So let’s talk about that Blackhawks championship parade.
Should it begin at the United Center? Monroe Street to Michigan Avenue to Grant Park to party-like-it’s-2015 bliss? Oh, and can a couple million or so revelers remember to wear masks and remain socially distant?
But seriously, people: Don’t you look at the Hawks at least a tiny bit differently — more flatteringly — after their 6-4 victory against the Oilers in Game 1 of the teams’ Stanley Cup Qualifier series? Didn’t their four-goal first-period blitz make you wonder if a team seeded 12th in the Western Conference might be capable of winning a best-of-five series and then, well, who knows?
“It’s one game,” said defenseman Duncan Keith, a real barrel of fun.
Somebody start decking out one of those ginormous parade buses.
With baseball fighting against the possible demise of its season, the NBA bubbling on without the Bulls and the NFL attempting to carry out an invisible preseason, the Hawks in the playoffs is kind of the best thing we’ve got going.
Jonathan Toews roared out of the gate. Dominik Kubalik is a goal-scoring machine. Patrick Kane hasn’t even gotten started yet. Sure, Corey Crawford let in some goals behind a shaky defense, but who has time to worry? There’s another mighty big game to slay on Monday.
Which reminds me: If the Hawks get their rear ends handed to them in Game 2, I’ll deny having written any of this.
Here’s what’s happening:
Royals at Cubs (7:15 p.m., Marquee)
The Cubs are in first place. They’re jacking home runs left and right. Their rotation — including (for now) today’s guy, Alec Mills — appears to be a real strength. But you know what they say: It’s only April.
Blackhawks at Oilers, Game 2 (9:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
There isn’t a living soul in all of Alberta who’d bet on the Hawks to match their Game 1 output of three power-play goals. A far bigger deal is the need for the Hawks to somehow prevent the Oilers from again netting a bunch of power-power goals of their own. Where the heck do Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and company get off being so outrageously good with the man-advantage?
English Championship playoff final (1:45 p.m., ESPN+)
It’s known as the “most valuable match in football” for a reason — the winner of Brentford vs. Fulham, a clash of west London rivals, will earn promotion to the English Premier League. Fulham was in the EPL in 2019 but stunk up the joint and was relegated. Brentford hasn’t sniffed the rarefied air of the top division since 1947.
Sky vs. Wings (5 p.m., WCIU)
You know who’s really good? The Sky’s Azura Stevens. You know how the Sky acquired the long, versatile forward? By trading 2019 first-round pick Katie Lou Samuelson, who floundered as a rookie, and their 2021 first-round pick to the Wings. Bad blood? No idea, but it’s way more fun to say yes.
Brewers at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH+)
Look, I’m no manager. But if I were the Sox’ Rick Renteria, I’d instruct newcomer Nick Madrigal to get four hits like he did in Sunday’s 9-2 beatdown of the Royals.
Oilers at Blackhawks, Game 3 (9:30 p.m., NBCSCH)
Will the ever-raucous United Center crowd lift the Hawks to victory? Wait, this game is in the same empty arena in Edmonton the first two games of the series were in. Why is the NHL designating the Hawks as the home team again?
Bucks vs. Heat (3 p.m., TNT)
We aren’t going to just hand the Eastern Conference crown to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, are we? Old friend Jimmy Butler might have a lot to say about that. Then again, he has a lot to say about a lot of things.
Sky vs. Mercury (9 p.m., ESPN2)
The great Diana Taurasi surely wants a piece of the Sky after missing last season’s single-elimination playoff game between the teams. Taurasi, still cooking with gas at 38, is the WNBA’s all-time leader in points and three-point field goals. Other than that, she stinks.
Cubs at Cardinals (7:15 p.m., Marquee)
It wasn’t supposed to take until August for these rivals to go nose-to-nose for the first time. But — given the Cardinals’ recent rash of positive tests for COVID-19 — will the Cubs feel comfortable getting their noses anywhere near Busch Stadium?
Oilers at Blackhawks, Game 4 (if necessary; TBD)
Frankly, it’s a lot more enjoyable to type “if necessary” when it’s not your team that might already be eliminated.
Indians at White Sox (7:10 p.m., NBCSCH)
By the time these teams got finished with each other during Week 1 of the season, the Sox looked like a bunch of tomato-can pitchers and power-hitting pretenders. Come to think of it, that was a pretty harsh way to look at a very talented team after only one week.
Blackhawks at Oilers, Game 5 (if necessary; TBD)
If it gets to this point, will the Hawks have the advantage thanks to all the postseason experience of Kane, Toews, Keith and Crawford? Put it this way: It can’t hurt.
PGA Championship, final round (2 p.m., Ch. 2)
How nice to have the final day of a golf major upon us. Brooks Koepka is going for his third win in a row in this event. Jordan Spieth again tries for the career grand slam. Oh, and that one guy no one ever talks about, Tiger Woods, shoots for PGA Championship title No. 5, which would tie him with Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus for the most ever.
Cubs at Cardinals (6:08 p.m., ESPN)
Wait, this one’s not on Marquee? Then how is Ryan Dempster supposed to get his face on the screen every 14 seconds?