Comparing Blackhawks, Heat titles
Comparing the championship runs of the NBA’s Miami Heat and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks:
By Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
Both teams had long runs of success on their way to the respective titles, though Miami’s was actually unblemished while Chicago’s was a bit less shiny. The Heat put together the second-longest winning streak in NBA history during the regular season, 27 consecutive games. The Blackhawks opened the season with a 24-game streak of getting at least one point out of every game — and while that encompassed exactly half of the lockout-shortened season, their longest actual winning streak in that span was just 11 games, with two of those coming in shootouts. Chicago technically lost three times in that 24-game run, all in shootouts, and two of them consecutively.
Welcome to the Heat and Blackhawk eras in their respective leagues. For Miami, this year’s NBA championship was its third in eight years and its second straight. Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the second time in four seasons. Before the 2010 title, the last time the Blackhawks hoisted hockey’s biggest prize was 1961. And naysayers could try to take some of the luster off crowns for both cities, since the Heat title last year and the Blackhawks’ crown this season both came in lockout-shortened seasons.
Maybe something about the winds off Lake Erie helps create superstars. Heat star LeBron James hails from Akron, Ohio, maybe 40 miles or so south of the shores of the great lake — definitely close enough to get some good lake-effect storms in the winter. Blackhawks star Patrick Kane comes from Buffalo, N.Y., situated along the lake’s eastern edge. James won the NBA Finals MVP award; Kane was this year’s Conn Smythe Award winner, presented to the best player in the entire NHL postseason.
Ties that bind
Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon — whose club plays about a half-hour north of the arena that the Heat call home — was the architect of the Blackhawks team that won the Cup in 2010, and some of his moves paid off for Chicago again during this most recent title run. Meanwhile, Heat guard Dwyane Wade hails from Chicago, and remember that the Bulls tried unsuccessfully to sign him, James and Chris Bosh in the summer of 2010, just a few days after the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup.
Both of these postseasons will likely be remembered for what Boston lost. Last summer, it was Ray Allen, who turned down more years and money from the Celtics and decided to sign with the Heat. And Allen went on to hit what will go down as the biggest shot in Heat history, the 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in regulation of Game 6 that forced overtime and denied the San Antonio Spurs what would have been their fifth NBA title. And during the Stanley Cup final, the Bruins were up by a goal with about a minute remaining in Game 6 — then surrendered two lightning-fast goals to not only lose, but lose in regulation even, a stunning collapse that brought the NHL season to a quick and dramatic close.
Not only did LeBron James send a congratulatory tweet to Patrick Kane and the Blackhawks for winning the Stanley Cup, he got into some trouble with his kids over the ending of Chicago’s title-clincher. James was watching a movie with his sons when he checked Twitter and got word of Chicago’s late rally in Boston. The movie got put on pause so James could see the hockey highlights, and his kids weren’t exactly thrilled. Said James, on the similarities between the clubs: “We both had an amazing streak. We both finished first in our conferences. We both were down in series. There’s so many similarities to both teams, and to win it, like I said, when I saw them hoisting that trophy up, that Stanley Cup trophy, I was like, ‘I know exactly what that feeling is all about.’”
Bring on baseball (sadly)
Heat fans, Blackhawks fans, take heart. You had a good winter. Entering Tuesday, the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox all had one thing in common. They were all in last place. So after the Blackhawks hold their celebration, looks like Miami and Chicago will be parade-free for the next few months.
Heat record in this postseason? 16-7. Blackhawks record in this postseason? 16-7. And with that, the winter season is complete.