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Cubs only need (40-0) record to match Blackhawks’ season-opening winning streak

By bullpenbrian - March 5, 2013 - 1:25 pm Leave a comment.

Chicago Blackhawks

Imagine if the Cubs, or any MLB team for that matter, could match the Chicago Blackhawks’ NHL-record season-opening winning streak of 22 games, and counting.

Of course there’s one very big difference, that being the Blackhawks (19-0-3) technically haven’t lost a game in regulation. Three times they’ve fallen in a shootout this season.

With it unlikely baseball ever decides extra inning games with a home run derby contest, the comparison doesn’t add up. But for the sake of having a little fun, let’s do it anyway…

The longest winning streak in NHL history belongs to the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers who won 35 consecutive games without suffering a regulation loss—a streak that began three-games into the season.

Until the Blackhawks’ magical run, the NHL’s previous longest season-opening winning streak was set by the Anaheim Might Ducks in 2006-07 with a run of 16 games without a regulation loss.

The longest winning streak in Major League Baseball still belongs to the New York Giants who won 26 consecutive games in 1916. Baseball’s longest season-opening winning streak, however, is 13-games, accomplished by the 1982 Atlanta Braves and later matched by the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers.

Another wrinkle with the Blackhawks’ streak is that it’s coming during a shortened regular season (48-games) due to the lengthy NHL lockout, which comes out to playing 58-percent of the league’s normal 82-game regular season schedule.

So percentage wise, the Hawks have completed roughly 45-percent of their shortened regular season without a regulation loss. If, however, we calculate this out to what would be a full-length regular season (82-games), the Blackhawks would be roughly 25-percent of the way through the campaign.

By baseball standards, a 162-game regular season schedule condensed to 58-percent would equal 94-games, thus meaning a baseball team would have to win its first 24-games to match the Blackhawks’ season-opening streak this year–which would basically double the longest season-opening winning streak ever to start a season (the Braves & Brewers, 13-games).

And when the numbers are punched out over an entire 162 game season, that season-opening winning streak, which would need to cover 25-percent of the season, would have to be roughly (40-0) to match the Blackhawks! Talk about incredible!

Professor of mathematical sciences at Bentley University in Waltham, Mass, Richard Cleary, suggests the probability of another NHL team matching the Blackhawks’ season-opening winning streak as once ever 700 years. The catch of course, is that every team only has one chance to start the season with a winning streak.

So what are the odds of a similar streak every happening in baseball? I have no idea, other than to guess it’s on the doorstep of impossible.

As a side note, the Cubs hold claim to the second-longest winning streak in baseball history (not to open a season) spanning 21-games, and, they’ve done it twice: June 5-July 8, 1880 & Sept. 4-Sept. 27, 1935.

As for the Cubs’ longest winning streak to open a season, that one I’m not sure of. But I’d be just fine settling for a win on opening day in 2013.


Would Baseball Benefit From A Shorter Regular Season?

By bullpenbrian - January 22, 2013 - 2:30 am Leave a comment.

The NHL opened its regular season this weekend with a shortened 48-game schedule due to the league’s lengthy lock-out. That’s 58-percent of its normal 82-game campaign, which had me wondering…how would have a shortened MLB season changed the playoffs last year?

Actually, not too much.

Under such circumstances the regular season would have ended after 94-games (which falls in mid July). At that mark only one American League team that eventually made the postseason would’ve been left out–Oakland. And the same in the National League–St. Louis.
(The Cubs were (38-56) after 94-games).

Oakland of course went on to have an incredible second half to win the AL West (they trailed Texas by 6.5 games in mid July) and the Cardinals overcame a 4.5 games deficit to jump Pittsburgh for the wild card. Otherwise, all else remained in tact in the final standings for division winners and wild cards through 162-games.


In baseball the Fourth of July is typically a good indicator of which teams will make the postseason. Chances are, if you’re not battling for the division on Independence Day, you won’t be come late September, either.

For this reason I feel baseball could benefit from a shorter regular season, perhaps one consisting of 154-games, as it did until 1961 when the league increased its season due to expansion.

Shortening the season wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the late-season drama we’ve seen the past two years (it would just happen sooner), the postseason wouldn’t be as overshadowed by the start of the NFL season, and the World Series wouldn’t end in November.

