March 30, 2010
The image above (via Assignment Chicago) is a mural visible from the Eisenhower Expressway that depicts Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews(notes) after escaping from the Island of Dr. Moreau with trace amounts of swine DNA fused with his genetic code ...
Oh, the jokes this pig-nosed image immediately launched. That Toews looks like the mutant nurse from "The Twilight Zone." That he resembles the fabled ManBearPig from "South Park." That he's the only player in the NHL who can smell the top of his own face shield.
But while the transformation of Captain Marvel to Porky Pig may have been egregious, that image isn't what has Blackhawks fans enraged about the mural.
Look at the snout, and follow to the left; what do you see? Hint: The Blackhawks haven't seen it since 1961.
Stanley Cup superstitions are the stuff of sports legend. For example, it's considered an affront to the hockey gods if a player touches the Cup before he actually wins one.
The depiction of the Stanley Cup on a mural, for a team that hasn't been in the Finals since 1992? Pack up the gear and call it a season, because the Blackhawks are jinxed according to blogger Sarah Spain of Chicago Now:
This is worse than the Sports Illustrated cover jinx, worse than the Madden cover jinx, worse even than the "buy me a Coke" jinx that occurs when you unintentionally say the same word as your buddy at the exact same time. The city of Chicago might as well throw the Hawks a pre-playoff parade, start scheduling appearances for the Cup at the Taste of Chicago and Venetian Night and begin work on the Championship banner for the UC rafters.
Or as reader Cathy B. said in an email to Puck Daddy: "It's amazing Chicago's pretty much guaranteed to never win the Cup again, what with Hossa being on the team and now this."
Toews told the Sun-Times that this isn't a case of premature celebration. It's not even the first time the Blackhawks have acted like a champion before becoming one, from their red carpet arrivals two years ago to a commercial that mocked the then-Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings' octopus-tossing tradition.
Despite the bad ju-ju, the Blackhawks could beat the jinx. Chicago is second in the Western Conference and a favorite to win the Cup. They may not have karma on their side, but they certainly have the talent to hog the spotlight this postseason.
Oh dear ... sorry, Jonathan; poor choice of verb there.