As the Chicago Bulls prepare to open their playoff series against the Washington Wizards in Chicago this evening, Joakim Noah has a chance to not only prove that he is the best center in the NBA but also to lift the spirits of the dejected Chicago sports fans across the city.
After the most recent Chicago Blackhawks overtime debacle against the St. Louis Blues in their own playoff series yesterday, Chicago fans learned today that the team would be without Olympian and All-Star defenseman Brent Seabrook. The city learned early this afternoon that Seabrook will be suspended for the next three games after he delivered a crushing and unnecessary hit to Blues forward T.J. Oshie late in the third period on Saturday. With the game winding down, Seabrook leveled Oshie with a hit to the head which would lead to the Blues scoring with under seven seconds to go to tie the game and eventually they would win in over time.
So what does this have to do with Noah and the Bulls? With the entirety of the Chicago sporting community reeling from the Blackhawks’ dimming Stanley Cup hopes, Noah will be leading his Bulls in an unlikely run through the playoffs. Noah is unquestionably the leader of this team and an immensely popular player among the fans. If he is able to help the Bulls make a deep run into the playoffs, he will undoubtedly become Chicago’s favorite athlete. This possibility is seeming greater and greater as the Indiana Pacers continue to unravel after dropping Game 1 of their series to the Atlanta Hawks. If the Bulls can move past Washington they would have a great chance of moving past the winner of the Pacers/Hawks series.
Of course this is assuming that Patrick Kane isn’t drunkenly hoisting the Stanley Cup as the team parades down Michigan Avenue again later this summer. Either way Chicago fans are in need of a pick-me-up on this Easter afternoon, and Noah and the Bulls are in a great position facilitate that.
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