By Ron Johnson
Chicago Sports was once a nationwide fear factor. The Bulls and Blackhawks used to be a dynasty in that town. Even the Cubs and White Sox were starting to get relevant again. But like all good dynasties, those times ended with a whimper at best. Now all of a sudden, since they are not in the spotlight, they have to take shots at everyone else.
I’m here to tell them that they do not matter, and we don’t care.
While the Windy City used to be a Mecca of sports, it is now just a dumpster fire waiting to erupt. The latest installment of stupidity came from the House of Hockey trashing the Winter Classic and comparing it to Connor Bedard’s debut.
While Connor’s debut was rather impressive, what has it done for Chicago Blackhawks Hockey? Has it erased the controversy of the front office? Has it erased the history of assault within the organization? Has it gotten the fans back into their team?
The answer is no.
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently 11-26-2 with only 24 points, so how is that Connor Bedard trend going? Of course, they will jump on an opening debut that happened months ago. Clearly, Chicago writers are reaching for the lowest hanging fruit, but to disrespect two teams that did the impossible last season? Seattle defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champions last year to advance to the next round, and Vegas defeated the red-hot Panthers to win the Stanley Cup.
So, Chicago, what do these teams have to do to impress you? Give Connor Bedard the puck and watch him choke like they do against New Jersey (lost 4-2 after leading 2-1 heading into the third on 1/5/2024)?
Connor Bedard debuted on July 17, 2023, and Chicago writers find themselves reaching for straws that don’t make sense. Chicago is favored to be in next year’s Winter Classic. They are treating Connor like the 2ndcoming of Patrick Kane. But is Connor the answer for Chicago? Probably not, but they will beat this dead horse until their own fingers and knuckles bleed.
Will Connor bring a Winter Classic to Chicago? Probably, but then again, maybe he won’t. The House of Hockey goes on to say this asinine statement: “This just adds to the narrative that Connor Bedard is the most valuable asset in all of hockey and will likely draw millions more eyes to the Winter Classic next year.”
Are these guys idiots? The House of Hockey just disrespected two of the fanbases in hockey, Seattle and Las Vegas. You really think that Connor is going to save hockey?
Did these guys forget that Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are STILL playing in the NHL? You throw these two guys on any television against each other, and it’s guaranteed money. Connor Bedard is good, but he is not the most valuable asset in all of hockey. But then again, I am not surprised by the House of Hockey for puckering up to their demigod Connor.
If they didn’t back this horse, it would be bad for them. They needed a horse to back, and Justin Fields isn’t doing enough to get the backing. The fact that they took time to bash two of the hottest sports markets, one of them being the defending Stanley Cup Champions, is more embarrassing for them than it is for anyone else.
A wise man once told me that when he says something, he backs it up with his actions. And in the spirit of that wise man, I say this: Chicago may win a nod at the Winter Classic, but being the home team is a stretch. Chicago has proven that it is not a good place to have it, but St. Louis, Boston, Charlotte even Seattle has proven their worth in dividends.
For Seattle to get the nod and see all the work put in by those guys to make this Winter Classic impressive makes no words necessary. But for the House of Hockey to be disrespectful to the sell-out crowd in Seattle who got to enjoy a shutout by the Kraken in their first Winter Classic is an insult to that crowd and the fanbases of both teams.
Maybe if the Blackhawks did anything relevant besides LOSING, they would be in the spotlight. Bettman is being smart because there is still a dark cloud over that franchise that has yet to be fixed. Did they really think bringing in Connor Bedard was going to instantly save this franchise?
The fact that the Winter Classic was seen by more homes on the West Coast should give them pause. Just because the biggest punching bag in the Central Division was not invited to the Winter Classic does not mean that they can take shots at two markets that are competing with other sports and events.