If you’re not paying attention to hockey right now, you probably fall into one of two categories: someone who never watched the sport or a former casual observer driven away by the lockout that shortened the 2012-13 season to just 48 games.
Regardless of whether you were driven away or just kept at bay, you’re missing history being made.
Every once in a while in sports, a storyline comes along that’s so big it transcends the sport itself, no matter the degree of that sport’s relevance.
Two years ago, the NFL had Tim Tebow.
Last summer, track and field had Oscar Pistorius.
This winter, track and field has Oscar Pistorius.
The NHL, widely accepted as the least popular of the four major sports in America, is witnessing a streak that is bigger than the sport itself.
At the league’s halfway point, the Chicago Blackhawks have yet to lose a game in regulation.
If you’re unfamiliar with the abnormal scoring system of the NHL, that ‘3’ signifies the Hawks have suffered three losses on the year … in overtime.
Before you dismiss their win streak as less relevant because they’re ‘not actually’ undefeated, consider this.
Through 24 60-minute games, they are.
That’s literally 24 hours of perfect hockey.
Halfway through the season and they’ve won in every fashion possible, including the remarkable kind, which is the category Wednesday’s victory would fall under when they came from two goals behind in the third period to win with less than a minute to play, and keep streaking.
But that streak, as remarkable as it may be, does not earn top-billing on ESPN, because one team with a bigger name in a bigger sport has embarked on a streak that’s similar in nature, but much smaller on the remarkable scale.
Currently the NBA is riding the wave of nightly Miami Heat highlights, a team which hasn’t lost in 16 games.
“What the Heat are doing is impressive, but if you look over NBA history I think it’s happened like 23 times where teams have won 15 in a row or more,” Lurch said Wednesday on the Junkies. “The most talented hockey teams don’t always win. So for the Blackhawks to be 21-0-3, they’re winning every game, every way. Their streak is so much more impressive than the Heat’s streak to me because of the variance of hockey. But to not lose a regulation hockey game over 24 is unbelievable.”
“A mathematician ran the numbers and said it’s a once every 700 year event,” Cakes said. “And that was like three wins ago.”
“So for me, they should be on front and center on Sportscenter every single day when they’re winning,” Lurch said.
“But it’s hockey,” JP jumped in.
“I understand that, but it’s more impressive than what Miami’s doing,” Lurch said. “That’s my point.”
“But most Americans couldn’t name one member of the Chicago Blackhawks, but they all could pretty much name Lebron James,” JP retorted.
“But something like this though, could help elevate hockey,” EB climbed in. “Like this is something where if they introduced the players to the people at large, they could get invested. They do it with soccer every four years. We get sort of emotionally connected and attached to these players on the national team and the different dynamics and then it goes away.”
Perhaps the reason people ignore hockey is because they don’t care, which sounds trivial, but it’s not.
It’s just a chicken or the egg debate.
Because they ignore the sport, they ignore the storylines, which often times serve as our inspiration to care.
And because there’s no prime time coverage from the ‘Worldwide Leader’ there are no new fans becoming emotionally invested.
ESPN covers winners. There’s no crime in showing people what they want to see.
But when you’re not covering a team that is winning better than any team has ever won in its sport, it’s a problem.
Sports fans can ignore even the strongest disdain for a team or a player, even an entire sport to acknowledge when history is being made.
But when a significant accomplishment is relegated to the back page of the history books, will those same fans even have the chance to drop their emotional blinders?
Listen to the segment and decide who is to blame for the Blackhawk’s lack of coverage…