Hockey for Dummies

Blackhawk players help explain the subleties of their sport

Patrick Kane scored his first professional hat trick and he's only 20 years old.  What's a hat trick you ask?  Three goals by the same player in one game.  It came in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semi-finals against Vancouver.  Just don't ask Kane why its called a "hat" "trick"!

"Uh", long pause.  "Uh" long pause.  "I don't know". 

Okay so maybe Brian Campbell can help.

"Uh, I don't know".  (When reading aloud please use a Canadian accent "I dooon't knoooow".)

Do you know why the fans throw their hats onto the ice to celebrate?

"Because hat is in the name?"  Campbell said with a serious face.

No, hockey players aren't dumb, it seems no one really knows the origin of the phrase or the tradition that follows on the ice.  Some think it was stolen from cricket.  As legend goes, a bowler took a wicket with three consecutive balls and was rewarded with a new hat.  Or, others say it was in the 1920's when gentlemen wore hats (you know, nice ones like fedoras, not the grungy unwashed ball caps of today), and "took their hat off" as a way to congratulate and acknowledge the accomplishment.

Back to the Blackhawks.  And more questions.

How come you can't slash, rough, or trip in hockey, but you can fight?  I asked Brian Campbell because he seemed to have all the answers.

"Because fighting is two guys both going at it.  It's coincidental, fair.  Slashing is just one guy with a weapon, it's not fair."  Okay, that makes sense, I think.

What up with those gnarly facial furs? What are they called?  Chin mullets, or "playoff beards".

Martin Havlat cheated and grew his all year long.  The red headed Czech looks like a mountain man.  Brent Seabrook has a neck beard obviously inspired by former Bears quarterback Kyle Orton.  And, well the kids -- Toews and Kane,  they're... trying.

"I had a reporter come up to me the other day and said 'that's the worst playoff beard I've ever seen', and he was serious. I'm like, gee, thanks.  I'm trying!"   Yet Kane's fluffy stuff looks more like the fine fur on a child's Webkinz, at least it isn't like Jonathan Toews' whose beard resembles lamb chops thus earning him the nickname "Wolverine".

One last thing.  When talking to hockey players you'll notice they all have nicknames.  There's Johnny, Khabi, Sharp-y, and Kane-r.  What's with the y's and er's?

Kane, a native of Buffalo New York said, "it used to be Kane-oh when I was growing up in Buffalo.  Then I started playing with all these Canadians and they started calling me Kane-r."

"We're not all like that " Brian Campbell defended.  Really what's your nickname? 


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