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Chicago Blackhawks To Honor Hull/Mikita At Michael Jordan's House....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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Yesterday the Chicago Blackhawks honored the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Stanley Cup Championship with a wonderful ceremony before the current defending champs took on the lowly New York Islanders.  Eight representatives of Chicago's last team to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup (prior to last season) were introduced to the sellout crowd of 21,000+, each receiving a rousing ovation from the people in attendance.  On top of each member receiving a framed 1961 championship replica banner of their own, it was announced that the United Center would get two more monuments added to the area outside the United Center.
 
It was announced that Blackhawk legends Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita would be represented forever outside the United Center with two bronze statues that will join the famous Michael Jordan statue.  Now while I do not expect Larry King to be broadcasting the debut of the pieces of art outside the UC like he did with Jordan, but the honor bestowed on Hull and Mikita seems a little confusing to me.  While Hull and Mikita are indeed fixtures of the history of the Chicago Blackhawks, these statues and this honor seems a little too miscalculated.
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There is a difference between honoring someone by retiring their number and to encase their likeness in bronze to live forever.  Retiring a number is something that almost every single great player of an organization will surely receive, but the honor of having a statue built in your likeness is something extra.  While there are statues of great athletes outside our stadiums around town, this honor seems a bit odd for a couple of reasons.  I see nothing wrong with bringing back legends of your franchise for a heritage night or even hiring them as ambassadors for public events and further promotion of your team.  While the White Sox have honored Nellie Sox and Billie Pierce and what was once Comiskey Park, the statues of Hull and Mikita just do not fit being at the United Center.
 
This honor just does not fit because the United Center is the "House That Jordan Built."  It is not the fault of the Blackhawks that they share the same arena as the Chicago Bulls, but why put statues outside a building that the Blackhawks were never relevant in and will never get the same acclaim as the Chicago Bulls?  Without Michael Jordan, who are we to say that building would be standing on the west side of the city today?  It is very possible that without Michael Jordan the old Chicago Stadium would still be standing and housing our two professional teams of the NBA and NHL.   
 
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I am not against this idea because Hull and Mikita never skated on the ice at the United Center, but you have to wonder and ask yourself the question why now?  Why did it take Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita a combined 69 years since their last playing days in Chicago to receive this honor?  Is this simply the Chicago Blackhawks making up for lost time because of the bitterness shared among Bill Wirtz and the players who dawned the greatest jersey in the history of sports?  Is this Rocky Wirtz making up for the mistakes of his father?  Or is this simply just the last gasp of promotion the Blackhawks have with the legends that have agreed to come back.   
 
Unfortunately this seems like the Chicago Blackhawks are running out of ideas or running out of players to bring back.  While the heritage nights of Hull, Mikita, Esposito and such have been outstanding success stories the most recent one involving Chris Chelios caused a frenzy of boos to reign down on the Blackhawks "legend" delivering his speech.  The Blackhawks have already brought back Jeremy Roenick and Chris Chelios from their 1990's history, but with the relationship ties broken because of Bill Wirtz' reign as owner it may be becoming difficult for the Blackhawks to reel in their greats of the past.  Could we really be expecting a Ed Belfour Heritage Night or a Eric Daze Heritage Night?  What about a Tony Amonte Heritage Night? 

Oh wait.....that already happened.
 
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I think the Blackhawks are running out of a roster of those to bring back so they are attempting to maximize the brighter stars they already have had back.  With Hull and Mikita set to have statues outside the building that Michael Jordan built makes little to no sense to me.  Reading fellow ChicagoNow.com blogger Taryn Nickow on "Chicago Sports In Haiku", she wrote:
 
"Hull and Mikita
will stand in bronze forever
outside the Madhouse"
 
The United Center was not "The Madhouse" until John McDonough put the sign below the luxury suites at center ice.  No one called the United Center "The Madhouse on Madison" and a lot of long time hockey fans still do not call it the "Madhouse of Madison."  Even longtime resident of the old Chicago Stadium Phil Jackson was taken back by the new moniker of the United Center when he visited the UC back in December of 2009.
 
"I guess that applies to hockey, huh?" the former Chicago Bulls coach chuckled.
 
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While the magic of the 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship is the main reason why the "Madhouse" continues to sellout on a nightly basis, the organization itself needs to realize that the continued "honors" for the organization's past has a shelf life.  The problem the Blackhawks are having is the shelf life is running out and they are trying to come up with new ideas to honor the same people that they have honored more than twice over.  The latest idea of putting statues outside the United Center where Michael Jordan once made his home in Chicago is simply an irresponsible idea that does not fit the UC itself.  Would we be putting statues of Billy Wade outside Wrigley Field to honor the 1963 Chicago Bears Championship?  How about a statue of Three Finger Brown at the old location of West Side Park II on Taylor and Polk?   
 
The Chicago Blackhawks fans made Chicago Stadium the "Madhouse on Madison" and although they now reside in the house that Jordan built, it does not mean they should be putting statues on property that is not historically theirs.
 
-RoCk
 
John "Rock" Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and host of "The Rock Report" on WSCR 670AM The Score
 
You can follow the Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley

 
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115 Comments

RuskyHawk said:

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More like dumb as a Rock.

Rock Mamola said:

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(rimshot)

BoytonJiggsandPappybonedJenJenfirst said:

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Rock is right on this one...sorry bro.

Brevard said:

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So they have given a child who has no concept of Chicago sports history a blog?
The reason Jackson wouldn't think it was a Madhouse on Madison would be all the fans sitting on their hands at Bulls games. Hull and Mikita were lifting people out of seats well before you were born.
The Hawks filled whatever arena they were playing in for all except a decade of the last 50 years. I understand for you that decade covers from 6th grade through most of college but you should at least do some research before penning such an uninformed piece of trash. The old man (Arthur not Bill) kept the Bulls in town to occupy an arena when the Hawks were off or on the road. Were it not for Blackhawk sellouts in the 60's and 70's creating the capital to support both teams there would not have been a Chicago Bulls for Jordan to play for.
Writers who don't do research cost newspapers readers, ... and radio stations listeners.

Rock Mamola said:

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Judging from your comment here Brevard, I'm guessing you've been around a little longer than I.

