Newspapers featured a foreign substance the past few days.
What is this slimy stuff? Thank goodness it rubs off after a couple hours in the shower, but what was it?
Hey-hey, it's the Blackhawks.
I guess all we can do is congratulate Brian Sutter for putting them back in the news, if not back in business or the public consciousness.
By the way, Sutter is the Hawks' coach. He has been for a while now, though it's difficult to say how long because his team has been missing in action for years.
Sutter also is one of the Sutter brothers. Which one, don't ask, because the Hawks employed 12 or 13 of them the past couple of decades.
Anyway, three cheers to this particular Sutter for accomplishing the impossible: Earning the Hawks a Page 1 headline above the fold.
I thought this team wouldn't be noticed again until Bill Wirtz performed a Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction between periods of a game. Or until Bob Pulford drove the Zamboni wearing nothing but a Marlboro.
Otherwise, the Hawks would remain to Chicago sports what "Gigli" was to the Oscars, Ralph Nader is to the presidential race and Martha Stewart will be to the future.
I attended one Hawks game this season. The Yankees' trade for Alex Rodriguez arrived that day, erasing any notion of writing about hockey. Of course, if news came that something else important happened like Rex Grossman belching, that also would have knocked the Blackhawks off my computer screen.
The previous time the Hawks were worth our attention was when Theo Fleury made a fool of himself in a strip club last year. Unless it was when Alex Zhamnov was arrested for drunken driving.
You see a pattern here?
The Hawks haven't done anything on the ice - you know, actually playing hockey, which is rumored to be their sport - to become media-worthy.
They didn't this time, either. Sutter did by getting into a physical altercation with Hawks center Tyler Arnason in a Nashville honky-tonk.
(Maybe it was a hockey-tonk if Hawks hung out there.)
The Sutter-Arnason incident almost is enough to make you want to go see the Hawks play today in the United Center.
OK, probably not.
But it is almost enough to make you want to watch the game on TV just for curiosity's sake.
Oh, that's right, it isn't televised locally.
Then maybe you'll want to monitor a police band to hear whether Sutter assaults any other players.
Or it could be you couldn't care less.
That could have been Sutter's frustration - hardly anybody cares about the Hawks anymore.
Sutter might have been a ticking time bomb since the Chicago Wolves outdrew them one day recently. He might have responded in Nashville like an ignored child misbehaving to attract attention.
It isn't easy for a hockey coach in this town right now with Dusty Baker pontificating, Ozzie Guillen entertaining, Lovie Smith debuting and Scott Skiles disciplining.
So Sutter did what he did and the Hawks blipped back into the news.
Shortly they'll retreat behind the Bears, Cubs, Bulls and even the White Sox. Heck, an NCAA bid will move DePaul ahead of the Hawks. The Fire opener is a threat. And how 'bout them Wolves?
Regardless, Sutter deserves credit for shoving the Hawks back into the forefront for a change, just as he probably will the next time they get there.