October 14, 2008
Prior to last night's 3-2 home-opening loss to the Nashville Predators before a sellout crowd, the Chicago Blackhawks walked the red carpet like Hollywood celebrities. Which would seem to be a showing of incredible hubris if not for the fact that most model/actresses have accomplished exactly what Rocky Wirtz's Blackhawks have, which is absolutely nothing.
But is this too much, too soon for the heavily-hyped Blackhawks? Columnist Greg Couch of the Sun-Times says yes:
The Hawks arrived in suits and traditional hockey mullets, emerging from black limos for a reception with fans on Madison. They walked a red carpet into the United Center. And there was chairman Rocky Wirtz promising the sky.
Let me just say this: no more ceremonies. This one was fine, as it was before the home opener against Nashville. All of last year's were needed, really. But the next one comes on the night they clinch a playoff spot.
You know, another team walked the red carpet during their home opener, too. Only the Detroit Red Wings actually had a Stanley Cup banner to raise, rather than an owner talking about winning one someday.
But here's the counterargument: Aren't the Blackhawks just giving their frenzied fans what they want? The festivals, the Winter Classic mania, the preseason attendance figures ... all of it points to the Blackhawks already getting rock star treatment in Chicago, so isn't a red carpet with limos and spotlights just another facet of that cult of celebrity? Over 800 fans were there to greet the players and management; it's not like they rejected it as egomania.
So the question is:
1. Pass or fail: The Chicago Blackhawks walking the red carpet before their 2008-09 home opener last night?