So let me try to reason with you on this.

We are not talking about the old barn....we are talking about the United Center. If this were "the old barn"....there is no issue.

The fact is "the old barn" is gone. The reason why is because of the man who stands in bronze outside of it. Would you put any of the old school New York Giants outside of Old Yankee Stadium? I think not.

It's the house that Ruth built.....hence the honor does not fit at the UC.

This child has been here for a while now...growing up each and every day. Thanks for checking out the blog.

-RoCk

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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Wait, by this reasoning then the Yankees should take down all their statues and memorials because Ruth, Gehrig, etc. didn't play at the new Yankee Stadium.

It isn't the current facility that's at issue, it's the importance of the players to the franchise.

Rock Mamola said:

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There is a difference between what the Yankees did and what the Blackhawks are doing at the UC. If the monument was already built at the "old barn" it should be moved to the new digs. That's what they did with the Yankees.

My point is the Blackhawks are a little late in doing this at a place that it just doesn't fit.

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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I'm not sure you understand the iron first Bill Wirtz ran the organ-I-zation with. Because he had no interest, for whatever reason, in honoring the past is not a reason for his son, or whoever owns the team, to correct past mistakes.

The speed with which Rocky has sought to fix past mistakes is why the franchise has enjoyed a revival.

Should they still view things through the prism of Bill Wirtz's mistakes? No way.

Rock Mamola said:

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Rocky is doing what his pop should have done a long time ago....problem is the timing and placement of this just seems odd to me.

Why a statue? Why now? Why period?

Jimmy Greenfield said:

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The timing is now for the same reason nobody will care if Ron Santo goes into the HOF. Hull and Mikita are not kids and won't be around forever. They deserve this honor and it would be a shame to do it after they were gone.

I don't think this is something that the public was clamoring for, but it's also not like it's detrimental to anything. It's a tremendous honor to have your jersey retired but this is the Hawks saying that there is something beyond that.

Hadji said:

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The UC is The Madhouse on Madison? Um, no, that was The Chicago Stadium. Putting that emabarrassing sign up in the UC is similiar to an applause sign signaling a response from the studio audience on Lopez Tonight.

OSD said:

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"Would we be putting statues of Billy Wade outside Wrigley Field to honor the 1963 Chicago Bears Championship"
NO, genius. The Bears play at Soldier Field.

And if there was a Bears player from the Wrigley era that deserves a bronze statue, it would be Sid Luckman.

Keep studying that logic and history, my friend.

Rock Mamola said:

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OSD

The point was Billy Wade played at Wrigley Field....not Soldier Field. His greatest years were with the Bears and was the QB of the 1963 Championship team. The comparison is because Hull/Mikita....one stanley cup in a building that the team they played for no longer plays in.

Putting a Bears legend's statue outside Wrigley is just stupid to begin with....so is this.

-RoCk

Rock Mamola said:

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I just want to point out that the front page of Chicagosports.com slugs this blog as it saying "hull and mikita don't deserve this honor".

I'm not saying they don't deserve it....I'm just saying it doesn't fit at the UC. I'm not a fan of putting Blackhawk greats outside a building that only was built because of Michael Jordan.

Again...doesn't fit.

-RoCk

john said:

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Completely agree Rock. Seriously, what is up with Chicago's infatuation with statues?

Rock Mamola said:

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That's a bigger issue John. I really don't get it either.....when is Santo's going up again?

OSD said:

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Let's have a closer look. Let's look at attendance at the Stadium in the years prior to the UC. Average basketball attendance in the last 5 years: 18496. Capacity: 18676. Percent full: 99.0383%. Average hockey attendance in the last 5 years: 17704. Capacity: 17317. Percent full: 102.2371%

Hmm, looks like the Blackhawks were a bigger draw, with the average attendance over 100% (standing room only) in each of the 5 seasons prior to the opening of the UC.

Looks like the UC is the house that Roenick built.

OSD said:

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Let's have a closer look. Let's look at attendance at the Stadium in the years prior to the UC. Average basketball attendance in the last 5 years: 18496. Capacity: 18676. Percent full: 99.0383%. Average hockey attendance in the last 5 years: 17704. Capacity: 17317. Percent full: 102.2371%

Hmm, looks like the Blackhawks were a bigger draw, with the average attendance over 100% (standing room only) in each of the 5 seasons prior to the opening of the UC. And these weren't the years the Bulls had down seasons, those years are in the thick of their 6 championships.

Looks like the UC is the house that Roenick built.

Rock Mamola said:

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So nice you had to post it twice?

We are not talking about the "old barn" in this post. You really wanna compare the last decade attendance at the UC?

Guess not if you wanna go that route.

naz57 said:

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Better tear down the Lincoln Memorial as well because Lincoln didn't ACTUALLY Live there. Rock, I hope you just wrote this column to get some attention because if your didn't and you actaully meant what you wrote, you're a moron

Rock Mamola said:

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I think there is a difference between National Monuments and a couple of athletes being bronzed. Don't you?

Jay Zawaski said:

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what about the red kerr statue?

Rock Mamola said:

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it fits more than the Hull/Mikita statue.

Agree?

It's not about the honor being deserved or not....it's just if it fits being current day at the UC.

Jim C said:

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Please explain? Nobody agrees ...that's an idiotic thing to say.

Hormel said:

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Kerr was an announcer for how many decades for the Bulls. How is he NOT deserving of a statue when his voice was associated with Bulls basketball moreso then Pat Foleys has been with the Hawks? It also doesnt hurt that he was on of Uncle Jerrys favorites like Harold Baines. Does Baines deserve a statue?

daddio said:

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You sound like a young one whose sports life began in 1991 and whose sour grapes of having to deal with the team on the ice being better than the team on the court is too much to handle.

You do know the Wirtz family drove the UC project, do you? You do know that hockey is by far the major sport most reliant on ticket sales as their primary revenue stream and as much as Chicago Stadium will never be matched for noise, it didn't (and couldn't) have a single sky-box, correct? And you do know whether or not there was a basketball team here in Chicago, the Stadium's days were numbered, correct? Or do you? Likely not.

