A few weeks ago, I wrote a column bemoaning the Bears’ lack of a solid core of players.
A reader responded that the Bears do indeed have a core: Eddie Goldman, Pernell McPhee, Adrian Amos, Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey, Alshon Jeffery and Kyle Long.
That’s not a core. That’s a roll of the dice.
There seems to be some confusion over what a core is in professional sports. We in Chicago, more than anyone, should know what one looks like.
It looks like this: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
OK, maybe that’s an extreme example of a core, a ridiculously lofty definition of the term. But if the goal is to win championships, you had better know what it takes to do it. It takes a clutch of great players at the center of your team. The Blackhawks started with Keith and Seabrook, hit the lottery with Toews and Kane, and built on that crazy talented foundation with the others. And here they are, with three Stanley Cups in the past six seasons.
Lucky? Well, sure, some of that. There are no rules about how you acquire your core, nothing about luck or shrewdness, no guidebook. It just matters that you have a core.
While we’re on the topic of good fortune, consider this your yearly reminder of how blessed we are to be able to watch the Hawks’ core on a game-to-game, season-to-season basis. And miracle of miracles, notoriously sky-is-falling Hawks fans don’t seem as worried about their team this season as they have been in the past. Then again, it’s early yet.
The Cubs, with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Jake Arrieta, appear to be on the way to building a Hawks-like core. It’s early with them, as well, but they went to the National League Championship Series with a group of young players, and they keep adding.
The Bears? General manager Ryan Pace has miles to go. But at least he knows the route. In the distance, he can see the Hawks’ core. Go thataway.