O'Donnell: Sox, Bears, Cubs ... is next Chicago champ about to wolf one down in Rosemont?
EVEN THEIR MOST ARDENT FANS would probably acknowledge the Chicago Wolves are an acquired icicle.
But on a Chicago sportscape filled with so many riddles and rebuilds, the American Hockey League's current Rosemont royals are as close to a live championship contender as it gets.
Coach Ryan Warsofsky and his diggers will try to inch closer to the organization's first Calder Cup since 2008 vs. the Milwaukee Admirals at Allstate Arena Sunday (AHLTV.com, streaming audio at Chicago Wolves Facebook page, 3 p.m.).
It'll be Game 2 of the Central Division Finals. The Wolves -- 9-5 against Milwaukee during the regular season -- are significant favorites to take the best-of-five series.
After that, it would be the Western Conference Finals and the Calder Cup best-of-seven.
TV ANALYST BILLY GARDNER -- capping his 20th season calling Wolves games -- sees more than casual comparisons between star Andrew Poturalski and crew and the '08 Calder champs.
"The teams are very similar," said Gardner, the former Blackhawk who works alongside play-by-play man Jason Shaver. "Both strong and deep in goaltending, defense and forwards. This team may just be deeper in veteran scoring."
The 28-year-old Poturalski is the epicenter of that seasoned playmaking. He led the AHL with 101 points -- including 73 assists. He was barely edged for league MVP by T.J. Tynan, the Orland Park native whose Ontario Reign has been eliminated from the AHL postseason.
THE WOLVES FINISHED the regular season 50-16-5-5. Their 110 points were a league best and the .724 points percentage set a franchise record.
"They all bought in after Thanksgiving and haven't looked back," said Gardner, who called the 2008 Calder Cup sequence next to Pat Foley.
"It's a great time to hop on the Wolves bandwagon."
Especially in a sports region rife with so many riddles and rebuilds.
• IN A MONTH WHEN an 80-1 shot won the Kentucky Derby, Fox Sports is apparently about to pop a different sort of rock lobster.
Credible reports are indicating Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call Super Bowl 57 to a TV audience close to 100M from Glendale, Ariz., next Feb. 12.
Anyone with $50 on that exacta last September, please call your accountant when IRS Form 1099 (gambling winnings) arrives.
Earlier in the millennium, Burkhardt was selling cars in New Jersey to keep his broadcasting career alive. Olsen was playing TE in the ball of confusion doing business as the Chicago Bears.
Roughest edge to the speculation is that Fox may rush Tom Brady into the Cinderella carriage if his team isn't playing in SB 57.
Brady to Fox in a three-man rookie SB booth would be like finding out Anderson Cooper will be releasing a hip-hop collection with Carrie Underwood and Star Jones.
Looming beneficiary of all may be Addison's very own Adam Amin. If talent and inestimable ceiling matter, he should nudge Joe Davis for the No. 2 chair in the Fox/NFL play-by-play vertical.
STREET-BEATIN': Jay Mariotti furrows through perilous topsoil with a white-hot substack.com column headlined: "Reinsdorf's creepy empire is due for a sweeping investigation." To paraphrase the late Roy Leonard, it's not for the whole family. (Will The Chairman reply?) ...
WGN-AM (720)'s "100th birthday celebration" this week devolved into a hollow dirge about what the station once was. Now, nothing but ghosts -- Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Wally Phillips and all. Blockbuster Video could have staged a more buoyant anniversary. ...
Cheryl Raye-Stout is contributing NBA playoff analysis to the BBC. She's denying that her next role will be as a replacement Eliza Doolittle in the current West End revival of "My Fair Lady." ...
Tim Carey and Hawthorne Race Course took yet another hit with the announcement the track is cutting back to two live days of racing each week. Brutal news for Illinois thoroughbreds, as is the idling incompletion of the HRC casino. ...
Churchill Inc. watchers still can't believe Anthony "Press Box" Petrillo wasn't utilized to help diminish coverage of the 2022 Kentucky Derby. The peevish track helper will forever be remembered for clearing out the Arlington Park press box on the final day saluting Dick Duchossois last August. ...
Sure nobody's counting, but it was 49 years ago this month Tony La Russa and Tom Lundstedt (Prospect High, '67) were road roommates on the Wichita Aeros. Lundstedt moved from the AAA team to the parent Cubs by late summer and will not confirm that The Sleepy Senor was already snoring. ...
And Sir Walter Ruston, on that simmering South Side Ozzie-For-Manager movement: "How do you say 'Windy City Rehab' in Español?"
• Jim O'Donnell's Sports and Media column appears Sunday and Thursday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.