Those of you in the media coined that Jordan phrase; something that sounds like it is right out of MTV. The UC was in the planning before the Pistons beat the Bulls in the '90 playoffs. Did you know that? Likely not.

Having the Bulls here accelerated a plan for "The New Chicago Stadium". Did you know that was the original name? Before UAL ponied up millions to put their name on it?

It is clear you do not know how 'Hawks fans have been affected by the front office from the nearly 4 decades before Rocky's arrival. There is no "last gasp" as you may be considering. It's called righting the wrong of decades of mistreatment of fans. That shouldn't be a question for an experienced journalist.

Being envious of McDonough's work only underlines your misunderstanding of his job. He markets the team. He turned Wrigley Field into a tourist attraction; and more than half those teams sucked. As for shelf life of these promo's, let a marketing genius like McDonough figure that out.

And who cares what the Zen Master (a guy that couldn't win without the best roster) thinks anyway. IMO will the UC ever be the "madhouse" Chicago Stadium was? NO. I grew up in Chicago Stadium, saw over 1,000 Blackhawks games there, many likely before you were born. Just read your bio, my Lord you were born AFTER the MIRACLE on ICE.

Since Chicago Stadium is no longer there, it's only appropriate to put the statues outside UC. It may be strange and there's folks harping about statues, but who cares. Hull and Mikita are to the 'Hawks what Jordan is to the Bulls. Statues the last decade-plus are what banners were half a century ago.

And finally, should the Bulls ever honor Johnny Red Kerr or Norm Van Lier at United Center? They never played there either.

Rock Mamola said:

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Don't put Hull and Mikita in the realm of Jordan

Not even close my friend.

-RoCk

Jim C said:

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You know nothing about hockey...let alone the history of the Hawks or Hull and Mikita. Spare us your noob mentality.

9 and 21 meant every bit as much to hawk fans in their era, as MJ did to Bulls fans in the 90's.

As for greatest athlete ever? Wayne Gretzky might just have somethign to say about that bit of heresy.

Rock Mamola said:

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It's not about how much they meant to the fans of the team....it's about the significance Jordan was to the sport of basketball and sports in general.

Jordan was an institution....Hull and Mikita were great players.

-RoCk

iowagyrl said:

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Are you kidding? Bobby Hull is considered the greatest left wing in the history of the NHL! He & his son Brett are the only father/son duo to win both the Lady Bing & Hart trophies! Bobby Hull was the first player to score more than 50 goals in one season. His slapshot was clocked at more than 118 mph. So many more reasons why Bobby Hull is deserving of this honor.

Stan Mikita played his entire NHL career(22 years) for the Black Hawks!

Your point about Hull and Mikita not playing in the United Center, is easily answered since the former Chicago Stadium site is now a parking lot for the United Center. That parking lot is adjacent to where the statutes will be erected!

Jim C said:

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what does any of that have to do with the UC, exactly?

Stylin19 said:

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No, it is about how much they mean to the fans of the team because they are putting the statue outside the stadium of that team. It's not going in the Hall of Fame, its for the fans to remember and respect those who came before them. That is why the statues are being built

cubby23(eric) said:

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Only built because of MJ? Laughs, you can't be serious Rock. Do your research. Bill Wirtz had been looking to build a new facility for years, long before Reinsdorf owned a stake in the Bulls.

I'll say this, that extra level of suites at the UC you can thank MJ for. That's for sure one key reason those were added to an already large facility, cash in on the Jordan Bulls.

How many statues are over at Comiskey? Certainly not all Hall of Fame players. And that Monument park in the new Yankee stadium, probably is entirely players that never played in the new park.

If the owners of the Hawks and Bulls want to commemorate former team greats so fans can remember the past, than more power to them. I applaud them for doing so. Far too many team greats get forgotten as the years go by. Also, it's nice when a team tries to honor people before they get too old and pass away.

Rock Mamola said:

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Eric

This isn't about Comiskey, and this isn't about Yankee Stadium (although all the monuments there outside of Steinbrenner were already erected)

This is about the UC, and the UC is where the greatest athlete in the history of sport played. It's his building.

Without him there probably wouldn't be a United Center (with the precious luxury boxes) in my opinion. The Blackhawks have honored Hull/Mikita already.....why a statue too?

Just doesn't fit to me.

Thaks for the comments

-RoCk

Jim C said:

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This is just ignorant stupidity. The UC was already planned and FINANCED w/o MJ, before Wirtz agreed to let the Bulls be part of it. You are stupid. Or obstinate. Either way, you're a tool.

Rock Mamola said:

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Thank you Hawks fan Jim....

Jim C said:

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a building that only was built because of Michael Jordan?


How about common sense Jim.


...something clearly lacking in this article.

fossilhippie said:

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Rocky, here's a clue - the statues are not for the venue but for the fans. If the Cubs moved from Wrigley, they'd relocate the statues to their new place.

Get it? The statues are for the fans'.

Rock Mamola said:

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And if the statues were already at the "old barn".....i'd be fine with it. Teams can't get rid of statues, that is just wrong.

Jim C said:

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So it's OK to uproot and move existing statues, but not to erect new ones? Hmmm...tell that to the vets who are honoured at Soldier Field.

Rock Mamola said:

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again....national monuments vs. sports figures....see one of my previous comments Jim.

Jim C said:

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hmmmm...The House that Mike Built? Perhaps if you were even old enough to be in High School at the time, you would have a take on the building of the UC that wouldn't be seen as, well, comical.


You DO know that Bill Wirtz built the UC, right? That it had NOTHING to do with the Bulls or Michael Jordan? The UC was built as a new home for the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey . Bill Wirtz built the new entity ENTIRELY with private funds...out of his own pocket, and then with some corporate sponsorship money from United Airlines. Can you even tell me how much they pay per year, or when said naming agreement runs out? NONE of this had anything to do with Michael Jordon. Wirtz took in Reinsdorf and the Bulls as partners as a favour...and got a large stake in ownership of the Bulls, as well as a ton of cash,m in exchange. Without Bill Wirtz and the Hawks, there was no new building. The Reinsdork group had neither the funds, nor the political clout to secure the land transfer deal with the city. Tell Me, Mr. Chicago, do you even know what the deal Wirtz cut with the city was all about? How much money did Wirtzcorp invest in the infrastructure in neighbourhoods surrounding the new entertainment palace as part of the tax-friendly deal to erect the UV where it now stands?


