TELANDER: Stanley Cup Final media day has circus feel
BY RICK TELANDER email@example.com June 11, 2013 10:28PM
Updated: June 12, 2013 7:13PM
The ice circus is in town, and it’s gonna be fun!
The Stanley Cup Final starts Wednesday night with two good ol’ Original Six teams, the Blackhawks and Bruins, going at it.
Even though the Original Six weren’t ‘‘original’’ because the NHL had been going for a quarter-century before everybody dropped out except the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Bruins and Hawks, it’s cool to think of a six-team league. Nuts, too. Think you get sick of each other?
Anyway, Tuesday was media day at the United Center, and we had just about everything except clowns, jugglers and bearded ladies wandering about.
Bearded men were everywhere, though.
Want to see Patrick Sharp?
There was the veteran winger up on his little podium, wearing his cute new Hawks hoodie, the gray one with his No. 10 by the neck and ‘‘Stanley Cup Final’’ on the right sleeve.
Sharpie was mobbed by folks with cameras and microphones, asking questions that elicited these responses from the man with eight goals and six assists in the playoffs:
‘‘We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow.’’
‘‘Their team is great.’’
‘‘Man, that’s a great question.’’
Couldn’t blame the alternate captain. The Hawks and Bruins haven’t played this season, so it’s a little between don’t-know-nothin’ and don’t-want-to-rile-’em-up.
Sharp did say he didn’t care which line he’s on because ‘‘to a player, it doesn’t mean much. I trust Joel.’’
That’s coach Quenneville, or ‘‘Q,’’ as we hockey nuts — which means all of Chicago — shall refer to him for the duration.
The festive event had the feel of a mini-Super Bowl media day. Those football events, of course, have now passed from information gathering sessions to full-on pie-eating contests. Foreign-language bimbos and lunatics in coonskin caps asking players if they would rather be a tree or a frog have become the norm.
Patrick ‘‘Hat trick’’ Kane sat in his little throne and answered every question on and on.
‘‘It’s a tremendous honor to be back again,’’ he said of returning to the Cup quest after winning it in 2010. ‘‘We’re here. We’ll see what happens.’’
So it’s on to the Andrew Shaw exhibit. The feisty 21-year-old forward is relatively new to the Hawks, having paid his dues in the little leagues on the way up. The guy not only played for the IceHogs, he played for the IceDogs.
He’s a grinder, a mucker, a collision guy whose face is rapidly turning into Freddy Kruger’s from pucks, punches and pimples.
‘‘I think I’m pretty handsome,’’ he said. Then he almost blushed. ‘‘No, I’m a blue-collar guy. I have to do the down-and-gritty. I’ve always played that physical type of play, try to dominate that way.’’
Shaw was asked about his possible comparison to Brad Marchand, the Bruin’s mosquito-like, annoying gadfly of a player, and Shaw is flattered.
‘‘We’re both agitators,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘We play physical. He’s the best at it. I always looked up to him in the minors.’’
Well, not really. Shaw is 5-10, Marchand 5-9.
Then there’s the Bruins’ massive Zdeno Chara, the tallest man ever to play in the NHL. With skates on, the dude is a stick blade over 7 feet.
What does Shaw think about a go-round with, say, the Boston giant?
He ponders this.
‘‘I fought a guy in juniors who was 6-8, 250, and I actually won,’’ he said. ‘‘It was surprising. I was playing fourth line, not a lot of minutes, my rookie year in junior. I had to do something to impress the coach. I went out there and got in a scrap and got the guys going.’’
Hooray! There you go. Old-time hockey.
And just as the melon-crunching and sweater-dancing sank in, here came the Super Bowl question you knew was out there.
‘‘About yourself, what’s the answer to the question, ‘You would be surprised to know that?’ ’’ asked a beaming TV female, all white teeth and hairspray.
‘‘I’m a great singer,’’ he said.
It’s all on, Chicago.
The Big Tent with the ice rink is up.
Johnny Oduya, the Hawks’ Swedish import, got the last question: What are Sweden’s most famous exports?
‘‘We have IKEA,’’ he said. ‘‘We have Volvo. Meatballs, we have that.’’
Serve it up!