Besides, it’s not as if the league hasn’t already cheapened the regular season with the addition of a one-game wild card play-in game (that’s another story), so if the emphasis is on brightening the lights on the postseason, why not make it more appealing to the masses by playing it sooner?

It’s unlikely baseball’s owners are willing to come off the gate money from losing four home games a year, but it seems an awfully small sacrifice to give the game the attention it deserves, but lacks, in October/November.

What do you think?
Is less more?
If so, how many games should baseball play in its regular season?


Has NHL Not Learned Anything From MLB Labor Disputes?

By bullpenbrian - September 17, 2012 - 5:05 am Leave a comment.

The stupidity of the NHL lockout is breathtaking. It’s the fourth time since 1992 the league has shutdown, and the third time it’s happened under Commissioner Gary Bettman’s watch.

The last lockout cost the league (and its fans) the entire 2004-05 season. But to the league’s credit, major changes prevailed during negotiations that set the course for the sport to reach an all-time high in popularity in the United States after years of clinging to any sense of relativity among the country’s other professional sports leagues.

At last, the NHL reached the cusp of entrenching itself as a major contender for sports fans’ attention. For all intents and purposes, NHL hockey in the States has never been better…until now.

The latest lockout that began Saturday at midnight puts all that’s been gained over the past seven-years in jeopardy of being lost. And if that sounds like a familiar tune, it should.

Major league baseball, of course, has seen its fair share of work stoppages. It took two hands to count all the strikes and lockouts from 1970 (eight) to the most damaging stoppage in 1994, which brought on the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in 90-years.

Baseball’s eventual implementation of revenue sharing and luxury taxes did help stabilize the industry, but fans felt so spurned by all the bickering between players and owners that attendance plummeted 20-percent when the league finally resumed play in the spring of 1995.

It took years for baseball to recover, and had it not been for the steroid infused home run chase in 1998, it could have easily taken much longer.

Perhaps, what baseball (and Bud Selig) doesn’t get enough credit for is the deal the two sides struck in August of 2002 on a new tentative collective bargaining agreement. Although the deal came right down to the deadline of a player’s strike, no games were lost, and the season carried on without a work stoppage.

Since then major league baseball has seen continual growth including setting year-over-year attendance records and a steady rise in the game’s popularity, not only within the States, but globally.

What more does the NHL need to know about the damaging effects of a work stoppage that they couldn’t learn from major league baseball, or from their own past for that matter? How could hockey let this happen again?

Does the NHL not realize another lengthy lockout risks damaging its reputation beyond repair, or that the almightily dollars both sides are squabbling for won’t be there like it once was?

Baseball, thankfully, did realize the negative magnitude of another labor dispute, found a way to strike its ‘historic’ deal in 2002, and is now thriving.

That very same opportunity still exists for the NHL—if a deal is reached before losing any regular season games. But if they don’t, and regular season games are lost, and so too is the Winter Classic, good luck rebounding a second time.

It seems the NHL may be misjudging its recent success as having weaved its way into the fabric of the American sports landscape, which is a huge mistake. Hockey has always been, and remains, icing on the cake for the average American sports fan. The masses can live without it, unlike the big-three: NFL, MLB & NBA.

There isn’t a home run chase that can save the NHL from another drawn out work stoppage, and even if one could, hardly anyone will be paying attention. The only answer remains the obvious one–labor peace.

Shame on the NHL for thinking otherwise.


Pitching Greats At Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - November 4, 2010 - 12:01 am 6 comments.

I was excited to be back at the United Center Wednesday night. Mainly, I was thrilled to get my first look in the flesh at Marty Brodeur.

To see one of the greats of all-time between the pipes is like seeing a Pedro Martinez or Greg Maddux pitch.

Brodeur has led the Devils to three Stanley Cup championships, is a four-time Vezina Trophy winner, a two-time gold medalist and a 10-time All Star. To say he’s the best ever in goal is no stretch.

Brodeur, unfortunately, left the game in the second period with a bruised right elbow. And to make matters worse, the Hawks lost 5-3 to a New Jersey team that ranked dead last in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, I’ve been fortunate to see numerous greats pitch at Wrigley Field.  Just in the past few seasons I’ve caught Pedro, Glavine, Oswalt, Lee and Halladay. But a few others I’d like to see remain.

Here’s my list in no particular order: Johan Santana, David Price, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez. Who else should I add?