The Wirtz family is erecting statues of the 2 greatest hawks ever to don the Indian Head as a means of righting decades of wrongs inflicted upon the long-suffering Hawk fanbase. This is about the players, but far more so about the FANS. They deserve to see the most cherished icons in their history honoured for all time. Since you're such an expert on all things Hawks, monuments and, well, the United Center itself, why is it OK that the team erected a monument on the North side of Madison St., but new a new homage to the 2 greatest Hawks ever is taboo? Perhaps, also, you missed the Hawks' playoff run last season, where your beloved Jordan statue was decked out in a Johnathan Toews jersey and white hockey helmet? Where was the righteous indignation over that 'affront'? maybe you could also explain why the statue of Johnny Red Kerr inside the UC is not an affront? He never played at the UC,and wasn't exactly a Bulls icon as a player, was he?

Michael Jordan, quite frankly, is lucky the Blackhawks wanted a new building, or he would have won all 6 of his championships in Chicago Stadium, because neither he, nor anyone in the entire Bulls organization, would have built a new stadium without the benevolence of the the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rock Mamola said:

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http://www.unitedcenter.com/unitedcenter/arenainfo.asp

I'm sure Reinsdorf teaming up with Wirtz on the deal had absolutely nothing to do with the greatest athlete in history playing in Chicago.

Nothing at all.

-RoCk

Jim C said:

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Exactly what part of Wirtz planned and financed the the UC out of his own pocket BEFORE partnering with the Bulls do you not understand? Just so we're clear, are you changing your opinion now from 'MJ built the UC' to, he was 'part' of the reason?

Wirtz realty negotiated a deal with the city YEARS before the Bulls were ever mentioned as possible partners. UA were on board before Reinsdorf was.


At least pretend you have some sort of journalistic integrity and do a cursory Google search next time you feel the need to spew some stupidity.

Hawkeye said:

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Your link clearly states:

"In 1988, William Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks, and Jerry Reinsdorf, majority owner and Team Chairman of the Chicago Bulls, formed a new partnership to create an arena that would take sports and entertainment into the 21st century. "

To imply that the UC is more the Bulls home than the Blackhawks is foolish. The UC was designed to be a multi sport/use facilty from the start.

Jim C said:

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hmmm...1988...a year in which the Bulls missed the playoffs...yes, WWW was really concerned with what Jordan and the Bulls were up to back then. That info is wrong, BTW.

Absolutely Mike was a huge factor in selling those 5 and 10-year skybox contracts when both teams moved into the new building, but to insinuate Jordan was any kind of factor in Wirtz building the UC is just rampant stupidity. BTW, 'Rock'...who owns 51% of the UC and why?

Rock Mamola said:

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I stand by what I have stated numerous times before....without MJ, how can we say there is a UC.


That building is known for Jordan and the Bulls only....period.

Hadji said:

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Your argument is perfectly logical and that's coming from a lifelong Chicagoan and Chicago sports fan for over 50 years. I understand the rest of the yahoos and their unreasonable responses (typical) but my favorite non-thinking responses comes from Jimmy Greenfield who is usually a thoughtful guy except when the topic involves the Hawks.

Rock Mamola said:

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Thank you Hadji....

I'm trying!

Jim C said:

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That's a great argument...if basing things in fact isn't a pre-requisite. MJ had NOTHING to do with the building of the UC...that was 100% Bill Wirtz.

You wanna-bes and noobs ought to realize what a stupid argument this is when hard core hawk fans start saying something positive about ole dollar Bill!

Jim C said:

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You are an idiot. The UC was planned and financed before the Bulls, or Jordan, were even relevant. The Bulls asked to be allowed to partner on the project. The Wirtz family still owns 51% of the 'partnership'.


W/O the Hawks, there would have been no Bulls. Without the Hawks (and Bill Wirtz) thee would be no UC. There may be no Bulls w/o Jordan, but who cares? The Bulls had neither the resources or the political clout to build that stadium on their own.

Just because you have said somethign numerous times, doesn't make it true...just more irritating.

How can the UC be ONLY known for the Bulls or Jordan? That's moronic. the Hawks built the place and have played there since it opened.

Saaaaayyyyy...Isn't the UC known as the home of the NHL Stanley Cup Champs? Oops...The Bulls suck and are an afterthought right now...so, I guess we can say the building is only known for Johnny Toews and the Hawks, seeing as the other tenant isn't relevant around town right now?

Hadji said:

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"Oops...The Bulls suck and are an afterthought right now"


Hmmm, the Bulls have a 9.5 game division lead and the Hawks are 3rd in their division. Thank the gods the Hawks won last year and have rebounded from the title of worst franchise in sports because without that win they would just be the Chicago Cubs of hockey except not as loveable and without any fun bars next door.

John Talarico said:

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Simply another attempt at pissing just enough people off to gain readership. That's one thing Rock is good at; Unfortunately an ability to form good sports opinions doesn't come along with it.

Ron Santo just died, so here's an article about how he shouldn't be in the Hall!

Jenn Sterger might be a former playboy model, but she deserves our sympathy! Oh, but Erin Andrews? Screw her.

Please.

Rock Mamola said:

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Always love your commentary John

1. Most Cubs fan I know agreed that Santo's passing shouldn't affect his hall status.

2. Jenn Sterger was a victim sexual harassment charges from a fellow employee....and has she "cashed" in from her celebrity stemming from her "incident" yet? I think she's still unemployed.....right?

Thanx dude....

Jim C said:

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um...Jenn Sterger is in this month's edition of Playboy.

Rock Mamola said:

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I have the latest issue....I don't see any pics Jim.

Then again...my wife reads the thing.

Quigley said:

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The January issue has a preview of the next months issue on the last page and she is on it!

