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Article posted: 2/26/2013 5:35 AM

Cup-minded Hawks' message to NHL loud & clear

By

The Chicago Blackhawks have sent their message loud and clear: Stanley Cup or bust.

Nobody -- and I mean nobody -- can tell me they saw this one coming.

That said, it came! It's the best start by a national hockey league team in history, and the Hawks have it all right now: depth, defense, goaltending, great coaching.

And even more important, their big stars have all come to play.

Stan Bowman and the whole organization deserve to take a bow.

There is still a long way to go, but first impressions have some merit. Patrick Kane is just making noise on the ice and captain Jonathan Toews is leading the charge.

The real beauty is the Hawks can play fast and quick or slow and deliberate. They can score 6 goals in one game and pitch a 1-0 shutout the next.

And best of all, the Hawks aren't showing any signs of slowing down.

This is a finely tuned machine right now, and Joel Quenneville keeps the clubhouse relaxed and holds everyone accountable. That strike-shortened season looks pretty good right now.

Keep quiet, Reggie Rose:

Derrick Rose is a South Side Chicago kid, a true superstar who is coming back from injury. His manager/brother Reggie recently commented he was disappointed the Bulls didn't add more pieces or another player to the mix this year.

Wow! He's entitled to his opinion, but he should keep it to himself.

Hey Reggie, your brother isn't even playing.

Somehow Reggie forgot the No. 1 goal. Get baby bro healthy and back on the court.

Derrick is a very popular guy, but things can turn quickly when an uninformed family member who doesn't know how to run a pro basketball team chirps up.

No, Reggie, life is good so don't screw it up! Let Chicago Bulls vice president John Paxson run the team, and you worry about your brother's health.

Readers comments:

Readers responded to my Friday question: Who would you rather have on the Bulls -- Joakim Noah or Dwight Howard?

And Bulls fans answered resoundingly for Noah.

John Dagen wrote Noah because he is scrappy, hustles and shows up to play every night. William Hogan took Noah because he has worked to be better offensively and has improved his free-throw percentages to the mid-70s. Cathleen Lawson sums it up: Noah has heart, hustle and muscle. But Bernice Roome says go for Howard because the Bulls need a real center. Thanks to all who responded.

Program note:

Watch me on Mancow on WPWR Ch. 50 at 6 a.m. on Fridays and Mondays.

Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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