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I drove from Chicago to North Central Indiana early Sunday (to LaCrosse if you must know, located sort of between Valpo and South Bend) and I had a chance to listen to long stretches of sports talk. The aggravatingly lazy cynicism that so frequently passes for humorous commentary around here forced me to turn away at times. So many of the guys on our stations love to tell you how much whatever sucks, don't they?
Sometimes they are clever about it but more often less so.
Here I must pause to point out that the Mr. Bright Side part of me realized he was enjoying a little music interspersed with stretches of talk. I would also like to point out that this column eventually makes its way around to some Blackhawk talk. But anyway.
The chief cynic belongs to the Tribune, of course. Nothing ever happens that Mr. Steve Rosenbloom can't turn into bile. Don't miss that previous link by the way; the Tribune really goes all out with the bios of its most prominent personalities.
When Chicago teams find a way to play well enough to please good old Rosie, he simply turns his malevolent gaze on the opposition. There is always someone to ridicule and the man must have generated at least several million cheap little laughs by now.
On Sunday morning on The Score, the lead talker was Daily Herald columnist Barry Rozner. A proud Northern Illinois grad, Rozner has been writing sports columns for a living for more than 15 years now. So let's get this part out of the way - I am seriously jealous.
And I also tune into his shows believing that at some point, he won't disappoint; at some point he will offer sports commentary that at least acknowledges some complexity. All I'm asking is that guys at least consider viewpoints other than the conventional, cynical, sports talk "wisdom."
Rozner used to appear on the weekends on The Score with Matt Spiegel - of whom I am a big fan. In addition to the awesome musical work he does with Tributosaurus. Spiegel is quite simply a very good sports talker. One way to define that is that he frequently finds the right balance between skeptical and celebratory. And he is legitimately funny. Often.
Spiegel was also the founding producer of Sound Opinions almost 15 years ago now. The guy is seriously good - and he does a mean Freddie Mercury impersonation. And he sings the Feldco song! I'm not kidding!
Rozner isn't on with Spiegel anymore, but when he is on, the show is still called Hit and Run.
So on Sunday, there I was, enthused about a coming conversation about the Blackhawks. And there I went back to music when Rozner began - began - the conversation by pointing out that the local hockey team still sucks on the power play.
The Hawks were 9-0-2 going into Sunday evening's game. Nine of those 11 games had been played on the road. There is an embarrassment of riches to celebrate about this team so far, but the riches too frequently don't interest local sports radio crews filling the airwaves with crap on a rainy Sunday morning.
Later Sunday, the Hawks improved to 10-0-2 with a dominant 3-0 victory over the Predators in Nashville. Sure, Nashville had played the night before in Minnesota while the Hawks were off, but the Hawks' defense, featuring the very promising second pair of Nik Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya behind the ever-steadfast Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith, refused to yield. I'm sure the Rosenblog currently has a good breakdown of how pathetic these Preds are.
I would rather find ways to celebrate a Blackhawks team that seems to absolutely have everything it needs to contend for another Cup. That certainly wouldn't suck.
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