A visibly shaken and possibly concussed Jim Cornelison deflected questions about his mental health Thursday, just minutes after shattering the nose of WWII vet Lester Phelps during his signature National Anthem prior to the Blackhawks-Stars game at the United Center.
“All I can tell you is I have an upper body injury, which obviously isn’t my golden pipes,” said Cornelison, who answered by looking at a reporter 25 feet away from the one who asked him the original question about his health. “I’m going to be fine, and will continue to belt the Anthem until the Blackhawks cut me off.”
Cornelison was oblivious to the unfortunate choice of words in relation to the incident that caused a visit to the UC infirmary when he belted Phelps during his regular gesture at the US flag.
“Eh, it’s about the fifth time for me,” said a surprisingly jovial Phelps after the incident. “My schnoz is like a Foreman Grill — just reset it and forget it. As a paratrooper, I got stuck in a tree with a branch poking through my testicles for three days, so this ain’t nothin’.”
The problem was, Cornelison aimed his Stanley Cup-clad mitt almost 90 degrees to his right as he jabbed the air … right through Phelps’ nose and directly at a Chewy Lemonheads sign. Blackhawks team physician Dr. Michael Terry said he had noticed Cornelison “leaning in at me uncomfortably” before the game at West End on Madison, but chalked it up to the hot buttered rums and Cornelison’s penchant for close-talking.
But a closer inspection of his pupils led Terry to believe Cornelison “may be concussed or downing some serious Bolivian shroooms, which may account for his mistaking the Lemonheads colors for the flag.”
Upon further prodding, Cornelison admitted “I might’ve bumped my head” earlier this week during a morning skate/sound check when he and Jonathan Toews simultaneously bent down to grab at an autographed 8×10 glossy of Ice Girl Ashley from Mokena, and in the process cracked skulls with each other.
“I thought Taser definitely got the worst of that one, but I had to grab a railing to keep my feet,” said Cornelison. ” Ummm, also I was kind of upset Ashley ran out of photos, and she hit me with an ice shovel when I told her that Taser said she was sloppier than a taco pizza.”
Toews was also injured in the mishap and will be out indefinitely with an upper body injury that insiders have speculated to be a concussion. Cornelison will continue his stellar work on the Anthem, albeit at more than an arm’s length from future vets until his malady can be addressed.