Jim C said:

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josh1978 said:

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I usually do not post on internet message boards, but this author's basic theory is so flawed, it must be addressed.
First, the UC is not the "House that Jordan built." In fact, wasn't Jordan retired when the Bulls played their first game at the UC?
I won't bother repeating what the many knowledgeable Hawk fans have already posted about how the Wirtz family built the UC, after looking for a new place for years. It's a shame because the Stadium was the best place to watch a hockey game. Never saw basketball there.
Also, in his hayday, Bobby Hull was as huge, if not bigger than Jordan. But that was in the late 50s-60s and would require research. But that's a topic for another time.
By this author's logic, only players who played at the UC should have statues? Hull and Mikita are Hockey Hall of Famers, Hull was the first to score over 50 goals in a season, both are 500 goal scorers. They are 2 of the best players in the history of not only the team, but of the NHL.
So, as others have alluded, by your logic, Ruth shouldn't have a monument at Yankee Stadium? This hypothetical is directly correlated to your main theory, Mr. Mamola.
The bottom line is that the Stadium is no longer standing, and there is no other place to erect statues of two of the greatest NHLers of all time.

jaype said:

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Actually "Rocket" Richard was the first to score 50. But remember the impact Hull had when he signed with the Winnipeg Jets?

iowagyrl said:

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You're right. Bobby Hull was the 1st NHL player to score MORE than 50 goals!

Hadji said:

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"Also, in his hayday, Bobby Hull was as huge, if not bigger than Jordan."


Though it is arguably true that Bobby Hull was the biggest sports star in Chicago in the 1960's, he wasn't even the biggest star in hockey, a sport the average American knew little about.
Jordan "in his hayday" was THE biggest sports star on the planet.
Like comparing the best 8 year old touch football player on your block to Peyton Manning.

Jim C said:

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Hadji...stick to things you know about...like bars on North Halsted. Bobby Hull owned Chicago every bit in his day as much as Jordan did in his. hate to tell you, but wjat Wayne Gretzky did in temrs of re-writing the NHL: record book dwarfs any of Jordan's statistical achievements. No, Bobby wasn't THE best NHL player ever, but he is certainly top 10. Just imagine Jordan playing in an era before the internet, or what Bobby could have done in the Nike era of sports over-marketing. You really can't make the comparison you're trying for here...but thanks for playing.

Hadji said:

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Hmmm, most Americans did not know who Bobby Hull was in the 60's compared to MOST people on the planet knowing who Michael Jordan was in the 90's. Logic is foreign to you.

GrantOJay said:

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So what about the already-standing Blackhawks statue, that shows Hawks' players over the 75-year history of the franchise? I'm slightly surprised that you never mentioned that this statue is already there. So are you of the opinion that it should not have been built because those eras represented in the statue took place (for the great majority) in a different building?

Rock Mamola said:

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that statue is not recognizing a singular player......doesn't matter in the argument.

GrantOJay said:

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Right, it doesn't matter to the central idea of whether Hull and Mikita should get a statue, etc. But a lot of what you seem to be saying, at least as I read it, is that the United Center the House that Jordan Built--the home of the Chicago Bulls. Putting someone else's statue out there does Him a disservice, in some way. Obviously, there is not a webcam on the Hawks' statue, but it still recognizes that the UC is home to two professional sports teams.

Either way, I foresee that this proposed statue is foreshadowing the Hawks' plan for more. It would be a subtle snub to build a statue showing Kane & Toews up after completely ignoring the franchise's previous Cup. I'd bet that, within a few years, we'll see yet another bronze statue outside the UC for the 2009-2010 team...

Rock Mamola said:

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Again....that statue would not be representing a singular player and plus it would have been an event in that building.

iowagyrl said:

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Your "argument" should apply to the group statue mentioned by a previous poster!

Alex said:

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Your piece above is riddled with inaccuracies and contradictions. For starters you conclude by suggesting that it would be wrong to place statutes of former players at the sites of their former buildings. However, your entire piece argues that the current home of the Blackhawks is not the appropriate place for statutes of Hull and Mikita, and that they would have been better served at the old stadium.

Second, you argue that without Jordan the UC would not exist. This is simply incorrect. You could say without Jordan the Bulls would not exist, which is likely true, but the Hawks have an 85 year history in Chicago. They are an original six franchise who had a much greater history prior to Jordan's Bulls. They weren't going anywhere and they certainly weren't staying in an outdated old building.

You all seem to forget that there already is a Blackhawks statute outside of the UC. In fact it is one of the classiest tributes around as it lists the name of every player to ever wear a Hawks sweater. Clearly you forgot about this before you wrote your piece.

Stadiums are a home to several teams and franchises. If you want to talk about raucous fans, there is no doubt that the Hawks win in that category. Considering these are teams 4 and 5 in Chicago, the current success of the team will always dictate which is more popular. Chicago is not a hockey town or a basketball town. If anything, the chic or en vogue team at the moment will draw better. That being said, the Hawks diehard fans are one of the loyalist groups around. Right now their team is the trendy team and Chicagoans want to be there. This has already faded since last year, but there is still significantly more demand for Hawks tickets than Bulls tickets. The Hawks will likely lose their trendiness and the Bulls might gain it, and vice versa. But to say that Hawks fans don't have the right to the building is simply ludicrous.

Rock Mamola said:

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you truly think the Bulls would have ceased to exist w/o Jordan.

Talk about simply ludicrous.

Jim C said:

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Hey Rock...please disabuse yourself of the notion that writing a blog is, in any way, related to having a career as an actual sports writer. Thanks.

Rock Mamola said:

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Never have considered myself a sports writer.....this is simply a forum of conversation.

Alex said:

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This article is just another example of a Bulls fan expressing his frustration and anger that the Bulls are no longer the apple of Chicago's eye during the winter months.

Rock Mamola said:

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Oh please.....

stop

Jim C said:

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Bingo...it's the only possible explanation for the nonsense Ive seen posted here.

lockman21 said:

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Chicago's ignorant attention whore strikes again.

Rock Mamola said:

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Yeah cause I'm just craving attention! Let me tell ya

lockman21 said:

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I have to agree with John. Either you're just dying for readership or you're really just insanely ignorant. It's one of the two.

Rock Mamola said:

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well thank you for your comments....not dying for readership or ignorant.

Just an opinion you disagree with....doesn't make either one of us stupid.....just two people disagreeing.

lockman21 said:

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Ignorance and stupidity are two different animals, Rock.

