Preps Talk

Bears improved via draft but hard to measure any gain on Pack

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Bears improved via draft but hard to measure any gain on Pack

The prime directive for Phil Emery going into the 2012 draft was to improve the pass rush, the passing game and the secondary vs. the receiving threats in Detroit and Green Bay.

The Bears ostensibly did all of those with defensive end Shea McClellin in the first round, wideout Alshon Jeffery in the second and tight end Evan Rodriguez in the fourth rounds, and cornerback-turning-safety Brandon Hardin in the third.

I felt like we did very well in the overriding thing, finding the players that can help us the quickest to reach our goals of winning a championship, said the general manager after running his first draft. We felt very good. We made progress in that area.

But whether they gained on the Lions or Packers the Vikings are far enough back to be omitted from this discussion, even with a solid draft is problematic.

The Lions improved protection for Matthew Stafford with Iowa tackle Reilly Reiff in the first round and a receiver (Ryan Broyles) in the second, although Broyles was out of Combine drills because of injuries to both knees. Then they went defense with their next six picks, all of them linebackers or defensive backs.

The Packers used their first six picks on defense, four of them in the front seven of their 3-4. GM Ted Thompson has a strong draft record, doesnt miss badly on too many picks, so chances are Green Bay will not be in the 30s defensively again.

Of course, the Packers may be positioning themselves to take a precipitous step backwards in the division, and more.

The Packers are prepared to go into the 2012 season with no quarterback other than Aaron Rodgers who has ever taken an NFL snap. Coach Mike McCarthy told NFL sage Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel this weekend that Green Bay wasnt going after a veteran quarterback, potentially setting Thompson up for the Jerry Angelo treatment if Rodgers goes down.

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites Football Semifinals Roundup

High School Lites has plenty of great IHSA football playoff action from the semifinals on Saturday as NBC Sports Chicago has highlights of many of the area's top matchups. 

Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie RidgeEpisode 14

This Week's Scores

Class 8A

Loyola Academy 17, Edwardsville 10

Lincoln-Way East 24, Maine South 14

Class 7A

Lake Zurich 14, Mount Carmel 7

Batavia 23, Benet Academy 13

Class 6A

Prairie Ridge 42, Hoffman Estates 21

Nazareth Academy 24, Providence Catholic 7

Class 5A

Phillips 27, Sterling 14

Dunlap 21, Washington 0

Class 4A

Morris 43, Raby 8

Rochester 31, Highland 14

Class 3A

IC Catholic 7, Byron 0

Pleasant Plains 41, Anna-Jonesboro 2

Class 2A

Gibson City 14, Newman Central Catholic 8

Maroa-Forsyth 25, Shelbyville 14

Class 1A

Tuscola 21, Athens 14

Lena-Winslow 12, Forreston 8

 

It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic

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USA TODAY

It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic

It’s official: The Blackhawks are headed back outdoors.

The NHL announced that the 2019 Winter Classic will be held at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1.

"The Blackhawks and Bruins, two of our most historic franchises, will be meeting outdoors for the first time at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Notre Dame Stadium, with its capacity approaching 80,000, will provide an ideal setting for this ground-breaking event and will host the largest live audience ever to witness a game by either of these teams."

"The Chicago Blackhawks are honored to be participating in this marquee event at an iconic venue like Notre Dame Stadium," Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough said in a statement. "The University of Notre Dame has strong alumni roots in both Chicago and Boston, and, with an established rivalry between the Blackhawks and Bruins, fans will be treated to an exciting game in a unique atmosphere. We appreciate the invitation to the game and look forward to what will be a great day for both franchises and the National Hockey League."

It's the sixth time the Blackhawks will be playing outdoors, and their league-leading fourth Winter Classic. The Blackhawks are 1-4-0 in outdoor games, and are winless in three Winter Classic games.

Chicago's only outdoor win came against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 Stadium Series Classic, a 5-1 victory at Soldier Field.