Oct 19, 2021

The Blackhawks open their home season under real pressure

Jeremy Colliton Chicago Blackhawks home opener
(USA Today Sports)

Good morning, frents!

Just 12 days left until Halloween, which got me wondering: What's the best Chicago sports costume out there? You have your oldies but goodies like mini-Ditkas and Harry Carays. Steve Bartman was a popular one for awhile. You can never go wrong with the Super Fans, either.

But has anyone ever gotten more creative than that? I'd love to see some pictures or hear about it. Email me.

Today's schedule
Islanders at Hawks (7, ESPN)

A must-win home opener?

It sure feels that way.

The Hawks start their 2021-22 home slate tonight against the New York Islanders and they need a win in the worst way.

The more convincing, the better.

If you didn't pay attention to the woofer of a three-game road trip to start the season, here's what you missed:

  • The team gave up three goals to Colorado in the first period of the season, en route to a 4-2 loss that was never close. OK fine. The Avs are a legit Cup contender and it's hard to win a home opener against a team like that, even if Nathan MacKinnon was sidelined with the virus.
  • New Jersey's Dougie Hamilton scored just 17 seconds into Friday night's game and the Devils opened a 3-1 lead. Welp. A late two-goal push forced a face-saving overtime but the Hawks fell 4-3 when Jack Hughes, the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft, scored his second goal of the game. Not great.
  • The Penguins scored 15 seconds into Saturday night's game and four times in the first period of a 5-2 Pittsburgh win.  Ah well, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are upper-crust Hall of Famers and you can't ... wait, what's that? Crosby and Malkin didn't even play? Sweet Primanti Brothers sandwich, that's not good.

So here's the situation as the Hawks play in front of a United Center crowd that still has good seats available. They spent the offseason touting the headline-grabbing additions of Marc-Andre Fleury, Seth Jones and Tyler Johnson and insinuating the postseason would come to an end.

But three games in and not only has anything changed, it's actually looked worse. Things are already so bad that the Ben Pope of the Sun-Times ran a story on how coach Jeremy Colliton still has Patrick Kane's support while Mark Lazerus of The Athletic wrote about the bond that has solidified between Colliton and a once-skeptical Jonathan Toews.

Both may be true, but it ignores the fact the fanbase has never bought into Colliton — we've never been given a good reason — and good coaches typically don't need any proof of unity just three games into a season. Colliton signed a two-year extension in January that takes him through the 2022-23 season, but if things keep going south and there are empty seats at the UC, who knows?

The Hawks will play their next four games at home — and nine of their next 12. They couldn't ask for a better stretch to retry this start and figure out a way to keep opposing pucks out of the net.

But they have to get down to business soon.

News and results

MLB: Kyle Schwarber sets MLB record with slam

Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant are done. So are Craig Kimbrel and Ryan Tepera. Joc Pederson is busy bullying his former team in the NLCS. And the bat that Joc briefly stood in for at Wrigley for half a season? Well, he's mashing taters too. Schwarber's grand slam in Monday's ALCS Game 3 was the Red Sox's third of the series, making Boston the only team to ever hit three grannies in one postseason series. The Red Sox won the game 12-3, taking a 2-1 lead over the Astros in the series.

Schwarber has three home runs this postseason, bringing his career total to nine. His OPS over 32 at-bats this postseason in .955. I know I'm not breaking any new ground here, but he would've fit in well with either Chicago team this year, no

Sky: Parade and rally set for this morning

The WNBA champions are getting the usual party for a Chicago champion, starting with a parade that sets off from Wintrust Arena at 11 a.m. and ends with a rally at Millenium Park at noon. Here are the full details.

Who owns MLB's record for most postseason homers?

  1. Eddie Jackson might want to do some other homework on Lance Briggs before picking an unwinnable fight with him. Bleacher Nation
  2. Forbes said the value of the Bulls franchise increased 11 percent to $3.65 billion, which puts them fourth in the NBA. The Score
  3. Ricky O'Donnell goes deep on the Sky's title run and why it still feels too good to be true. Great read. SB Nation
  4. The Sky reportedly sold more title gear on Fanatics in their first 24 hours than any other WNBA champion in their first 30 days after winning a title. Twitter
  5. New Cubs GM Carter Hawkins met with the media on Monday and remembered what it was like to watch the 2016 title from the Cleveland side. MLB.com
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk
Kevin is the founder of Midway Minute.

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