My stance is this: as many have pointed out, the United Center would not be a possibility without the Wirtz family. To claim that some Blackhawk greats do not deserve a statue there is insane, and makes you look bad. The venue is shared. It's not just a basketball venue, nor is it just a hockey venue. The Boston Bruins recently (recently being relative) unveiled a statue for Bobby Orr, 40 years after his game winning Stanley Cup goal.

Point being, this isn't the first time an organization has erected a statue years later. These two deserve not only a statue, but more respect as well.

Tab said:

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I struggle with this debate because of one enormous factor: Dollar Bill Wirtz.

If the Blackhawks weren't run by arguably the biggest piece-of-sh** in the history of professional sports (short of Marge Schott), who knows who the statue(s) would be of?

Look back at the early 1990s. Yes, Michael Jordan was an institution and is absolutely worthy of having a statue. I understand and support your statements about MJ.

But what if Wirtz hadn't run Jeremy Roenick out of town? What if he had kept veterans like JR, Larmer, and Belfour happy and the Blackhawks had won a Cup (or more than one) in the 90s? What if Dollar Bill had the same approach with the incredible roster they had in 1991-94 that his son has taken w/ this generation?

Then we would have a contemporary comparison to Jordan that would be more worthy of a statue.

It's hard to consider players that have been gone for over 30 years to have a "rightful place" outside a 15-year-old building, but they're the greatest the franchise has ever seen. The fact is, the United Center was funded just as much by the Blackhawks as it was by the Bulls, but the first couple decades of its existence have been dominated by the Bulls. That doesn't we ignore the history of the Blackhawks, but it also creates the issue of there not being a "face of the franchise" from the UC era.

Do we wait 30 years until Toews is worthy of one?

Rock Mamola said:

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Tab,

First off we are a long time away from Captain Serious even to be considered for such an honor.

Second, you ask a lot of what if's and you're right. If that roster had stayed in tact maybe we're not talking about this.

The facts are that Michael Jordan created an institution at both the old barn and the UC. That is why the Bulls have continued to have great success in attendance since his last Chicago departure. The Bulls continued to do well while the Hawks had trouble drawing flies.

Why is that? Dollar Bill Wirtz.

I agree they are the greatest hawks ever, but it just doesn't fit outside a building made famous by the greatest athlete on this earth. Funded yes, but without MJ would there be one?

Another what if....

what is fact is what makes it not fit (in my opinion)

How's the baby?

-RoCk

Tab said:

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Truly, Rock... the UC went from idea to project to opening when BOTH franchises were at their peak. Between 1988-94:

The Blackhawks were Division Champions in 1991, 92 & 93.
The Bulls were Division Champions in 91, 92, 93.

It is impossible to argue that a hockey player can take over a game the way Jordan did in basketball because no hockey player skates more than 30 minutes every night... something basketball players do. The "What If" scenarios will be the stuff of barstool arguments forever because of the talent pissed away by Dollar Bill, just as they have been with the Cubs. Point is, if we place the building going up into the context of the early 90s, the Hawks may have been three titles behind the Bulls, but they were certainly worthy of having their name on the marquee and packed the joint just as well.

Baby's doing well. How are your little ones doing?

Jim C said:

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see Wayne Gretzky. His records far surpass what Jordan did.

John Talarico said:

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Rock's next headline: "Derrick Rose's Dunk vs. Detroit Not That Impressive"

fossilhippie said:

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Using your "logic" then Kobe Bryant will never have a statue outside the Staples Center because the building was occupied by the Clippers first. You're saying that Magic Johnson shouldn't have his stature outside the place and Wayne Gretzky shouldn't either because neither of them began their careers in that building.

Should Nellie Fox, Louie Aparacio, Minnie Minoso, Baines and Fisk not have statues outside the Cell because they played across the street?

I hope you never have a bigger venue than a blog to voice your opinions. You're the poster boy of why this country is falling behind the rest of the world in education.

tactful said:

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The crux of your argument is that a sports statue should only be built at the stadium the player competed in. You state the following:

"The latest idea of putting statues outside the United Center where Michael Jordan once made his home in Chicago is simply an irresponsible idea that does not fit the UC itself."

Did you forget that Jordan retired in 1993? When the statue was presented, it was at the UC where Jordan never played at that point. It was in a marketing event that honored the great player he was. This wasn't even at a game, but a separate ticketed event.

So, the statement I quoted above shows that statues can be built in front of buildings where the player never played. If your logic was correct, then the statue for Jordan should be built in either Birmingham or the new Comiskey Park. Jordan was playing baseball for the Sox minor league team when the statue went up. He didn’t come back for his second running of the Bulls until the middle of the following year. So the Jordan statue doesn’t celebrate ANY of MJ’s work that was done at the UC because that work all came after the statue went up. It is at the UC because that is where the Bulls played at the time the statue went up. Just as the much deserved Hull / Mikita statues should be put up where their team plays now.

So, let’s all agree that Michael’s statue should be at the UC because that is where his team was playing when they built it. Let’s also all agree that Rocky and McDonough have done a fantastic job of righting the wrongs of a previous generation by reaching out to the past that was swept away. Just because the statues didn’t get built before doesn’t mean they should not have been built. You have already said that if they had been built, they should have moved across the street. We all know that Bill Wirtz was not the kind of man to build a statue.

The only other argument you have made is the UC is the House that Jordan built. Every comment I read above, including the attendance records of the last 5 years, you dismiss by saying we are not talking about the “Old Barn”. You can’t talk about Jordan building a House without talking about the “Old Barn” Again, MJ’s statue is for only his games played at the “Old Barn”.

The New Stadium (later named the United Center, sold by Bill Wirtz for the naming rights) was built after a 1988 partnership between the owner of the Stadium (Bill Wirtz) and their other tenant (Jerry Reinsdorf of the Bulls). This was engineered by Bill Wirtz so he could make more cash. He didn’t like that other sports teams had high revenue making sky boxes. He also didn’t like that concert promoters didn’t like to host shows at the Stadium. The UC was built because both teams had sellouts at the time.

None of this has to be a contest on who should get a statue. I will bet that Jordan will even show up to the Hull / Mikita statues.

