as the rest of Chicago.
“That was an unbelievable game,” he said Sunday morning, a day after the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins to take a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final. “Hopefully those guys are alright, there were some beatdowns going on in that game. Thankfully, we came out on top.”
Sveum is a baseball man, first and foremost, but that didn’t get in the way of some Stanley Cup Final analysis.
“It’s two different teams,” he said. “To walk out every night and [have] 55 hits to 15 is not the way you want to end a game. That’s the difference in the two teams. And [the Bruins] have to deal with the Blackhawks’ speed and athleticism, and that comes into scoring goals, too.”
Though the hot Cubs dugout in late June is a far cry, temperature-wise, from the cold ice of the United Center, Sveum’s admiration and love of the sport of hockey is clearly never far from his mind.
“I always say if I had to come back in a second life I’d be a hockey player,” Sveum said. “I think it’s such a true sport where you can’t do anything but play hard the whole game. It’s OK to be physical, it’s OK to fight, it’s OK to do all that stuff. It’s just a great sport. To do that kind of stuff on ice on skates with a stick in your hand, I think that’s the purest form of athletes there are.”
[GIF: Milan Lucic breaks his stick in frustration after Game 5]
Sveum wasn’t the only one in a Cubs uniform that was asked about the Blackhawks on Sunday. Second baseman Darwin Barney couldn’t avoid addressing the hottest topic in town, a team that is giving its Chicago neighbors inspiration for their own success.
“I think a lot of guys [on the team] are into [the Blackhawks]. A lot of guys are Blackhawks fans,” Barney said. “We only had a minor league team in Portland, where I’m from, so it’s kind of fun to follow that. Hopefully they can put it away in the next one. All it does is it makes us want to win and have a successful season and see what kind of buzz that would draw. But for now, we’re really happy for them, and hopefully they can put it away.”