Keeping up with whirlwind of Bulls, Blackhawks at once
BY RICK TELANDER firstname.lastname@example.org | @ricktelander April 27, 2014 12:34AM
Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (left) and Wizards forward Nene stand head-to-head in Game 3 of their playoff series Friday night. Nene received a double technical and was ejected. | Alex Brandon/AP
Updated: May 28, 2014 6:46AM
Trying to watch two playoff games in two sports — Bulls and Blackhawks on Friday night — at the same time on TV is difficult.
If your eyes could go into a popcorn machine as kernels, that’s about it.
With this tumult comes reverie, thoughts:
◆ High-definition TV has done great things, but it has saved hockey. The puck is VISIBLE. Do you remember when you simply watched moving clots of players?
◆ At some point some guy’s — Nene’s? — long locks are going to whip around and blind a basketball player. Buns, hairnets, swimming caps will be mandated.
◆ Nene and Jimmy Butler’s weird forehead-to-forehead lean-off in Game 3 was something I have never seen before. When Nene grabbed Butler behind the neck with both hands, I have no idea how Butler restrained himself from punching the much larger player in the face.
I remember Norm Van Lier picking up a chair at the old Chicago Stadium and running after the Trail Blazers’ Sidney Wicks in an attempt to cripple him.
Above all, I remember back in 1977 when the muscular Kermit Washington nearly killed Rudy Tomjanovich with a single punch. And that’s not an exaggeration. Tomjanovich’s brain was dislodged from its skull casing, leaking blood and spinal fluid into Rudy T’s throat. Doctor’s said victims with far lesser wounds often died.
There absolutely can’t be fighting in the NBA. That single punch proved it. There can’t be. Thank you, NBA rules. Thank you, Jimmy.
◆ The lingo of the NHL is fascinating. Heavy stick, sniper, one-timer, onion bag, ya-hey! But my favorite hockey saying of all time came from former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon. Speaking of young Patrick Kane, he said, ‘‘He’ll go into the tall trees and come out with the biscuit.’’
◆ Hockey is crazy. Why are there so many overtimes in the playoffs? As a writer with early deadlines, these things just destroy you.
◆ When the ball is going in for you, the stat geeks and computer number-crunchers mean nothing. Ask the Bulls’ Mike Dunleavy and his career-high 35 points in the Friday night win. Some of those eight three-pointers he made were just heaves with hope attached.
◆ How is it that goons don’t fight in the hockey playoffs?
◆ That overtime goal by Jonathan Toews on a beautiful lone-man breakaway to win Game 5 against the Blues was the high point of beauty. If you love the Blackhawks.
◆ The Bulls will forever be in the debt of Michael Jordan. When Butler made that huge three-pointer to basically seal the 100-97 win for the Bulls, it reminded us of MJ. Every big, game-winning shot will do that. Probably forever.
◆ The Hawks, by the same token, are forever in debt to Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito. Old Time Hockey rules all.
But Patrick Kane and Toews and Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp and Corey Crawford could put that all in the rearview window. Well, not sort of.
Can you even imagine being a star in a pro league with only six teams in it? So it was, back in the day.
◆ In this moment of reflection, I need to pass on some great quotes from various sports people through the years.
Of course, you remember Yogi Berra being asked what time it was and responding, ‘‘You mean now?’’
But how about this from Marc Silverman on ESPN 1000 radio back on Nov. 2, 2002, while talking about Bears lineman Bryan Robinson’s problems: ‘‘You don’t have to go back too far in the all-too-distant future.’’
Or this, from Rick Barry on WSCR-AM (670), in 2004, on not getting a chance to coach in the NBA: ‘‘That’s the part that really eats at my craw.’’
Why do I have these thoughts? Because I listen to radio and TV and write stuff down as it happens. Nearly killed myself several times in my car, btw.
Jonathan Hood, my old partner, on WSCR, talking about Brett Favre, in 2001: ‘‘If he makes a mistake, he’s got receivers who are going to catch his balls.’’
I mean, this is true. But funny, right?
Finally, Raymont Harris, the former Bears running back-turned-commentator, who said on WBBM-AM (780) years ago, ‘‘Last week they got a touchdown return for a kickoff.’’
◆ And we got wins from the Bulls and Blackhawks on Friday night. And our eyeballs are slowly coming to rest.