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updated: 3/5/2013 7:41 PM

It's all relative when it comes to sports streaks

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  • Blackhawks goalies Ray Emery, right, and Corey Crawford have played a key role in the team's record start.

      Blackhawks goalies Ray Emery, right, and Corey Crawford have played a key role in the team's record start.
    Associated Press

 
 

At first blush it seemed that ESPN, like a lot of us in the sports media, is officially out of ideas.

Why else would the network have to create a story by having Barry Melrose (hockey) and Stephen A. Smith (basketball) debate the relative excellence of the Blackhawks and the Heat?

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But, not to give ESPN too much credit, you come to realize that it's fun stuff, and there isn't enough fun stuff in sports these days.

The precise discussion is "which streak is more impressive between the Miami Heat and Chicago Blackhawks?"

Allow me to settle the question for Melrose, Smith and you.

The easy way out would be to insist that it's impossible to determine which is more impressive because it's like comparing George Clooney and Charlize Theron.

Hockey and basketball aren't just different sports. They're as different as different genders. Heck, all you need to know is that goaltending is an asset in one and an infraction in the other.

Basketball has the flagrant foul, which in hockey is known as a love pat. Basketball has teeth and hockey doesn't.

The Hawks' record of consecutive games with a point to start a season and the Heat's 15 straight victories are as different as cold steel on ice and hot sauce on hardwood.

Still, it's reasonably simple to choose between the two in head-on competition. The Blackhawks' record is more impressive than the Heat's run if only because hockey players have more scars.

If Dwyane Wade tried to dunk in the United Center, Hawks goalie Corey Crawford would whack him so hard across the shins that he'd never drive the lane again. If Brent Seabrook checked LeBron James into the boards, other Heat players would go running home to mommy instead of running over to help their teammate.

Might makes right in this conversation. Anyone who wants to argue the point can take it up with a guy on the Hawks who goes by Car Bomb Carcillo.

The debate couldn't stop at Hawks vs. Heat. It had to swerve toward how the Hawks' accomplishment compares to others in the modern era of Chicago sports.

Great, you're thinking, now we're going to pit different teams in different sports from different eras against each other.

Yes, we are because that's what we do.

White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko was asked down in Arizona to rank the start of the Hawks' season and the end of the Sox' 2005 season.

Konerko responded that the Hawks' run is superior, which didn't make any more sense than the convoluted logic he used to explain himself.

Back then those Sox fashioned an 11-1 postseason mark to win the World Series. Back here there is no guarantee that these Hawks will even make the Stanley Cup Finals.

Anything that happens in the playoffs is more important than anything that happens during the start, finish or end of any regular season.

A better debate is whether the Sox' 11-1 record on the way to a championship was better than the Bears outscoring three postseason opponents a combined 91-10 on the way to winning Super Bowl XX.

Here's the concrete conclusion: The current Hawks trump the Heat, the '10 Hawks champions trump the current Hawks at least for now, the '05 Sox trump those Hawks, the '85 Bears trump the Sox, and the '96 Bulls trump the Bears.

This will have to be reassessed if the 2013 Hawks go wire to wire to win another Stanley Cup.

Right now the only certainty is that nowhere are there more fun questions and more funny answers than in sports.

imrem@dailyherald.com

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