O'Donnell: Bouquets, brickbats and a whole lotta hustle to get the full Wolves Calder Cup Finals on local TV
THE ON-ICE HUSTLE it took to get the Chicago Wolves to the Calder Cup Finals was matched by the back checking bang-bang of team management to get the full silver skate stakes on local TV.
Hours after Coach Rocky Thompson and his Rosemont-based terminators dispatched the San Diego Gulls in the AHL Western Conference Finals, Mike Gordon -- the Wolves president of business operations -- was speed communicating with old chum Steve Farber, Weigel Broadcasting's senior vice president of ops.
The result is that fans will be able to see all road and home games as the Wolves go best-of-seven against the Charlotte Checkers.
Game 1 -- a 4-3 OT win by the Wolves -- aired on WCIU-TV (26.1) from Bojangles' Coliseum on Saturday night.
All subsequent games can be seen on "The U Too" (26.2) beginning with Game 2 Sunday at 5 p.m.
That's a first in the current postseason as the Wolves try for their first Calder Cup since 2008.
Weigel had been carrying home games only through the first three rounds from Allstate Arena.
"Steve and I both know how much our city embraces its sports teams," Gordon said. "Especially when they're competing for a championship. That made it very easy to put this together on such short notice."
Jason Shaver and Billy Gardner will call all play, including Game 3 next Wednesday and Game 4 on Thursday from the Allstate.
And Wolves owners Don Levin and Buddy Meyers along with Mayor Brad Stephens continue to offer that most elusive inducement for the rabid electing instead to follow the roads to Rosemont: Free parking.
STREET-BEATIN': So, Toronto has a toned-down Drake -- who was clever enough to wear a Dell Curry Raptors jersey to Game 1 Thursday night -- the Lakers retain iconic Jack Nicholson and the Knicks keep Spike Lee hopping. If the Bulls ever get their brick pile of a rebuild right, who do they counter with? Tom Dreesen? Kanye West? Terri Hemmert (whose "Breakfast With The Beatles" Sunday mornings on WXRT-FM 93.1 remains a true civic treasure)? … Speaking of the LA-La, a must-read for anyone who wants an extremely informed look at the tar pits of toxicity that can plague an NBA organization is Baxter Holmes' "Lakers 2.0: The Failed Reboot of the NBA's Crown Jewel" at espn.com. The reporting of Holmes about the foul air between Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss and LeBron James and his Akron Inc. should prompt an EPA investigation. … The Raptors-Golden State Finals resumes Sunday (ABC-7, 7 p.m.) and Steve Kerr and his wrecking crew are so far into a Napa Zen that it's laughable. With or without any of their currently sidelined or stride-backs, the road Warriors -- who opened anywhere from a pick to plus-1½ for Game 2 -- simply need to win one game in Toronto and that will be that. … To the ice, the Stanley Cup wrapup between St. Louis and Boston is proving to be vastly superior in theatricality, watchability and sheer brutality as that Final continues a long weekend in St. Louis (Game 4, NBC-5, Monday, 7 p.m.). The two signature plays in The Hub were Torey Krug's helmetless hit of the Blues' Robert Thomas in Game 1 and Oskar Sundqvist's boarding slam of the Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk in Game 2. (As one rink-sider wrote, "St. Louis would prefer the series be played in a dark alley.") … The suspension of swing coach Hank Haney from SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio is most unfortunate because he's long been one of the most cooperative and affable gents among the game's true elite. Haney -- who was on speed dial into Tiger Woods muscle memory for six major championships -- has apologized for remarks perceived by some as insensitive regarding Korean players and the LPGA and is expected back on air soon. … From the Girls-Just-Want-To-Have-An-Audience Desk: The WNBA will have unprecedented national TV coverage this season including as many as 58 games on ESPN along with 45 on NBA TV and 40 on CBSSN. … North Clark Street chortlers are sniffing that if the Cubs execute many more midseason signings like creaky Carlos Gonzalez, they may have to take out a license to deal in antiques. ("CarGo" is old enough to remember when Odalys Garcia ruled Univision's "Lente Loco.") … Non-verifiable report that the Bears will ease up on horse-collaring press restrictions after both OTAs and veteran minicamp are over next week. They will be allowing media-looking types within the city limits of Lake Forest without a password (currently reported to be, "sturgeon"). ... Mets broadcaster Keith Hernandez noted: "There's no longer anything special about home runs." Yes, but sacrifice bunts and complete games are now about as rare as a Little Leaguer without his own bat bag. … And Jimmy Kimmel brought complete A-game to his brief ABC prime-time monologue before the NBA Finals opened, cracking, "The Warriors are super-motivated to win this series because when you collect three straight championship rings, you can trade them in for one championship necklace."
Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.