Hockey never left Chicago, but it definitely has returned.

Taryn Nickow said:

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How can Rock support
honoring baseball players
in bronze at UC?

bobwaters said:

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Nobody with any sense of Chicago sports history could have written this article. Bobby Hull was, in his day, hockey's most famous player. He may have been eclipsed by Lemieux and Gretzky (and in a lesser sense by Phil Esposito, who broke the record Hull set for most goals in a season), but few sports figures in the history of Chicago rank with Bobby. And before Bill Wirtz nearly destroyed the franchise, the Hull/Mikita Hawks were filling the Stadium to the rafters night after night.

This is not about who historically "owns" the turf of the UC. It's about the history of the Chicago sports teams which play there. Stan Musial never played at the new Busch Stadium, or even the one before that. Does that mean that Saint Louis should tear down his statue?

Rock Mamola said:

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I appreciate all of your comments, but I feel like none of you understand the point of this....so let me be quick and to the point.

In my opinion, the United Center is Michael Jordan's house. Without the greatest athlete to ever grace professional sport, There is no proof that the UC would have even been built. The point is the attraction of the city of Chicago (even with the Blackhawks success in the early 90's was MICHAEL JORDAN).

As far as the comparisons between Hull and Mikita compared to Jordan....not comparable. Michael Jordan is not only a great player but also an institution. You cannot say that about Hull/Mikita. So please don't attempt to compare.

Someone brought up the attendance figures of the "old barn".....I understand the hawks were a big thing and faded away only to be resurrected in bold fashion the last couple of years. However as great as Hull/Mikita were, they did not have the impact of Jordan. Every year following Jordan's last days in Chicago (1998) the Bulls have not had ANY attendance problems. You cannot say that about Hull/Mikita or any of the great Hawks of the 90's. THAT'S THE IMPACT JORDAN HAS HAD ON THE UC and that is why I believe it is the HOUSE THAT JORDAN BUILT.

The point I was trying to make is not that Hull/Mikita do not deserve the honor the Blackhawks announced the other night......it's just that (to me) it doesn't fit the facade of United Center because to me....that is where Michael Jordan played and that is what I will remember that place for. The statues (to me) would be out of place and it just doesn't seem right.

OK....that's it....no more responding. I've made my point, it's up to you to agree/disagree/ignore it.

Thanks!

-RoCk

Jim C said:

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BZZZT...WRONG. There has been plenty of proof offered that the UC was planned and financed and going to be built with no input form the Bulls at all. MJ had nothing to do with Bill Wirtz wanting a bigger, more modern stadium and all that skybox revenue. He had the pockets to do it...Reinsdorf and co did not...nor did they have the political clout.


Also wrong is your notion that Hull/Mikita didn't have every bit, or MORE, of the influence around town that MJ had. They were Gods in Chicago...long before the NBA was even a pipe dream in the city. The Bears were, a the time, secondary to the hawks, and the Bears dominate the Chicago sports landscape today by a country mile.

The Bulls drawing well has nothing to do with Jordan...it's the fact that so many more kids, especially in the inner city play basketball and not hockey. With the masses, the casual fans, hoops is a much bigger draw.It's just an economic fact. The Bulls were never mis-manged and run into the ground like the Hawks were, either. $ Bill never owned the Bulls...for that, you should be forever grateful. Hawk fans stopped going because they hated the old bastard and what he did to us and the franchise...again, nothing to do with Mike.

The house was built, and THEN Jordan played in it...your sense of cause and effect is just a tad warped. Jordan had nothing to do with building the UC. That's the point you don't understand...you're just stuck on kicking around some stupid, dated Nike slogan.

The UC is the home of the Hawks, and ground zero for their fans...and Bulls fans. If the team wants to honour their heroes, where else can they do it? Where else SHOULD they do it?

Hadji said:

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"The Bulls drawing well has nothing to do with Jordan...it's the fact that so many more kids, especially in the inner city play basketball"


Um, yeah, all those inner city kids have been filling up the UC since Jordan played...righhtt! Give it up dude. Besides, what do you care, your national sport is lacrosse (the way you spelled honored gave you away as Canadian).

Jim C said:

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Kids of all economic backgrounds play basketball, because it is much cheaper to access, and much easier to play. It requires very little skill or physical dexterity.

Basketball is much more appealing to the casual sports fan such as yourself; People too lazy or stupid to really follow a game that requires intelligence, grace, skill and brawn to play. There isn't enough scoring for the average American...and they can't follow the puck, because they don't know where to look. Basketball fans are really Cubs fans...more there for the outing and sideshow theatrics, than the actual competition on the field of play.

Oh, by the way. It was invented by a Canadian, but we realized the sport sucked, so we exiled Dr. Naismith to Syracuse. You're welcome.

Jim C said:

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oh...and when is the last time Jordan actually played a game on the UC floor? he's been retired HOW long now...I mean for real not suspended for gambling?

Yeah. all the frat boys are there now because of a guy who has been gone over a decade?

bobwaters said:

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Then I guess the Yankees dare not mention Babe Ruth in the new Yankee Stadium.

That's Dereck Jeter's house.

iowagyrl said:

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Taken straight from the United Center website, the origin of the building stems from a business agreement between Wirtz and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. While the time period and Bulls championship runs created the idea that Jordan *literally* was the sole reason behind the building's creation, the truth is that both franchises have had an equal hand in the United Center's existence. Talks of building a new stadium to house both franchises actually began in the late 80's. These talks were led mostly by Bill Wirtz.

Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-blackhawks-one-goal/2011/01/yes-hull-and-mikita-are-deserving-of-united-center-statues.html#ixzz1AlGQIw1A

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-blackhawks-one-goal/2011/01/yes-hull-and-mikita-are-deserving-of-united-center-statues.html

Jim C said:

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that info is not correct, but OK...let's see...1988...a year the Bulls never even made the playoffs, and 3 years before the Bulls hoisted their first trophy...yes, certainly, MJ BUILT THAT HOUSE!


