The Old Apartment

The Old Apartment

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"Broke into the old apartment
This is where we used to live
Broken glass, broke and hungry
Broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live..." Stephen Page, Ed Robertson

Ok, just to be clear, this is not a forlorn plea to bring back the stripper in the "Shoot The Puck" competition in between periods.

The Old Apartment is a song that serendipitously appeared on my Spotify recently - shout out to my son Greg who hooked it up for this old geezer!. I immediately reached for the volume control and cranked it. Yep, one of them songs; we all have them don't we? Those songs that "Blow a hole in the radio, when it hasn't sounded good all week..." as The Clash noted.

The song is what I would label, "Smash Mouth Rock." It gets all up in your face and everything. It needs to be played at Volume 11! As I replayed it about five times in a row, the vicissitudes of Blackhawk hockey that I have followed for over 60 years, came to the forefront of my mind.

The song is actually sort of a longing, a reminiscence of old times. The writer feels nostalgia "for faded memories, blending into dull tableaux." (For St. Louis Blues fans; tableaux = a graphic description or representation) Take a look at the two pictures below. For me, Stosh brings back great memories of following the men of four feathers, despite no talk of "Dynasty." Memories of "broken hearts and broken bones," (and cars that you were never sure that were going to start on a sub zero night in January), remain fond ones. For those of us fortunate enough to watch a Hawk like Mikita weave his magic for so many years, it becomes apparent that there is often a lot of good along with the bad. (Admittedly, you really have to have on rose colored glasses as we enter the 2022/23 season!) Hell, I got excited just watching Magnuson take to the ice before the periods, skating like a bat out of hell.

The Rink - Chicago Blackhawks Legend Stan Mikita Passes Away

18,014 Jonathan Toews Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

Winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015, proved to be the Blackhawk fans, Mount of The Transfiguration moments. That was when Peter, James and John saw Jesus, Elijah and Moses high upon a mountain top. I suspect the apostles' descent down from the mountain top was a lot more painful than what we Hawk fans are experiencing! But nonetheless, it is painful to go through.

"Why did you paint the walls (Why did you trade Debrincat)
Why did you clean the floor (Why did you let Strome go)
Why did you plaster over (Why'd you give up on Kirby)
The hole I punched in the door. (We need someone who can score)
This is where we used to live

As we head down into the valley, no doubt we are headed for some holes in the door. Try to avoid throwing shoes at the TV. But I suspect there will be some bright spots along the way. We knew a couple in Saugatuck, MI., who built their own house - they actually laid every brick, one by one. No big deal right, a lot of people build their own house. But Kevin and Rejine lived in a hut, not much larger than a small garage, for over 10 years while they were building it! It was heated by a wood burning stove that struggled to get the temperature above 50 degrees in the dead of winter. They had a mini queen mattress and no running water.

Bear in mind Kevin was a CPA and Rejine was a Physical Therapist, and were both Dutch. You know that saying about the Dutch being cheap! "Zuiniigheid met vlijt" - thrift and diligence! Although, I'm pretty sure most marriage counselors would try and dissuade couples from attempting this!

Old Abandoned Hut Stock Photo - Download Image Now - Forest, Ruined, Shed -  iStock

The United Center this year?

Oddly, as the beautiful home they were building became habitable, they still chose to remain in the hut until t's completion! LOL, their heating bills for the big house were considerably higher than the hut! For them, clearly, the journey was as interesting as the destination. I often wonder when they finally reached "easy street," if their marriage would pass the test of success. From the comments and complaints about the current dire straits of Blackhawk hockey, it is obvious that not many fans want to go back to "the hut."

Dare I say some Hawk fans have divorced themselves, or at least are thinking about a trial separation, from the Hawks. Moments like watching Bobby Hull go coast to coast, or Ted Bulley's thunderous corner checks, Terry Ruskowski's anger issues, Maggie's red work or his and Lysiak's flowing locks, Tony-O making flailing around spastically between the pipes, pale in comparison to hoisting the Cup...or do they? (please add some of your own favorite moments below!) My favorite moment occurred in "The Oiler Game," on December 23rd, 2007.The Phoenix was clearly rising from the ashes at that time. The Hawks had beat the Eastern Conference leading Senators the night before. The Sunday night game was a sellout, one of the first of many more to come over the next 13 years or so.

