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Thursday, May 30, 2013
Cubs, Sox turn out to support Blackhawks

By Doug Padilla

CHICAGO -- The White Sox and Cubs were back to being enemies a day after uniting in support of the Blackhawks.

Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko's shoot-the-puck moment on Wednesday went a little smoother than Jeff Samardzija's.
Many players from both sides, as well as both managers, were in attendance at the United Center on Wednesday night as the Blackhawks eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the NHL's Western Conference semifinals.

In fact, the White Sox's Paul Konerko and the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija participated in the Blackhawks' shoot-the-puck promotion between periods. Samardzija missed all five of his shots, while Konerko, a former youth hockey player in Rhode Island, made two of his five.

"It was fun," Konerko said. "I didn't know really what to expect out there but I had fun with it. It was over and done with pretty quick."

Samardzija made no excuses for his struggles.

"I had to ask Konerko how to do it," he said. "I should have gone second. I'm pretty ashamed. My father was really mad at me. He's trying to get me to change my name to my mom's (maiden name)."

The Blackhawks gave Konerko a personalized jersey with his No. 14 on it. Samardzija chose to wear his own Bob Probert Blackhawks jersey.

"What other jersey is there to wear?" Samardzija said.

A day earlier, White Sox manager Robin Ventura predicted a 3-1 final score in favor of the Blackhawks. He missed it by a goal as they advanced with a 2-1 victory.

"It was great," Ventura said. "You could sense everybody pulling for them. But you're looking at the energy that was in the building. That's the fun part in all, showing them a little support. It's great for the city. They deserve it."

Cubs manager Dale Sveum, a self-proclaimed Phoenix Coyotes fan, said that all the drama, including the nullified goal in the final two minutes of regulation, added up to a riveting night of hockey.

"To go to a Game 7 like that and go to overtime and then have that goal taken away, that was a little upsetting," Sveum said laughing. "Thank god they ended up winning so it all worked out."

As for Samardzija's hockey skills, Sveum said his pitcher made the right career choice.

"Yeah, you could say that," Sveum said.