Slats Returns to Talk Hawks

Slats Returns to Talk Hawks

(Slats Radke, our favorite mythical writer, once wrote for the old Chicago American.  He wrote for Hockeenight occasionally prior to a couple articles with Chicago Tough.  We finally found him again.  Still kicking.)

Well, here I am behind the typewriter for the first time in a long while. The folks at Hockeenight don’t seem to come calling as much ever since they got big time: articles on big websites, gatherings at bars, and now posting semi-nude pictures of themselves on-line. At least this is what I’m told from my honest friend at Chicago Tough, who seems to be reliable, but a bit erratic when it comes back to paying debts on horses.

But more on all that later.

Tonight, I was called upon to write about the Black Hawks’ dismantling of their fellow Original 6 rival Detroit Red Wings. John found me looking over the race report outside Denny’s across from Maywood, so, alas, I had no choice but to answer his demands.

As he knows, but you may not, I was at the old Daily American back in 1965 when the Blackhawks last played the Red Wings in a Game 7. Those were the days when you had to get to the box two hours early or it’s get occupied by some young buck like Musberger. If some non-sports whacko like Kupcinet or Royko was there, you’d let them stay; no reason to rock the waters of good press.

Well, that Game 7 sticks in my mind more than any other because of what happened the night before the game in Detroit.

Those were the fading days of Motown, and I along with Eric Nesterenko hit up a bar called The Cadillac Club the night before the game. Turns out we were the palest of complexion at the bar outside of Bobby Hull. Mr. Hull was collecting a couple ladies to go to another party. Now, this is 1965. Those things didnt happen…well, that’s if you don’t include the time I saw Don Elston with an unnamed lass at 3 am on Rush Street back in 63…but that’s another story.

Well, story goes that Hull has a couple drinks and unfortunately said something wrong to a guy, and before you knew it the three of us were chased out of there. We had to hop in Bobby’s car and ride 100 mph back to Chicago where he dumped me off back in Elmwood Park.

The three of us gathered back together the next morning and drove back up to Detroit.  That’s where Billy Reay gave Hull quite the tongue-lashing, but it was still a fun time for all of us!

That night, I get to the press box early. In the fog of Rock’n’Rye’s and Old Styles, I vaguely remember Bobby lighting Sawchuck up for two goals and the rest is history.

The Hawks would lose to the Canadiens in the finals in 7 games, just like they would in 71 and 73. That was when Montreal had Beliveau, but before they had Dryden. They had Gump Worsley. Those days they’d only announce the penalties in French at The Forum. The panes on the lower level were so low you could actually pull somebody’s hair if you wanted to. Moose Vasko once punched a mustachioed Canadiens fan within inches of his life, but that was Moose.

I haven’t been to the new place; this United Center they speak of, and quite frankly I have no reason to. Back in the old days, you could smoke and drink to your heart’s content while cursing loudly in the press box.

I rather spend my day going to Maywood and playing a couple races. Back in the old days, you could drop your kids off at the Kiddieland next to the track while you and the buddies could watch the ponies.

Not anymore, though. The Kiddieland is now a Costco, and I guess they got tons of great deals in there, but I won’t step foot in the place because I’ll be asking where I can get some of those churros from back in the 70s at Kiddieland.

Well, there you have it. I’ll hope that the Black Hawks can push off these octopus throwing harlots back to Motown so they can focus on another cup.

Until then, I’ll try to get back to the Idle Hour lounge for Game 7 and pray I wind up this week in the black.


Leave a comment