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updated: 3/4/2013 11:10 AM

Separating Hawks, Wings is just criminal

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  • Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff (23) blocks a shot attempt by Blackhawks right wing Andrew Shaw (65) in front of Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) in the third period Sunday in Detroit. If realignment takes place the way it's being outlined, the Hawks and Red Wings will meet just twice per season.

      Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brian Lashoff (23) blocks a shot attempt by Blackhawks right wing Andrew Shaw (65) in front of Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) in the third period Sunday in Detroit. If realignment takes place the way it's being outlined, the Hawks and Red Wings will meet just twice per season.
    Associated Press

  • Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith (2) blocks a shot by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32), of the Czech Republic, in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Detroit. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in a shootout.

      Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith (2) blocks a shot by Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (32), of the Czech Republic, in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Detroit. The Blackhawks won 2-1 in a shootout.
    Associated Press

  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) deflects a shot by Detroit Red Wings center Damien Brunner (24) during the shootout of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Detroit. The Blackhawks won 2-1.

      Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) deflects a shot by Detroit Red Wings center Damien Brunner (24) during the shootout of an NHL hockey game, Sunday, March 3, 2013, in Detroit. The Blackhawks won 2-1.
    Associated Press

 
 

NHL realignment traveled under the radar last week here in Chicago, with the focus entirely on the Blackhawks' remarkable start.

That point streak to begin the season extended to 22 games with another wild finish Sunday in Detroit in what might have been the game of the year in the NHL this season.

The pace was breathtaking for the final 30 minutes as the two longtime rivals fought for every inch of ice and every loose puck.

And it is criminal to think that Gary Bettman is going to take the Red Wings away from the Hawks if realignment is passed, giving them the opportunity to play only twice a season.

Detroit will go to the Northeast Division and get Original Six foes Boston, Toronto and Montreal, while the Hawks will go stay in the Central with -- wait for it now -- Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Winnipeg.

Yecch.

One very good feature of the new playoff format would have divisional playoffs again, something that used to be a phenomenal part of the old postseason format.

But one of the reasons it was so great in the '80s was the incredible rivalries, like Hawks-Stars, Hawks-Blues, Hawks-Leafs and Hawks-Wings. Any No. 4 could seemingly beat any No. 1 in given year, and the games were ferocious.

I don't know about you, but the Hawks against any of these teams -- except maybe St. Louis -- doesn't do much for me.

It's a shame that an Original Six franchise like Chicago doesn't get more consideration.

The details

While the Hawks' streak is staggering, and Patrick Kane will get all the attention for the game-tying and shootout goals, it's defense, goaltending and the small, hustle plays that win games, and the play of the game Sunday was Viktor Stalberg's steal and pass that set up Kane.

Incredible.

Rory McIlroy

The world's top-ranked golfer has gone from golden boy to having a serious image problem in the time it took to quit his round Friday.

Rory McIlroy was suffering a 7-over beating through eight holes and instead of gutting it out he walked off the course in the middle of his ninth hole, telling reporters in the parking lot that it was nothing physical and that he was "not in a good place mentally."

An hour later, his management company issued a statement saying he left because of a sore wisdom tooth, which was a weak attempt to make quitting sound better.

He was eating during the round and seemed fine, and tweeted a picture the night before while he was out eating and drinking with his family, saying he was having a great time.

The 23-year-old McIlroy is going through a lot right now, the biggest issue being a new ball and equipment. There's the expectations of living up to his ranking and the $200 million Nike contract, not to mention a high-profile, public relationship and a swing that looks out of sorts.

He can't find his draw and he's missing right when he's trying to hit it left. Simply put, he's not flushing the ball, which is a shocking sight for a player who has been so consistent with such a beautiful swing.

McIlroy has a lot to deal with and instead of working through it, he's throwing clubs and Friday he just gave up.

There's no doubt McIlroy will get it back together but walking away isn't going to get it done -- or win him many fans.

Luke Guthrie

U of I product and Quincy native Luke Guthrie -- who was wearing Cubs colors Sunday -- didn't win the Honda, but the 23-year-old announced his presence on the Tour with authority. The guy is built like a pro boxer and has soft hands and virtually no weaknesses. Should be fun to watch going forward.

The quote

Jack Nicklaus to NBC Sunday: "I always felt like it's your talent that plays, not the golf clubs."

Best tweet

From @TheFakeESPN: "Pope Benedict and Mark Sanchez now share something in common. They both do nothing on Sundays."

And finally ...

NBC's Jay Leno: "The ratings are so bad that today NBC called Manti Te'o to bring in some imaginary viewers."

brozner@dailyherald.com

•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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