The Percolator: Chicago averts a sports disaster

Here at the Daily Jolt, we prefer our coffee on the stove top and not from the electric drip machine. We're just old-school that way. Here's what's happening this Monday morning...

…If you are a Chicago sports fan, chances are that you woke up a little cranky on Sunday morning. Sure, you were probably hung over from partying hard on Hubbard Street or trying to make a late-night score at Big City Tap. But that’s a normal weekend for most of us, right? It’s a safe bet that you were mostly crusty at the play of your city’s sports teams. After all, it was a weekend of high expectations — beginning on Friday night at the United Center.

But then the Blackhawks failed to show up for their series opener against the Nashville Predators, the Bulls were still on the bus when the opening tip occurred in Game 1 of their series against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the White Sox and Cubs continued to underachieve — severely jeopardizing our summer entertainment schedule.

So when you picked up the morning paper on Sunday, you were greeted with the following bad news:

• the White Sox were in last place in the AL Central, failing to impress with “Ozzie Ball”
• in the NL Central, the Cubs were behind the Pittsburgh Pirates and Alfonso Soriano was still on the team
• the Bulls were already eliminated (not technically, but is there reason to show up on Monday evening?)
• the panic button had already set in with the Hawks, prompting some to speculate on whether goalie Cristobal Huet deserved the nod in net in Game 2.

By the way, in case you really were out clubbing on Saturday night and happened to miss my girl Ke$ha on SNL, check out her performances of “Tik Tok” and “Your Love is My Drug.” Weird girl, no doubt. But talented — and easy on the eyes.

So as if Sunday’s reading at the breakfast table wasn’t depressing enough, what were the headlines when you grabbed the paper from the lawn this morning?

• the White Sox are still in last place, off to their worst start since 1997
• the Cubs are a game further behind the Pirates after losing two of three to the woeful Houston Astros
• Bulls center Joakim Noah is trash-talking with Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett — who has nothing to do with the Bulls’ series with the Cavs
• and the Hawks?...

Well, all is right in the Windy City after goalie Antti Niemi recorded the club’s first playoff shutout since Ed Belfour in 1996 as the Hawks scored a crucial 2-0 victory in Game 2. Despite losing home-ice advantage, the Hawks assured that the vast majority of the city’s population won’t be flocking to the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower on their lunch break Monday afternoon. While the Hawks are still getting outskated overall in this series, the win provides the necessary momentum shift as the series now moves to Nashville. I still expect the Preds to stick around for six games, but I’m pretty confident the Hawks have received the necessary wake-up call.

As for the Bulls? I think they squeak out a Game 3 victory at home but ultimately fall in five games.

White Sox and Cubs fans? Well, I’ll reserve judgment until Memorial Day — traditionally the first marking point of the season. I have high hopes for at least one of them, but we shall see…

Follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

Upcoming Games

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

Cincinnati +5.5 -118

Chicago -5.5 -118

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

Buffalo -3 -118

Miami +3 -118

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

Houston +13 -111

Cleveland -13 -111

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

New England -4.5 -111

NY Jets +4.5 -111

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

Denver -2.5 -105

Jacksonville +2.5 -105

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

San Francisco -5.5 -111

Philadelphia +5.5 -111

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

LA Rams +1 -105

Indianapolis -1 -105

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

Las Vegas +6 -111

Pittsburgh -6 -111

@

Sep 19th, 1:00 PM

New Orleans -3 +100

Carolina +3 +100

@

Sep 19th, 4:05 PM

Minnesota +1.5 -111

Arizona -1.5 -111

@

Sep 19th, 4:05 PM

Atlanta +7 -111

Tampa Bay -7 -111

@

Sep 19th, 4:25 PM

Tennessee +4.5 -105

Seattle -4.5 -105

@

Sep 19th, 4:25 PM

Dallas +1 -111

LA Chargers -1 -111

@

Sep 19th, 8:20 PM

Kansas City -1 -111

Baltimore +1 -111

@

Sep 20th, 8:15 PM

Detroit +7 -111

Green Bay -7 -111

@

Sep 23rd, 8:20 PM

Carolina -4.5 -110

Houston +4.5 -110

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Indianapolis +3 -115

Tennessee -3 -115

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

LA Chargers +7.5 -107

Kansas City -7.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Washington +7 -102

Buffalo -7 -102

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Chicago +8.5 -107

Cleveland -8.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Atlanta +2.5 -107

NY Giants -2.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Cincinnati +6.5 -107

Pittsburgh -6.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Baltimore -7.5 -110

Detroit +7.5 -110

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

New Orleans -0.5 -110

New England +0.5 -110

@

Sep 26th, 1:00 PM

Arizona -6 -110

Jacksonville +6 -110

@

Sep 26th, 4:05 PM

Miami +1 -107

Las Vegas -1 -107

@

Sep 26th, 4:05 PM

NY Jets +7.5 -107

Denver -7.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 4:25 PM

Tampa Bay +2.5 -110

LA Rams -2.5 -110

@

Sep 26th, 4:25 PM

Seattle -2.5 -107

Minnesota +2.5 -107

@

Sep 26th, 8:20 PM

Green Bay +3 -107

San Francisco -3 -107

@