Cubs

5 Questions with...CSN's Chris Boden

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5 Questions with...CSN's Chris Boden

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

March 10, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeka veteran Chicago sports broadcaster and one of the biggest Blackhawks fans in townhes the host of Comcast SportsNets Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live and Smirnoff Vodka Blackhawks Post Game Live who hopes to be covering a Stanley Cup championship ticker-tape parade in Chicago this Junehere are 5 Questions withCHRIS BODEN!

BIO: Chris Boden joined Comcast SportsNets SportsNite on-air team in 2007 and hosts the network's Blackhawks studio coverage on Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live, as well as Smirnoff Vodka Blackhawks Post Game Live following all CSN Blackhawks telecasts this season. Covering the Chicago sports scene for over 20 years, Boden joined Comcast SportsNet from WMVP-AM (ESPN Radio) where he served as an anchor, reporter and fill-in host since 2003. Boden has also held local sports casting positions with WFLD-TV (Fox) and CLTV in Chicago, IL, along with national work on the NFL Network. Previously, Boden was a sports reporteranchor for WBBM-TV (CBS) in Chicago, IL (1998-2003). Prior to joining WBBM-TV, Boden was at WBBM-AM (1990-1998), first as a sports anchorreporter and then as sports director. Before working at WBBM-AM, he was a sportscaster for Tribune Radio Networks (now Illinois News Networks) from 1987-1990. Boden, who grew up in the Chicago southwestern suburb of Burbank, IL, and attended Luther South H.S., where he played football, ran cross country and track, and was a member of the 1980 Class A state basketball championship team. He graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College in Chicago, IL in 1985, where he ran the sports department at the student radio station, while working at Sports Phone.

1) CSNChicago.com: Chris, the Blackhawks are poised to make a deep run in this years Stanley Cup Playoffs. For as much talent they have on the ice, one aspect of their success seems to be forgotten at times with the fans: Coaching. Joel Quenneville and his staff have disciplined this team into believing there is not a team out there that can challenge them. How much will that mindset benefit the Blackhawks come playoff time?

Boden: The talent and potential on this team combined with the experience of Joel and his staff of Mike Haviland, John Torchetti, and Stephane Waite seems to be a perfect fit. It's easy to see the strides and growth they've made over the past two seasons, and a lot of it has to do with the fact this guy's one of the NHL's all-time winningest coaches.

He's gotten exactly what's been expected of this team, maybe more. You can't argue a whole lot with how the team has responded to whatever messages he sends and buttons he pushes. On the outside, with the media, he's a calm, steadying influence. Overall, he's the same way within the locker room, while his record and over 500 victories speaks for itself in earning the players' respect. That said, he knows the real test lies ahead in how this team responds to a post-season where they won't necessarily sneak up on anybody. And like all but three players on his roster, he has something he wants to prove in becoming a Stanley Cup-winning head coach.

2) CSNChicago.com: Fan favorite Adam Burish is due back with the team in the very near future after being out the entire regular season with a torn ACL suffered back in preseason. What will his return to the line-up mean for this team for the remainder of the regular season and during the playoffs?

Boden: Great sound bites!! Seriously, the Chatty Badger - besides quality opinion and commentary for those of us in the media - supplies a dose of energy on the ice that matches his engaging personality off of it. When he went down with that injury in the preseason, everyone figured the team had enough depth to get by during the regular season, which isn't to say what he brings to the table wasn't missed. But if there's ever a time to add that, it's now, when the team has to dig deep in that energy reservoir despite the Olympic break. When emotions run high in the playoffs and the Hawks need a guy to get under an opponent's skin, the appropriately-nicknamed "Bur" will be there. But he'll also be there to handle himself in the face-off circle when necessary, and let's not forget he scored three goals in the playoffs last spring and every goal during that time of year is big. On top of that, just about every locker room can use a guy with his sense of humor, and perspective, when the pressure's on.

3) CSNChicago.com: The Winter Olympic tournament created a huge buzz throughout the country, culminating in Canada's gold medal-winning, overtime victory over the United States. Will all the positives of that experience outweigh the one potential negative for the six Blackhawks involved?

