Hockey aficionado Konerko looking forward to Game 7
CHICAGO – Here’s a guess as to how Wednesday’s Cubs-White Sox game at Wrigley Field would play out in the world of Paul Konerko.
The White Sox take a 1-0 or 2-0 victory behind John Danks and, more importantly, the final time of the game checks in somewhere just over two hours. The time constraint is important for Konerko, as he has tickets to Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinal between the Blackhawks and Red Wings with a 7 p.m. CT puck drop at the United Center.
Baseball is Konerko’s profession, one where he has reached great heights over close to the past two decades. He’s as accomplished a student of the game as there probably is playing today.
Hockey, though, stands as a passion for the White Sox captain, a sport he played back when he was growing up in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
“I still go down and skate when I can, as far as the team doesn’t know that. Every now and then I get out there,” said a smiling Konerko, who played until he was 15 or 16 and played both center and right wing. “I have a couple of buddies who coach younger kids back home. I’ll get out there with them some times in the offseason.”
Konerko calls going to Game 7 kind of a dream, having gone to a playoff game a couple of years ago, but he was up in a luxury box. He just hopes the pace of Wednesday’s Crosstown matchup doesn’t slow down his trip to the United Center.
“Hopefully we don’t do anything stupid like have an extra inning game or any rain delays tomorrow. Let’s keep our fingers crossed there,” said a once again smiling Konerko, who admitted he will be in full fan mode Wednesday night. “Just the way our seasons work out, you never really get a chance for that to happen.
“I’ll definitely take it in. I watch a lot of hockey, I watch tons of games in the offseason. I watch everything I can during the season. It’s something I’ve always been into. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to, I don’t know what to expect. It will be pretty cool.”
Konerko’s NHL connection runs so deep that he said Tuesday that he could name the Stanley Cup champion and the captain who lifted the cup for every year back to his days as a teenager.
“Yeah, I recognize the magnitude of it and how cool it is,” said Konerko of attending a Game 7. “You are always pulling for the guys on the team that had not won one. That’s a big thing in hockey, those guys are animals out there.
“You appreciate that they play hurt. They are really just one of a kind type of guys. You just respect that as a fellow kind of athlete or player in another sport. It doesn’t get lost on me the importance of what it means to those guys, where they come from and all that. It’s a huge deal, probably more than any other sport.”