Granted, the Blackhawks are playing extraordinary hockey this year and fans have a right to be excited. But let's be honest about this "streak" that has everyone in the local sports world hyperventilating.
If not for the "charity point" — also called the "loser point" or the "pity point" — the consolation prize in the standings awarded in the NHL to a team that loses in overtime or a shootout, the Hawks' record after Friday night's 4-3 OT victory over Columbus would have been listed simply as 18-3.
But because all three of the team's losses have been in post-overtime period shootouts, their record is listed as 18-0-3, and folks are gushing about how the Hawks have earned at least one point in all 21 games this season, a record start.
Fine, but baseball doesn't reward teams that lose in extra innings. Basketball and football don't give an extra atta-boy to teams that come up short in overtime.
Some fans don't like the charity point. They argue that hockey ain't horseshoes, where close counts, and it ain't youth sports where excellent effort earns an esteem-boosting pat on the back. Giving one point just for playing to a tie after three periods (the winning team always gets two points) artificially tightens the standings and has led to more cautious play toward the end of regulation time.
Other fans like it. They argue that it keeps more teams in the playoff hunt and leads to more aggressive play in the overtime period.
And to judge from a quick perusal of online message boards relating to the topic, nearly every fan has an idea how to improve the system.
I'm agnostic. All I know is that this streak, like the regular season in hockey and most pro sports these days, is overrated.
Credulous and proud
Yes, last fall I took at face value a viral video that seemed to show a pig rescuing a goat from drowning.
The 30-second clip shows a bleating baby goat apparently foundering a few feet from the edges of a pond. A small pig swims determinedly toward the goat, bumping into it and nudging it safely ashore.
Was it the conscious act of a good ham-aritan? Or was the distressed goat simply in the way of an animal looking to save its own bacon? Either way, the video was cute enough, though I wasn't among those who posted, tweeted, or otherwise passed it along to help it draw more than 7 million views.
Well, now we learn that the "rescue" was elaborately staged by a team from Comedy Central that had to build an underwater plastic channel in a petting-zoo trout pond to force the pig to swim into the goat. A two-minute "making of ..." video surfaced last week to promote an upcoming show on the network.
I didn't feel fooled. Because to be properly fooled you have to have been somehow foolish — to have missed obvious clues and gullibly disregarded common sense.
I just felt lied to, like the victim in "The Simpsons" parody of a wacky deejay prank phone call.
Host: Hello, is this Mr. Chester Sherman?
Host: Sir, your wife is dead!
Man: Oh, God, no!
Host: That's right, she just walked through a plate glass window, there's blood everywhere!