TELANDER: Chicago and Boston are cities worthy of lifting the Cup
BY RICK TELANDER email@example.com June 19, 2013 11:32PM
Updated: August 19, 2013 1:36PM
Let’s say this about Chicago’s quest for another Stanley Cup:
Boston, as a place, is a worthy opponent. Even with another heart-stopping overtime game — this one a 6-5 Blackhawks victory — the matchup is spectacular.
Yes, it’s the Blackhawks against the Bruins, in a hockey battle, but it’s city vs. city, too.
When Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad stole the puck from the Bruins and fed center Michal Handzus for a stunning short-handed goal and a 1-0 lead in the first period, it settled in again that these teams represent the solidest of franchises.
The old Original Six concept means something.
One will win the championship — the second for that team since either 2010 or 2011 — and that will be the start of a mini-dynasty.
But each team has an urban populace behind it that is almost dead even in spirit, knowledge, feistiness and pride.
That Boston is on the East Coast only means the Pilgrims couldn’t sail a ship all the way to Lake Michigan and set up camp next to the John Hancock Building. Oh, right. John Hancock is the dude with the big signature, from Boston.
It’s hard to hate Bostonions. Except for those Red Sox fans, maybe. The Red Sox have two World Series crowns in the last decade; the Cubs have none in the last century.
On the ice the Blackhawks were even ahead in faceoff possession early on, hanging onto pucks they had been giving away like popcorn. There was the new line everyone had been clamoring for, reuniting Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.How it paid off, too, with Toews breaking his non-scoring spell and directing in a shot to make it 2-1 in the second period.
Then came the little lightning bug Kane, nailing one past the outstretched and out-of-position Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask, making it 3-1, Chicago.
Do you think “Coach Q’’ maybe should have teamed up those two a little earlier in the series?
Back to Boston. It has the harbor, verdant Boston Common (“Founded in 1634,’’ says the sign), and architecture that harkens skyward (the shiny, 790-foot Hancock Place, of course) and to the past (The Old State House, 1713).
Chicago matches that with Lincoln Park, Lake Shore Drive, wondrous skyscrapers and a Water Tower that survived Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.
We are not talking Phoenix or Nashville or San Jose here. We’re talking real American cities, with real identities. Maybe they have a hard time with “r’s” in Boston, but they don’t have a hard time with dignity.
Every day we writers stepped out of our Copley Square hotel, we were confronted, as we move up the street, by the memorial to the wounded and fallen in the recent terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. The running shoes and messages and words of support for the city and freedom and bravery are easy to mock, very hard not to be inspired by.
The phrase “Boston Strong’’ is everywhere. Maybe terrorism has nothing to do with the Bruins and their Stanley Cup quest, but unity does. And the Chicago T-shirts that showed a Blackhawks logo and the word “Stronger,’’ were a bad idea. You don’t mess with the heart of a city like that.
The hearts of both cities bounced up and down as the offenses opened up and the nets started filling with pucks. That 4-3 led by the Hawks going into the final period did not seem secure at all. Nor was it. It took Brent Seabrook’s bullet to the net midway through the overtime period to finish it.
“Sometimes hockey is just funny like that,’’ Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. “We got the lead, and we gave it up what seemed like 4 or 5 times there.’’
But let’s not think all is uptight due to this great rivalry.
Boston even has it’s answer to our tragi-comic “Family Secrets’’ trial of a few years ago, the one in which old mobster Frank Calabrese and pals got lit up for crimes.
What we have here is the James “Whitey’’ Bulger trial, a public grilling of the longtime fugitive and leader of the nasty Winter Hill Gang. A character inspired by Whitey was played by a demented Jack Nicholson in the Oscar-winning crime movie, “The Departed.’’
In real life, one of Whitey’s pals, a goon named John Matorano, was on the stand the other day and said he wasn’t a hit man, despite killing 20 people through the years, one target being shot between the eyes. Matorano said he was broken-hearted that Whitey turned into a rat for the FBI.
“You can’t rat on a rat,’’ he stated when asked if he himself were a rat.
Good stuff. Good cities. Great win.