A VIEW FROM SLATS
Once again, we at Hockeenight have the distinct pleasure and honor of featuring the one and only Slats Radke as a contributor. As you may recall, Slats covered professional hockey for the Chicago American throughout the 1960s and early 70s. He has agreed to offer his unique insight upon occasion. So, with no further ado, Slats Radke:
So the one meathead with the kids calls me up and asks me for my take on the playoffs. I say, sure. At least this time he was good enough to not call me in the middle of my whist game.
The playoffs are games that are full of implications that have a huge impact on the playoffs. It's when all the boys in the league make the same amount. Back in the day, the Golden Jet's cut of the playoff money was as much as the guy who backed up Glenn Hall, and that guy never even got on the ice, except in practice, because before every game Mr. Goalie had to upchuck on account of his nerves, so Hall not only wound up hungry after every game, but he didn't have much money to go and get himself a decent steak, on account of it being the playoffs, and him making as much money as the guy who backed him up and never played.
All the boys in the league want to make the playoffs, and once they're there, they like staying there. When they're done for the year and shook the other guys' hands, it's off to the golf course. While it's nice to go to a top-notch course like Medina, where the Shriners play when they're not at parades, wearing their hats and driving their little cars to everyone's delight. But these boys are hockey players, not golfers, so they'd rather stay on the ice. In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret - you can always tell the worst hockey players, because they have the best golf games. The Canadiens were terrible golfers because they were busy every spring winning Stanley Cups, which is why the old joke was that fellows all have things they do before they play golf. For most guys, they polish their clubs, but for the Bruins, they play Montreal.
These boys on the Blackhawks are going to have to keep their golf bags on hold, at least for a little while. See, a lot of people complain about how many teams are in the playoffs. It's harder to make the playoffs now than it used to be. See, a little over half the teams make it now, but back when there were 6 teams, 4 made it. The West was a tough proposition, with the Red Wings, Leafs and Hawks duking it out, while it was usually Boston and Montreal out east.
But these Hawks haven't been there in a while, and they're going now. Well, it's not official yet, but they'd have to play worse than they've been playing, what with being able to lose a game and still get a point now, as long as it happens after the 60 minutes have expired, so they've for 4 points in their last 3 games while losing two of them, so go figure.
But in the playoffs, there's no 2 points/1 point business, it's just win more games than the other team, and if you keep doing it then eventually you get the Stanley Cup, which is a swell tropy since you can drink out of it, which you can't do with the trophy you win in any of the other sports, and you get your own name on there, which is great for the boys because you can see the trophy and know your name is on there, and if you have a boy and give him your name, well, then his name is on there too, just like if you have your pop's name, and his name is on there, and before you know it, you've got a Senior, Junior, and the Third, which doesn't sound like anything a Hockey player would like to be called, but there his name is, on the Stanley Cup anyway.
So the playoffs are still a few weeks away, but golf season for the Hawks is a little farther.