ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ANDREW OTTOSON
Maybe it’s just the Swedish blood in my veins talking, but I love everything about winter. As far as I’m concerned, cold weather makes the cast-iron wood stove one of the best things ever invented.
Winter sports are great in my book, too. Football is great in the fall, but when snow starts falling on a frozen, frigid Soldier Field, it raises the bar when it comes to sports-induced bliss. I’d guess that’s more true for those of us who watch than those who play.
But unlike most non-Canadians in this world, I save one more level of bliss beyond that for those rare NHL-on-NBC Saturdays that won’t make an appearance until January.
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Of the nine Tabor students who like to watch ice hockey, I’d guess six have noticed that three Atlanta Thrashers are leading the NHL in scoring right now.
Marian Hossa makes sense-he was a top scorer with several high-powered Ottawa Senators teams before being traded to Atlanta for Dany Heatley.
One-dimensional top pick Ilya Kovalchuk and Detroit Red Wings cast-off Slava Kozlov seem to be much stranger candidates for the scoring title.
The trio of linemates have tallied something like 14 goals in their last five games and the outburst has the Southeast Division leaders in position to get into the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
I’m not sure how the Thrashers have managed to never make the playoffs, seeing that Atlanta’s hockey team has been around for seven years and the Southeast has a storied tradition of being the worst division in the league.
I honestly don’t know what surprises me more-that the Hossa-Kozlov-Kovalchuk line is heading toward a scoring title trifecta or that the Thrashers haven’t ever made the playoffs.
What surprises me more than either of those things is a story I read on ESPN.com a few days ago.
According to Linda Cohn: “Hossa and his girlfriend caught a bite at a Chinese restaurant in Atlanta when the waiter was intrigued by Hossa’s Slovakian accent, one that’s not often heard in the Deep South.
“When the waiter asked Hossa what he does for a living, Hossa replied, ‘I play for the Atlanta Thrashers.’ There was a moment of silence, then the waiter said, ‘Who are the Thrashers?’
“Hossa replied: ‘They’re the hockey team, the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team.’ The waiter smiled and said in a serious tone, ‘Oh…what’s hockey?'”
According to Cohn, that’s when Hossa knew he wasn’t in Ottawa anymore.
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With the Colts losing their first game, and the Bears winning their ninth, Ohio State and Boise State are the only undefeateds left on my radar screen.
Speaking of things on my screen, that ad where Peyton Manning jumps out of his chair to encourage the waitress who fumbled a tray full of plates is a lot funnier when the sequence right before the commercial break involves Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark dropping a few of Manning’s pin-point passes and a shot of Peyton scowling during the punt, like Hunter Smith just kicked his dog.
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By scoring a hair over 28 points per game, the Chicago Bears offense is responsible for what may be the most deceptive statistic in the NFL these days.
Even though Chicago has racked up the second-most points in the league, does any defensive coordinator in the NFL suffer sleepless nights on account of Rex Grossman?
And the team leading the league in scoring is, of course…the San Diego Chargers. Wait, what?