Boden: There's no question that the four who wound up in that thrilling finale have played an unprecedented, frantic, condensed schedule. The good thing is none of them were injured, so the main concern is a physical wall one almost has to expect them to encounter. Their younger legs will hopefully help them bounce back, plus the other top teams in the West also had a number of players involved, who aren't as collectively young, and whose teams aren't as deep as the Hawks. So if Joel Quenneville feels a need to reduce their minutes leading up the playoffs, you'd think it would affect them less than a San Jose or Vancouver. Of course, the counterpoint to that argument was Detroit having a similar-size contingent in 2006, only to come back to the NHL, win the regular season conference crown, and get upset in the first round of the playoffs. The coaching staff will manage a way not to wear down the batteries of those players. All of us knew those guys well already. Now, the entire country - and a few others around the world - are aware of Toews, Keith, Seabrook and Kane.

4) CSNChicago.com: For many older Chicagoans, SportsPhone was THE source at the time for any breaking sports stories. Two-part question: remind us of some of your fellow colleagues who worked with you at Sports Phone back in the day and do you still remember that phone number?

Boden: 976-1313! Now how could I forget that after having to repeat it so many times! I knew it better than my own number, and some other numbers that were a lot more important. What a different time it was then, when you consider everything fans have available at their fingertips now. But it was obviously a service that the public wanted and needed. And if we weren't fortunate enough to be employed by a radio station back then, that was the next best thing.

SportsPhone was a stepping stone for a lot of us. Les Grobstein and Pat Benkowski were among the first group, along with Fred Huebner and David Schuster, who were still there when I came in kind of a "second wave." Brian Wheeler has gone on to become the radio play-by-play voice of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jeff Joniak came in after me, and look at him now, as the voice of the Bears. Tom Kelley and Joe Mazzone primarily handled the horse racing hotlines, and they've gone on to prominent roles at Balmoral and Maywood Parks, respectively. Ed Vucinic is now the head soccer coach at St. Xavier but has kept his foot (pun intended) in soccer broadcasting. There are countless others that people may not be familiar with that I still consider friends to this day. We were all striving for that "next big gig," but kept each other sane, and laughing, along the way. Especially during those 6-to-8-hour shifts of "10-minute scoreboard updates" of sixty seconds each.

5) CSNChicago.com: If you and your fellow SportsNite team members Pat Boyle, Mark Schanowski and Luke Stuckmeyer went out to dinner, who would be least likely to reach into his wallet first to pay the bill (we promise we wont tell)?

Boden: Meas it should be. They make SOOOO much more money than I do!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Chris? The floor is yours!

Boden: Comcast SportsNet has allowed me to be lucky enough to emcee the annual Special Olympics Illinois Awards dinner each of the past two years. Nothing is quite as humbling as seeing how hard the people involved work to organize events, and bring smiles to the faces of athletes who face much greater challenges than the ones we at CSN cover on a daily basis. It's the devoted volunteers and parents and family members who deserve that night to be recognized, and that's just scratching the surface of what goes on throughout the state and the country. As is the case with anyone giving time to those who are challenged or less fortunate, it's a wakeup call to me and everyone else who are blessed, should there ever a time we are feeling sorry for ourselves.

As for what we might be working on, I'll just say...I hope we get the opportunity to follow The Cup around this summer when Blackhawks players have their day with it!

Boden LINKS:

Chris BodenHawk Talk blog on CSNChicago.com

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Dry humping and second-guessing: Joe Maddon defends his Game 2 bullpen decisions

Joe Maddon has no easy decisions.

With the way his tattered bullpen has pitched this postseason, there's a very real possibility that any guy he calls on to pitch is the "wrong" guy or the right guy in the "wrong" spot.

For everybody wanting Maddon to ride Wade Davis as a workhorse this fall — something the Cubs skipper has already done just to get to this NLCS — remember how much flak he took for overusing Aroldis Chapman a year ago at this time.

Davis also hasn't been superhuman this postseason, allowing a pair of runs (including a homer) and seven baserunners in 4.1 playoff innings, good for a 4.15 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.