Blackhawk Pride!

By bullpenbrian - June 10, 2010 - 1:00 am 2 comments.

I jumped off the couch when Patrick Kane shot the puck. Hands on head, I frantically looked at the back of the net…no puck, no goal light.

Did the puck go in? Did the Hawks just win the cup? Is Pat Kane’s victory lap warranted?

It’s not how I dreamed the Hawks winning Lord Stanley, but forget about dreams, this time it’s for real! Hawks Win!, Hawks Win!

Great sound from NBC gathering the reactions of the Hawk players lifting the best trophy in all of sports. Nothing fake about all the hooting and hollering, just pure unscripted emotion.

Hossa is the second player to hoist the cup, which speaks volumes about what he means to this team. Then Sopel, deservingly so, who was second to none sacrificing his body. Dunkin ‘Teeth’, all seven of them, sacrificed to lift the cup. Seabrook and Bolland celebrating for the first time…John Madden his third, but says this one means the most.

How far the Hawks have come in so little time. My first Hawks game was in 2003. The United Center so empty you could hear the players talking on the ice. Then came Toews and Kane, followed by Rocky Wirtz…a winning season, a playoff birth, Coach Q…the sellout crowds…Chelsea Dagger.

Now a Stanley Cup. Simply, unbelievable.



Hawks Sweepstakes Winner!

By bullpenbrian - January 12, 2009 - 12:45 am Leave a comment.

I’ll thank the White Sox for my free tickets to Sunday’s Hawks’ game against Nashville.

Back in October I entered a Blackhawks Sweepstakes at Four Corners Tavern while watching the Sox battle the Devils Rays in the ALDS.

Never thought anything of it until last Friday when I found out I actually won the Sweepstakes!

My loot: two 100-level tickets, a free Hawks sweater and lunch with a Blackhawks ambassador come February.

As for the jersey, I could choose between home red or road white: I went Griswold.

Hey kids look, a deer!

Look kids, a deer!

Below I’ve posted a few picks from the game: Hawks won 3-1 behind some fine net minding from my man, K-Habby, who I got to watch up close.

Khabibulin gets focused

Khabibulin gets focused

Faceoff during the third period

Faceoff during the third period

Khabibulin is the game's first star

Khabibulin is the game's first star

Wouldn't be sitting here without the Sox!

Wouldn't be sitting here without the Sox!


Wrigley + Hawks = Cubs

By bullpenbrian - January 1, 2009 - 5:00 am Leave a comment.

Leave it to the home team at Wrigley Field to disappoint in a big game.

The Hawks might as well as worn Cubby blue with the “C” on the sweater.

Up early and down late is the typical game recap of a post season atmosphere for the good guys playing on the North Side.

Of course, the event itself was a true spectacle and certainly one of the most exciting sporting event I’ve ever been to in my life…it’s definitely in my top three.

If anything, the Hawks’ controlling 3-1 lead after one period was worth the false hope that Chicago might actually beat the defending world champs for the first time this season (0-3-1).

And although I’m not against Huet starting the game, he should’ve been pulled earlier in favor of Khabibulin who entered late in the third period.

By the way, great retaliation hit by Seabrook on Dan Cleary (who knuckled Kane Tuesday night), not only does Cleary go head-over-heels into the Hawks’ bench but, his return to the ice brought about a too many men on the ice penalty.

Still a bit surprised we didn’t see a single fight, especially with Burish back in the lineup.

Today’s game boils down to this: the Redwings are far superior to the Blackhawks, bottom line.

Detroit is skilled, tough and full of championship caliber players who can skate circles around Chicago when they want to…and that’s just what they did from the second period on.

Doesn’t mean the Hawks can’t match Detroit’s level of play down the road but, Chicago is still a year or two away from giving Detroit a competitive seven game series in April.

  • Notes: Bob Costas earlier this week: “Let’s say for the sake of argument that the Blackhawks went on to the Stanley Cup Finals, having played a game at Wrigley, then they’ve done better than any team that played at Wrigley since 1945.”
  • According to NHL.com, the rink sits 112 feet from home plate and 288 feet from the center-field wall.

Top moment was the National Anthem (pic SI)

Top moment was the National Anthem (pic SI)

I went with four layers, two pair of socks and Bud Light (pic SI)

I went with four layers, two pair of socks and Bud Light (pic SI)


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