The Hawks had just killed off a furious 6 on 4 assault, eking out a scintillating 3 - 2 victory. Trust me, the cheers were as loud that night as any that filled the arena when the Hawks won the Cup. After raising their tomahawks, to a roaring crowd, Martin Lapointe started clapping his hands while looking up at us second cousins in the 300 level. There is something special about 300 level hockey players, no? We fans in the nose bleeds went wild! In what turned out to be one huge group hug, the fans in the UC fell in love with that team at that moment.

Hockey30 | Martin Lapointe MÉPRISE Shane Wright...

Something tells me Martin did a lot of curls!

Yet an even bigger "moment" was about to come.

After the three stars were announced, (Ruutu - can you say Atomic Fire Ball Hit of The game - should have been one of them), the Hawks one by one returned to the ice, applauded and waved to their fans. Hjarlmarrson had a smile on his face like a kid in a candy store. I told my 13 year old daughter that in 40 years of watching Chicago Sports, that I've never witnessed anything quite like that moment. It proved to be the moment "The Indian Head" became firmly implanted in Taylor's heart.

Old Apartment moments die hard.

"Why did they pave the lawn?
Why did they change the lock?
Why did I have to break it
I only came here to talk
This is where we used to live

Well, that brings us to this season. Honestly, I can't ever recall going into a season as hopeless and morose as this one. I've been reduced to zero expectations. Most of my conversations with my hockey acquaintances begin with, "The Hawks are going to suck this year." We seem to be adopting the Golden Knight's model of signing a bunch of middle of the roster players, except we are in the $1, mildo to $3 mildo range. Vegas was in the $3mildo to $5 mildo range.

A big part of the rebuild was trading away our brightest young stars, in an effort to get younger and faster. (oxymoron alert) In an apparent Freaky Friday moment, Jack Johnson-35, Jared Tinordi-30, Andreas Athanasiou-28 and Max Domi - 27 were added on to the youth movement mindset.

Outside of Murphy and Seth Jones, I'm not feeling too confident in our blue line. I will admit, Kevin Korchinski appears to be a diamond in the rough! Hopefully he'll help me get over DeBrincat being jettisoned. Did anyone think Korchinski looked out of place in the preseason? Anybody else besides me going to be keeping an eye on the Seattle Thunderbirds box scores this season? (And the Canadiens - Dach, the Senators-DeBrincat and the Capitals-Strome)

I'm extremely disappointed Reichel was sent down to The Big R. On a team that seems desperate for goal scorers, Reichel seemed like a lock to make the Hawks roster to me. Bring him back and put him on a line with damn it! It does make me wonder though; if he is still playing in the AHL at age 20, am I too high on him? Will what I considered to be one of the Hawks bright spots at the end of last season, fizzle out. I really don't buy the "He'll learn more in the AHL where he can dominate.

Actually, a big question mark heading into this perplexing season is proving to be turning out ok thus far. Mrazek and Stalock have both played solidly. With the defensive corps in front of them, they no doubt will have to stick their finger in the dike. More rubber will be laid on them than US 30 drag Strip.

What I have found very curious is how many blogger's at Second City Hockey have claimed their ok with this rebuild. Will you really be watching this team in February if they are 20 games out of first place? I fear goal scorers could be in short supply. (Hopefully, Sam Lafferty will keep up his torrid pace!)

Truthfully though, any success the Hawks have will depend on how the players coalesce into a team. Will we play some "smash mouth hockey?" If they devolve into 20 players just collecting a paycheck, things will head south very quickly. Will they develop a Pink Floyd mindset..."Us and them?" I have noticed a difference in our own end on defense this season. Thank the Lord we've scrapped the man to man system that oftentimes had our defensemen chasing a puck carrier to the blue line. That made me want to kick a kitten.

This is the first time in 11 years I haven't purchased season tickets. Part of it is that I'm getting old. The other part is I'm pissed about losing some key young players for a bucket full of hope. My protest isn't lasting too long though. My son and I intend to be at "The Old Apartment," on Friday night. As Greg put it, "I like yelling Detroit sucks." The one really nice thing is tickets should be much more affordable this season. From past experiences I can unequivocally say, there will be special moments this season. Nothing compares to actually being at the game.

"Broke into the Old Apartment
Tore the phone out of the wall
Only memories fading memories
Blending into a dull tableaux
I want them back"

Well, as Steve Miller once sang, "You've got to go through hell before you get to heaven." This "Transfiguration" for the Hawks should prove interesting. Keep passing the open windows Hawk fans; it won't be long before we're singing....

"This is where we used to live"

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