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Daniel Carcillo playing his first regular-season game as a Blackhawk on Oct. 13, 2011.

Bombs Away!

by Jim McFarlin | Men's Book Chicago magazine | September 14, 2012

A huge hit on an Edmonton defenseman last January put the debut season of Daniel Carcillo as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks on ice prematurely, causing a torn left ACL that sent him under the surgeon’s blade after only 28 games. In that brief span, however, the left winger known as “Car Bomb” became a huge hit with the Hawks faithful for his relentless, aggressive style, and with management, who rewarded Carcillo, 27, with a two-year contract extension. Half of the first outdoor fight in NHL history at the inaugural Winter Classic in 2010, the onetime Flyer and Coyote is fully recovered from surgery and eager to assist in a return to Blackhawk glory at the Madhouse on Madison. Carcillo also hosts an in-season weekend radio show, The Bomb Shelter, providing an outlet for his love of classic rock ‘n’ roll.

We hear you vacationed in Jamaica this summer. Any other off-season highlights? I closed on a place in Lincoln Park, so I’ve got to get in there and start painting, get some new carpeting, get it furnished. That’s on the agenda as soon as I get back to Chicago.

Congrats on the new crib. House or condo? It’s an old converted school, and it’s got 10 or 12 condos in it, I believe. I actually have the old gym floor! It’s awesome, man. There’s a big beam that cuts right through my bedroom and you physically have to walk around the beam to get to the closet. I’m excited. It’s cool, it’s different, and that’s what I always look for. I’m just not a cookie cutter kind of guy.

You’ve played in Phoenix, where hockey is not exactly a priority, and in Philadelphia and Chicago before some of the most passionate fans in the league. Can you compare your new home to your previous NHL stops? Phoenix gave me my start, and I’ll be forever grateful for the coaching I got there, from Wayne [Gretzky] down to Grant Fuhr. I had a great time there. Then going to Philly, to a totally crazed, in-your-face, very passionate fan base, it’s cool. You get thrown into the playoffs and every game means so much there.

Then last year in Chicago, it didn’t go the way I wanted it to hockey-wise, but Chicago is the best city I’ve ever lived in. I feel very comfortable here, I’ve made a lot of friends outside of hockey, the fans are passionate but they’re polite when they come up to you. And there’s a huge music scene that I’m really into. I lived at State and Delaware last year, and I found it pretty amazing that any given night I could walk out of my building, pop into a club and hear live music.

What’s your opinion of fighting in hockey? Uh... opinion?

Yes. Who better to ask than a current NHL player? It’s a really weird thing because when I grew up there were heavyweights who went out and just fought. And really, if you look at the game now, it’s changed. There’s not many guys like that anymore. It’s guys who can skate, who can play the game. There are certain times to fight and certain times not to, and I think guys are realizing that. I don’t know where it’s going to go or what they’re going to decide with the rules, but it always has been part of the game and I think there is a place for it, as long as it’s done properly and it’s not just mindless brawling. There has to be a reason, and usually there is.

What about your radio show? Will it be returning this season? Yeah, it’s still going to go on. I just didn’t feel comfortable doing it while I wasn’t playing. But I’ve been working on an upcoming show that we’re going to do; [WGN] will check the schedule once the season starts. It’s definitely something I want to pursue. It’s cool to have a venue outside of hockey, something that you’re interested in, to do when you’re away from the rink.

Being heard on one of Chicago’s most venerable stations ain’t too shabby, either. Yeah, right? It’s huge. That [music] vault, [Ukrainian Village record store] Dusty Groove went in and bought 40,000 of their vinyl records, but there was basically a lot left over. They were just going to throw everything out! So I went in and salvaged everything and brought it into a storage unit. I’ve got a unit five boxes high and six rows deep of just records.

Say what? I don’t know what I’m going to do with them all. I’m going to try to go through them, put aside the doubles and maybe do some kind of donations to schools. Something to get young kids who have no idea what a record is, to get them into it. It’s gonna take a long time! But I’ve always been attracted to vinyl, classic rock and all that stuff, and if it’s something that you’re interested in, it doesn’t seem like it takes time, you know?

How are the Hawks going to do this season? Lord Stanley or bust? I think every year that this core group of guys we have is intact, the mature young guys and the veterans, there’s a very good chance we’re going to be one of the last teams standing. It’s exciting to go into the season knowing that, and it pushes you that much harder. So expectations are always high, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I know those guys in the [locker] room feel the same way.