So when Maddon sat in the dugout late Sunday evening watching helplessly as John Lackey served up a walk-off homer to Tormund Giantsbane Justin Turner, the "Madd Scientist" immediately found himself in the crosshairs of Cubs fans and the media.

The first question he fielded in his postgame press conference was about not using Davis and there were several follow-ups. That and the offensive futility is about all anybody wanted to talk about after the Cubs fell down 0-2 in the NLCS.

Maddon explained Davis was available only in a save situation due to workload issues — the Cubs closer was in uncharted territory Thursday night/Friday morning, throwing the most pitches (44) and innings (2.1) he's thrown since Aug. 24, 2013 when he was still working as a starter. That's a span of 1,511 days.

"Wade knew that going into the game, it was going to be with the say," Maddon said. "We caught the lead, he's in the game. So whatever the narrative was, it's really a false narrative. He was not coming into that game until we grabbed the lead. He was not going to pitch more than three outs. That's it."

How does Maddon respond to his second-guessers?

"Doesn't matter," Maddon said. "First of all, social media, the moment I start worrying about that, I really need to retire. Second of all, that was all predetermined [Sunday] night again."

Davis also has a recent history of arm troubles (he was on the disabled list twice in 2016 for a forearm issue) and also saw his workload jump in September just to help the Cubs get to the postseason. In the final month of the regular season, Davis threw 237 pitches, 42 more than he threw in any other month of 2017. The last time he topped 200 pitches in any month was May 2015.

TV cameras showed Davis throwing in the Cubs bullpen alongside Lackey at one point in the ninth inning, leading to surprise by a huge faction of the (*looks around and whispers*) social media fanbase when the game broadcast resumed after commercials and the pitching change was to bring Lackey — not Davis — into the game.

"Wade was not warming up to come in that game," Maddon said. "Wade was probably just testing his arm at that point. We had talked about it before the game — up and in. 

"For those that aren't involved in Major League Baseball and professional baseball in general, when a guy's throwing too much, it's very important to not dry hump him, as the saying goes. Get him up and put him back down and bring him back in later. So I wasn't going to do that."

(Wow, really was not expecting to hear or write the phrase "dry hump" regarding this story.)

Maddon insists health is not the problem with Davis.

"Yes [he's healthy]. Oh yeah," Maddon said. "Listen, this guy just did yeoman kind of work — I love that word — in Washington and was not prepared to go more than three outs. I don't understand why that's difficult to understand.

"And furthermore, you have to also understand it wasn't the last game of the year or the second to last game. It was about winning eight more games. All these things are factors."

Maddon has a point. This isn't a Buck Showalter case where the Baltimore Orioles manager failed to use his best reliever — Zach Britton — in a non-save situation in a winner-take-all American League wild card game because he wanted the closer to be ready for a save.

The Cubs went down in a game that was tied 1-1 with their best reliever failing to get in the game even though he hadn't pitched in the last two days. 

But Davis can't cover every inning in relief, especially when the Cubs' two starters (Jose Quintana and Jon Lester) lasted just 9.2 innings against the Dodgers, leaving the Cubs bullpen to account for the other 8+ innings somehow.

The rest of the Cubs bullpen has to step up, too, which they did before the ninth inning of Game 2.

Still, Maddon couldn't resist getting one more defensive shot in before putting the matter to bed:

"I really hope you all understand that social media doesn't count at all," he said. "Twitter doesn't count at all. And really, as sportswriters, you should do a better job than relying on Twitter to write a story, quite frankly."

Well then.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Nick Schmaltz isn’t the only one returning; guess who is back in the booth?!

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Tracey Myers and Pat Boyle discuss Nick Schmaltz returning to the Blackhawks line-up on Wednesday night and which player is looking forward most to his return?

They also weigh in on Corey Crawford’s incredible start to the season and why he’s the major reason why the Hawks begin the week in first place in the Central.

They also discuss who is the biggest Hawks rivalry right now, which new defenseman has impressed the most and how is Connor Murphy dealing with being a healthy scratch at times this season?

Plus, they discuss someone other than Nick Schmaltz returning to work on Wednesday night.

Listen to the full episode in the embedded player below: