Does Chicago Care About the Lazarus Effect?
by Amy Lignor
You have to love the odd world of sports. Even the NHL is getting into the act. No, they are not being accused of deflated…pucks. What they are being asked to do, however, is to be pretty. And you have to wonder, does Chicago right now really give a darn if their players don’t look like Edward from “Twilight” while skating on the ice? I would say, no.
Yet, NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus, said that he wants the hair of the NHL gone. I wonder what would have happened to the winner of “The Voice” if they’d asked the young, cute Sawyer Fredericks to cut his long hair…he certainly still would have had the best voice out there, but would he have made those millions of girls scream, fantasize about marrying him, and vote for him until their fingers bled? But…I digress.
Whether or not the “playoff beard” really does get you that mighty Cup to hoist in the air, simply doesn’t matter. But it’s icky, as far as Lazarus is concerned, and there would be far more NHL fans if the guys would just look…well, cute.
They would have more marketability, considering the NHL players are just as young, hip, and well-built as other sports figures. They would be able to hold up that bottle of cologne with the best of them. But you see, hockey likes the beard. They are the “every man’s” sports figure. They are the rough and tumble tough guys who work for a living, unlike those NFL pretty boys who hold the cologne and smile pretty for the camera. Not to mention, they may look blue-collar, but Nielsen states that a six figure salary (plus) is not foreign to these players. And having the hair has not turned off the women out there. Why is that? Because they want the Stanley Cup victory just as badly as the football fans want the Lombardi trophy – hair or no hair.
Game 5 in Tampa just allowed the Chicago Blackhawks to smile. They had a tough road victory, yet they are headed home, allowing them the opportunity for their beard-covered faces to shine by lifting a very gleaming trophy into the air in front of their own fans.
This would be their third NHL championship in six years if they and their beards can keep it together at home for Game 6. Antoine Vermette was patted on the back and heralded throughout Chicago for scoring the tiebreaking goal early in the third period in Game 5, solidifying a very close 2-1 victory over the Lightning on Saturday night.
Thirty-one saves went to Corey Crawford; the one early goal went to Patrick Sharp. This is one of those playoffs that will go down in history as a stroke starter for most fans, with each game being decided by one goal only. This has happened only one other time in Stanley Cup Final history; the first time being back in 1951.
The Lightning is, I suppose, rubbing their beards and praying to the hair gods for Monday night in Chicago to bring them luck. Game 6 is on, and Chicago most definitely has the slight edge being at home with seven of their remaining players being a part of two championships already won. If the Lightning do win, they must then win again immediately – back-to-back – in order to hoist that Cup for only the second time in their entire history.
It certainly would be nice for Monday night to be the end of it all. For Chicago to win the silver trophy they work so hard for, at home, in front of their monumental fan base. Perhaps after, Lazarus can come on the ice and surprise them with razors so that all of America can see their cute, pretty, or handsome faces before they land all those contracts to hoist the next bottle of cologne. Now that would be a show-stopper!