LOL

BoytonJiggsandPappybonedJenJenfirst said:

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Jim,
Dont you live in Canada? What are you doing on the Chi board?
It's Frank29, by the way. Long time no talk. Miss the old BHZ days.

iowagyrl said:

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The Hawks were the ones keeping the Bulls afloat for a long time. Throughout the 60's and 70's, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull drew raucous standing room only crowds to Chicago Stadium. The Bulls' crowds resembled that of a 2003 Blackhawks game. It goes both ways, folks.

Without Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, it's possible there would have been no Chicago Bulls uniform for Michael Jordan to wear.


Read more: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-blackhawks-one-goal/2011/01/yes-hull-and-mikita-are-deserving-of-united-center-statues.html#ixzz1AlGpGZZJ

iowagyrl said:

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"United Center's acoustics were designed to amplify the noise level in order to recreate "The Roar" – the din of noise that made Chicago Stadium famous, especially during hockey games."

From United Center website!!

iowagyrl said:

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By the way, Michael Jordan is big time Black Hawks fan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfXuPEwO0WM

Andy said:

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OK, stop the nonsense already. John McDonough has taken this too far already. What other goofy a** "promotional" idea is next? Instead of pin the tail on the donkey, how about pin the rug on the Bobby caricature during the intermissions? There is no way those 2 should get a statue and I really don't know why all of a sudden this came up. Maybe just maybe a 2 foot tall statue in a hallway inside somewhere but THAT'S about it.

John Talarico said:

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Andy, I share your sentiments that McDonough tends to over-market the product, but that doesn't change whether or not these two deserve a statue. They do.

If anything, Rock should have written an article questioning why the Hawks are building these statues and giving everyone under the sun a $30,000 Stanley Cup ring while they supposedly continue to "lose money" because of the hole they were in. THAT would have been a blog I would've been on board with.

Billy Corman said:

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So some guy few people know or have read has created a ruckus. He's written a blog piece, full of ignorance and its touched a nerve. Meh.

Most folks know the Black Hawks [see, they changed the name to one word in the '80s if you didn't know Rock] had to walk up stairs from the dressing room. Goalies, namely Glenn Hall, had to do it 4 or 5 times a night and he did it over 500 straight games. Belfour was the last guy to have to drag his 40+ pounds of gear up and down. I'm not sure if Jordan minded or not.

Anyone else remember reading the stories of the cats who lived in the basement at the barn? Those things hunted mice and rats. Kept a nice weight on, too. Maybe Jordan likes dogs.

Sure, Jordan was a cash cow. Jerry wanted more and begged in on the pending deal. His biggest influence was the round of skyboxes at the top. That was one of the last things agreed upon before the plans were finalized. And the related skybox revenue/ticket plans. Those were Jerry soaking his base in M Jeff's last season.

The 'Hawks were just as big in 1991 as the Bulls were. There was a nation-wide newspaper, The National I think, that ran a story about the 2-headed Monster of the Midway. Chicago was poised to be the first city to hold both winter sports titles. Sadly, the men of four feathers fell short.

Taryn Nickow said:

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If you're so hellbent
on it being MJ's house,
you are saying this:

None should be honored
because they weren't the "greatest"
It's all about him

Doesn't matter who
because if they are not him
They don't belong here

No one will deny
that MJ's a superstar
but you deny them.

Others proved you wrong
so I will not say much more.
Thanks for the mention.

lockman21 said:

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We should just take every single banner down from the UC unless Jordan helped win it. Clearly only things related to Michael Jordan are appropriate to honor in or around that building.

JoeMan88 said:

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Rock, you're an idiot. Nuff said.

Just another article from you stirring the pot.

BoytonJiggsandPappybonedJenJenfirst said:

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Rock, I think you are right on. I like Bobby & Stan but the UC is M-Jeff's place. Keep up the good work.

Hormel said:

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Does Jen Jen deserve a statue for nut hugging North like a used up pair of tighy whities? Or doesnt the local Planned Parenthood already have some sort of paper mache sculpture honoring her more notable features?

JoeMan88 said:

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LOL, you're an idiot.

Hormel said:

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I have to agree with Rock on this one.

No matter what any of the Hawk fans have to say, the Bulls, even when they were losing, were more relevant then the Hawks.
Jordan was not only arguably the greatest player in the history of his sport, but an icon of the entire world, and still is. Bobby Hull is one of the best players in the history of the NHL, but pales in comparision to Jordan. Is this even debatable?
Hull and Mikita won one Cup, you could make a case that Toews and Kane are just as important to the franchise's history as Hull and Mikita. The fact is, McCub is running out of players to give heritage nights to and needs something to feed the concession stands on a yearly basis. These ideas have NOTHING to do with who gets a statue, it has everything to do with money. Many want to put Rocky on a pedistal when the truth is, McDounough is the main cog in everything that has to do with this franchise accepting its storied history and running with it. Rocky is just a big life sized bobble head for McD, and anybody who thinks otherwise is foolish. Its funny, but how many Hawk fans hate McD's guts yet stick up for him when right here, he is going to swindle even more money out of their pockets under the false mask of honoring a franchises former stars. Its another fake justification for former stars to get to wave on the ice before the anthem then brushed aside until McD can find another player to get out there.

Do Hull and Mikita deserve a statue? Sure. But NOT at the expense of putting them next to possibly the best athlete this city has ever seen. It lowers the prestige of having a statue in the first place. Look at the hilarity that is the White Sox. Harold Baines? The Cubs honored a drunk in bronze.

And no offense, the Winter Classic drew a 2.3 rating, the highest rating of a NHL game since 1975. The Bulls/Knicks game on Christmas ALSO drew a 2.3. So anybody who THINKS the Hawks are more then a fifth team in a four team town is sadly mistaken.

JoeMan88 said:

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Dude, STFU.

WILLMAN52 said:

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Tell me what the hell is the big deal about this? We are talking about two of the greatest hockey players Chicago has ever seen these guys are in the Hall Of Fame. These are not two schmucks who couldn't play the game.

No they never played a game in the UC so, who the hell cares? Their numbers hang from the UC rafters maybe those shouldn't be there either, right? Those guys are as big as icons in this town as anybody has seen including Jordan. So, they can't share a little fame with the great Michael Jordan I say BS. They have every right to a statue as Michael does.

The only thing I hope is that they put them inside the UC so, the birds don't crap on them like they do Michael.

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