It's time for random thoughts, starting with the one team on everyone's mind in Chicago.
Hail to the champs:
The parade for the Chicago Blackhawks is today, and while congratulations go to the entire organization, t a special tip of the hat goes to general manager Stan Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville, who really got it done.
Bowman did a brilliant job rebuilding the team around a great core of players, and Quenneville was as steady as she goes. The reason I give them the most praise is because I am sure if the Hawks had gone out early in the playoffs for the third straight year, they would have been held more responsible than anyone else.
Well done, gentlemen.
Uninspiring shortstop play
While I wrote about the trials of Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro in my last column, I also have to mention the shortstop on the other side of town, Alexei Ramirez.
Ramirez is having a poor year with 13 errors and seemingly uninspired play. While the Chicago White Sox continue to flounder, the fans are leaving in droves, and the team almost can't give away the tickets. I sense that White Sox fans don't like this organization much from top to bottom.
Shrewd business move:
Doc Rivers maneuvered his way out of Boston by saying he couldn't talk. With three years left on a deal, the pride of Maywood, Illinois said he needed to take a year off to help his voice. Very shrewd business move.
The writing was on the wall -- the aging team looked bad and Rivers wanted out so he told general manager Danny Ainge he might have trouble speaking the next year.
Ainge had no choice, but he actually got a gift. Ainge probably figured if Rivers didn't want to be there, fine -- now we have $21 million, we get a first-round pick and get to rebuild.
Rivers didn't get all he wanted, and mentioned in an interview he was disappointed he couldn't get a certain player. That, of course, was Kevin Garnett.
Wow! River's voice has been bad for years, but I guess he experienced a miraculous recovery because he has been hired by the Los Angeles Clippers as the senior vice-president of Basketball Operations and head coach.
Rivers wasn't going to run the Celtics, so it's appears to be a great deal for Doc. I just want to remind him that the grass is greener on the other side until you get to the other side.
Congratulations to the New England Patriots for doing what most teams would not have done. They cut their star tight end Aaron Hernandez as soon as the handcuffs went on.
Owner Robert Kraft did the right thing, and I heard the analysts wondering if New England may owe Hernandez money. If they do, Kraft doesn't care. He just wanted Hernandez gone. Great move.
Catch me on "Mancow" on WPWR Ch. 50 at 6:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
• 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.