Blackhawks

CSN celebrates Black History Month

CSN celebrates Black History Month

COMCAST SPORTSNET CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Chicago, IL (January 29, 2013) Comcast SportsNet, the television home of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, celebrates Black History Month in February with four special feature stories highlighting prominent African-American athletes, coaches and significant sports moments that will air every Sunday night in February on GMC SportsNet Central at 10:30 PM. Comcast SportsNet celebrates Black History Month is presented by the U.S. Marines.

Beginning Sunday, February 3 and airing every Sunday night in February at 10:30 PM on GMC SportsNet Central, Comcast SportsNet celebrates Black History Month will present a new feature story highlighting the tremendous impact African-Americans had on the sporting world from a local perspective. CSNChicago.com will also make each feature story video available for online viewing immediately after they air on Comcast SportsNet. Note the following Black History Month feature stories and air dates:

ISIAH THOMAS (Sunday, February 3 at 10:30 PM): A Basketball Hall of Famer whose career ran the full gamut. From a college success with Bob Knights Indiana Hoosiers, to the chief Bad Boy of the 80s Detroit Pistons championship teams, to a team executive, and a head coach on the pro and college levels, Thomas has done it all. A basketball journey began as a Charger with St. Joseph High School in Westchester, under legendary coach Gene Pingatore, Thomas is now back home in Chicago and has been working to solve the problems of violence in Chicago communities.

DOROTHY GATERS (Sunday, February 10 at 10:30 PM): The most successful coach in the history of high school basketball in Illinois. She has more than 970 career victories in nearly 40 years of coaching the Marshall High School girls basketball team, and also serves as the schools athletic director. Gaters reflects on her magical life of basketball...a career that shows no signs of slowing down.

FRITZ POLLARD (Sunday, February 17 at 10:30 PM): Born in Chicago in the late 1800s, Pollard became pro footballs first African-American head coach, while also playing with the Akron Pros 1921. In high school, he attended Lane Tech and was a star of multiple sports there before moving onto play college football as an Ivy Leaguer at Brown University. Pollard was 92 when he passed away in 1986, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Pollards grandson, Dr. Stephen Towns, delivered the speech on the day of his induction into the Hall. For this profile, we travel to Towns home in Indianapolis as he chronicles the life and times of Pollard as a pioneer and as a man.

ERNIE BANKSTHE MANAGER (Sunday, February 24 at 10:30 PM): Cubs enthusiasts know all about Ernie Banks, the 14-time All-Star, and slugger of 512 career home runsbut there is also the milestone of his career that isnt told often. On May 8th, 1973, Cubs manager Whitey Lockman was ejected from a game in extra innings. Banks was an assistant coach who slid into the managers seat to replace Lockman for the remainder of the game. With that move, Banks unofficially became the first African-American to manage a Major League team, pre-dating Frank Robinson by two years, when he officially took over as the full-time manager of the Cleveland Indians in 1975. Ernie and a couple of Cubs teammates share their thoughts about Mr. Cub and his one-day encounter as skipper.

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Patrick Kane hits milestone, but Blackhawks get blown out by Islanders

Probably not the way the Blackhawks wanted to start their second half of the season.

After a five-day break, the Blackhawks suffered a brutal 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday night at the United Center. This coming after a 4-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on home ice last Sunday.

"It was a game we had to win," Quenneville said after Saturday's loss. "Disappointing in a lot of ways."

The Blackhawks needed both goaltenders to get through 60 minutes. Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass combined for 39 saves on 46 shots.

On the offensive side of things, Patrick Kane hit a milestone.

The 29-year-old had two goals and an assist and recorded his 800th career point, becoming the fifth player in franchise history to reach 800 points.

The Blackhawks are now 22-18-6 on the season with 50 points and rank last in the Central Division, five points behind the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks' schedule doesn't get any easier when the Tampa Bay Lightning — the league-leader in points — come to town on Monday.

See what Quenneville and Kane had to say about Saturday's loss in the video above.

One MLB executive thinks Kyle Schwarber can emerge as Cubs' best hitter in 2018

One MLB executive thinks Kyle Schwarber can emerge as Cubs' best hitter in 2018

When the 2017 season ended, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber looked in the mirror and didn't like what he saw.

He was stocky, slower than he wanted to be and he had just finished a very difficult season that saw him spend time back in the minor leagues at Triple-A after he struggled mightily through the first three months of the season.

Schwarber still put up solid power numbers despite his overall struggles. He slammed 30 home runs, putting him among the Top 15 hitters in the National League and among the Top 35 in all of baseball. But, Schwarber was honest with himself. He knew he could achieve so much more if he was in better shape and improved his mobility, his overall approach at the plate and his defense.

Schwarber was drafted by the Cubs out of Indiana University as a catcher. However, many scouts around baseball had serious doubts about his ability to catch at the big league level. The Cubs were in love with Schwarber the person and Schwarber the overall hitter and felt they would give him a chance to prove he could catch for them. If he couldn't, then they believed he could play left field adequately enough to keep his powerful bat in the lineup.

However, a serious knee injury early in the 2016 season knocked Schwarber out of action for six months and his return to the Cubs in time to assist in their World Series run raised expectations for a tremendous 2017 season. In fact, the expectations for Schwarber were wildly unrealistic when the team broke camp last spring. Manager Joe Maddon had Schwarber in the everyday lineup batting leadoff and playing left field.

But Schwarber's offseason after the World Series consisted of more rehab on his still-healing injured left knee. That kept him from working on his outfield play, his approach at the plate and his overall baseball training. 

Add in all of the opportunities and commitments that come with winning a World Series and it doesn't take much detective work to understand why Schwarber struggled so much when the 2017 season began. This offseason, though, has been radically different. A season-ending meeting with Cubs president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer led to a decision to take weight off of Schwarber's frame. It also included a decision to change his training program so that he improved his quickness, lateral movement and his overall baseball skills.

"I took two weeks off after the season ended and then I went to work," Schwarber said. "We put a plan together to take weight off and to improve my quickness. I have my meals delivered and I feel great. My baseball work combined with a lot of strength and conditioning has me in the best shape that I have ever been in."

Schwarber disagrees with the pundits who felt manager Maddon's decision to put him in the leadoff spot in the Cubs' loaded lineup contributed to his struggles.

"I have no problem hitting wherever Joe wants to put me," Schwarber said. "I didn't feel any more pressure because I was batting leadoff. I just needed to get back to training for a baseball season as opposed to rehabbing from my knee injury. I'm probably 20-25 pounds lighter and I'm ready to get back to Arizona with the boys and to get ready for the season."

Many around the game were shocked when the Cubs drafted Schwarber with the No. 4 overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, but a rival executive who was not surprised by the pick believes that Schwarber can indeed return to the form that made him such a feared hitter during his rookie season as well as his excellent postseason resume.

"Everyone who doubted this kid may end up way off on their evaluation because he is a great hitter and now that he is almost two years removed from his knee injury," the executive said. "He knows what playing at the major-league level is all about I expect him to be a real force in the Cubs lineup.

"Theo and Jed do not want to trade this kid and they are going to give him every opportunity to succeed. I think he has a chance to be as good a hitter as they have in their order."

Watch the full 1-on-1 interview with Kyle Schwarber Sunday night on NBC Sports Chicago.