Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dave's Thoughts of the Day: May 7th

I know everyone's still buzzing about the Bulls' upset of the heat and the Double Overtime game between the Warriors and Spurs, but first I've got to get into some hockey thoughts!

Can you *believe* the Kings comeback in that game last night against St. Louis?!   It was a scene!   Kopitar **and** Jeff Carter came back to life.  I was floored, thrilled, amazed, surprised!  Kings won 4-3 and tie the series up 2-2.  How'd it happen?


Our journey begins at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon.  I was chatting up plans with friends of mine and I asked one of my colleagues a question about chicken kebabs.  I was timid about reviving the Kebab superstition because the last time I tried it, it bombed.   Anyway, one of my buddies convinced me to try the kebab at Zankou Chicken.  I'm used to rotisserie chicken from there and shawarma, so a Kebab was definitely new territory.

As I boarded the bus home I had to decide whether to eat the Kebab at the restaurant or at home... ultimately I chose "at the restaurant" so it wouldn't get cold.   I ordered the Kebab, they said it would take 15 minutes so I sat at a table and watched an episode of "Divers, Dive's and Drive Ins" (I think that's the name) on Food Network which was on the restaurant TV.  They were at a restaurant that specialized in Mole.   Now they were prepping this mole dish and it looked good, but THEN the joker who calls himself "chef" threw all this cheese on top of it.  The heck??  Who piles a layer of cheese on top of pork mole?!  Of course, Guy Fieri was all over that.

It still looked all right, but the cheese and the sour cream was really unnecessary.  Cheese has long been a convenient mask to disguise food that's lacking in taste or texture.   For shame.  Onward though...

I awaited the second episode of DD&D but before I could watch my order was ready, so, over the next long 40 minute period, I absorbed each morsel of the kebab.  Piece by piece, I'd lay on a piece of pita bread, spread the Zankou garlic butter, pop on a pickled pepper, add the rice, and at the end, take the piece of chicken, divide it into parts, and put some garlic butter on top of that.  Boy was that delicious!

The Kebab at Zakou is a little different from the traditional Chicken Kebab in one respect:  the Zankou kebab uses an inordinate amount of paprika in its seasoning.   Nonetheless, it was really tender, and really good.  I was so absorbed in that kebab that I did not know they changed the channel of the TV, so instead of watching another DD&D show, I looked up to see Bulls/Heat.

Well!  I said, "this is probably a morning exercise for the Heat!"  Instead, I was watching the tail end of a Bulls 7-0 run, but all of a sudden, the Heat took the lead back and I thought that was that.  I finished the meal and saw the Bulls and Heat trading baskets.  The Heat were ahead most of the time though, so I said "that was a good effort by the Bulls... big heart playing hurt."

Then I get home and I see all these tweets congratulating my friend Oomer and I had no idea what happened.   The Bulls won the game!!!  Once I saw the final score I congratulated Oomer myself and all of us agreed that no matter what happens now, the Bulls have had a tremendous playoffs.  Even if the Bulls lose the next four games, they've been tremendous.

Then, as the night was going along, Ooms started a trend called #ChicagoZaun which presented the hypothetical situation:  What would happen if WFAN's Mike Francesa did a sports show on a Chicago Sports Radio Station?  I laughed so hard!  One of my all time favorite Twitter moments.

As that was going along, I put on the Blues/Kings game.   The Kings fell behind 2-0... I thought it way over, naturally.  I could not believe how the Blues were beating the Kings at everything:  faceoffs, forecheck, power plays (briefly), hits, neutral zone play, goaltending, they couldn't miss.

To be honest, I don't know *what* happened to bring the Kings back, but I have a few clues.

1. Open ice.  The scoring began when the Kings finally got some open ice to work with, and it was precipitated by the 4 on 4.   Suddenly, there was an onside rush, a pass to Carter and juuuust a sweet move to beat Elliott to the net.  That started the ball rolling, mid way through the first period.
2. Turnovers.   The Blues had controlled every inch of the ice through three and a third games.  As we entered the 2nd and 3rd periods, turnovers on their end, whether forced by LA or not, were doing them in.   The turnovers undid the Blues command over their own zone and yieled tremendous scoring chances which brought on...
3. Revival.   Carter *and* Kopitar, who were kept out of the net for the entire series to date, finally got their first goals of the playoffs.  It wouldn't have happened without points 1 and 2.   Then, as the 3rd period wore on, the Staples crowd got as loud as I've seen it all season.  It was as if an avalanche dumped itself onto St. Louis.  You know what else?  None of this happens without...
4. Kebabs.   I'm fully convinced that the Kebab gave the Kings a new sign of life.  Even in a Game 3 win, the offense was really struggling.  The Kings didn't pressure the forecheck consistently until Game 4 and even though they fell behind, apparently LA was not deterred.   The superstition, true or not, fueled that 2012 magic once again.

So it's back!   ...baby.   Who knew that a silly chicken kebab superstition would bring back the Kings we saw from last year?  I cannot even believe it.   So I'm back to eating Kebabs before every game.  

Now, with all that said, the whole series turns again if the Blues win on Wednesday at St. Louis.  It can absolutely happen.  The Blues are not in the least heartbroken, and in fact, I bet they still feel confident they can lock the Kings down.  Imagine -- if they clean up the turnovers, we revert to the dominance the Blues showed in games 1-3.   This series still would be STL's to lose.

Red Auerbach used to celebrate big victories with a cigar.  I choose to use Chocolate Chip cookies...

--in a perfect world.  I was too tired to go get a cookie last night, so I settled for grapes and strawberries.  I usually don't buy cookies to keep at home.

That was a wild night in sports... and I didn't even bring up the double OT game that the Warriors blew at San Antonio.  Wild and Crazy.  

Hope you all have a good Tuesday!

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