Blackhawks

CSN's Top 20 basketball rankings

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CSN's Top 20 basketball rankings

By Joe Collins and Taylor Bell
CSNChicago.com

1 Simeon (18-1)

Results: Lost to Findlay Prep 75-50; Defeated Urban Prep 83-39, Vocational 63-42 and Southwind TN 73-54

This Week: Wednesday vs. Bogan, Friday at Harlan

Hoops Talk: The Wolverines get back on track after Mondays humbling defeat. Wednesdays game at 81st & Vincennes could have game-of-the-year potential.

2 Proviso East (16-0)

Results: Defeated Downers Grove South 78-70 and Leyden 70-49

This Week: Saturday at Addison Trail

Hoops Talk: The road to the West Suburban Gold title now goes through Maywood, but Paris Lee and the Pirates are thinking much bigger.

3 Curie (17-1)

Results: Defeated North Chicago 88-80 OT, Lindblom 75-35, Dunbar 69-54 and Whitney Young 59-47

This Week: Monday at Kenwood, Tuesday at DuSable, Thursday vs. Harper, Sunday vs. Leo

Hoops Talk: The Condors are playing eight games in two weeks, but Cliff Alexander, Malcolm Hill-Bey and Devin Foster havent hit the brakes yet.
4 Warren (13-2)

Results: Defeated Downers Grove South 64-63 OT

This Week: Tuesday vs. Stevenson, Saturday vs. Mundelein

Hoops Talk: The last of Darius Pauls 26 points against DGS was the most importantthe free throw with no time left in OT. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
5 Andrew (13-0)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday at Tinley Park, Friday at Lincoln-Way West

Hoops Talk: The Thunderbolts showdown at Thornwood was postponed Friday due to the snow. Andrew is one of the three remaining undefeated teams.
6 Elgin (16-1)

Results: Defeated Huntley 58-44

This Week: Thursday vs. St. Charles North

Hoops Talk: The Maroons get another signature win, thanks to senior Kory Brown. He scored a career-high 30 points against Huntley.

7 Bogan (19-1)

Results: Defeated Morgan Park 59-54 and Bradford WI 69-33

This Week: Tuesday vs. Harlan, Wednesday at Simeon

Hoops Talk: The Bengals could be the talk of the town come Wednesday night. Do they have what it takes to take down No. 1 Simeon?

8 Plainfield East (14-1)

Results: Defeated Naperville Central 66-51; Lost to Larkin 70-67

This Week: Tuesday vs. Glenbard South, Friday vs. Oswego, Saturday at Plainfield South

Hoops Talk: East went scoreless for 3.5 minutes in the fourth against Larkin. Dee Brown, Brian Bennett, Jawan Straughter and company look to bounce back.

9 De La Salle (13-2)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday vs. St. Joseph, Friday at Loyola

Hoops Talk: Last Fridays St. Ignatius game rescheduled for 222. Tuesdays game will serve as a rematch from December 9th, won by the Meteors (62-52).

10 New Trier (17-2)

Results: Defeated Buffalo Grove 57-33, Niles West 67-43 and Taft 82-51

This Week: Friday at Glenbrook South

Hoops Talk: Future Ivy-Leaguers Connor Boehm (Dartmouth) and Steven Cook (Princeton) keep the Trevians rolling.
11 Downers Grove South (13-4)

Results: Lost to Proviso East 78-70, Warren 64-63 OT

This Week: Friday at Hinsdale South, Saturday vs. Morton

Hoops Talk: Two games, two losses to top 10 opponents. Jerron Wilbut and Kevin Honn played starring roles against Warren, each scoring 20 points.

12 Huntley (15-2)

Results: Defeated Jacobs 50-37; Lost to Elgin 58-44

This Week: Tuesday vs. Cary-Grove, Saturday at Dundee-Crown

Hoops Talk: Justin Frederick and 6-6 sophomore Amanze Egekeze each had 11 points for Huntley against Elgin, but the Red Raiders couldnt contain Kory Brown.

13 St. Ignatius (14-2)

Results: Defeated Brooks 74-44

This Week: Friday vs. Hales

Hoops Talk: The Wolfpack continue to be one of Chicagolands most balanced teamsfive in double figures Sunday against Brooks.

14 Marshall (18-4)

Results: Defeated Whitney Young 79-75 OT and Madison-Milwaukee WI 67-58

This Week: Wednesday at Orr

Hoops Talk: The Commandos, paced by Korbin McClain and Milton Doyle, are red hot. They are all by themselves in first in the Red-West.

15 Metea Valley (16-1)

Results: Defeated Rich Central 96-88 OT

This Week: Tuesday vs. Bartlett, Saturday at South Elgin

Hoops Talk: Senior guard Kenny Obendorf and the Mustangs have been more than impressive in the programs second year of varsity-level play.
16 Hillcrest (15-4)
Results: Defeated Richards 61-48 and Bremen 66-32; Lost to Farragut 59-53

This Week: Tuesday at Crete-Monee, Friday vs. T.F. North

Hoops Talk: Two nice South Suburban wins, but the Hawks ran into a block party on Sunday. Farraguts Rashaun Stimage stuffed Hillcrest 13 times.

17 Whitney Young (8-7)

Results: Lost to Marshall 79-75 OT, Curie 59-47

This Week: Wednesday vs. Collins, Thursday vs. Soldan International Studies (in St. Louis), Sunday vs. Trinity (in Louisville)

Hoops Talk: Like Downers Grove South, the Dolphins lose two hard-fought games to ranked competition. Paul White continues to complement Jahlil Okafor well.

18 Bloom (14-3)

Results: Lost to Sandburg 47-43 OT

This Week: Tuesday at Homewood-Flossmoor, Friday vs. Rich Central

Hoops Talk: Shocking loss to Sandburg-- a game where the Trojans led by 9 with 1:43 to go. It doesnt get any easier, as a talented H-F team is lurking.

19 Crane (13-4)

Results: Defeated Cody MI 2-0 (forfeit), Collins 69-50, T.F. North 66-62 OT, Tremper WI 53-49

This Week: Wednesday vs. Manley, Saturday vs. Paducah Tillman (Louisville KY), Sunday vs. TBA (Louisville KY)

Hoops Talk: Isaiah Hayes, Chris Davis and Willie Conner help lead Chris Heads team back into the CSN Top 20.

20 Hope Academy (16-2)

Results: No games played last week

This Week: Tuesday vs. Lake Forest Academy, Thursday at Chicagoland Jewish, Friday at St. Benedict

Hoops Talk: Hope, which includes senior forward Torrance Johnson, continues to make waves in the Chicago Prep. But will the team win without Jalen James?

Looming & Lurking: Dunbar, Farragut, Naperville North, West Aurora, Foreman, Herscher, St. Viator, Lemont, Homewood-Flossmoor, Seton, St. Rita, North Chicago, Notre Dame, Crete-Monee.
NOTE: This weeks schedule may change, due to the rescheduling of games from Fridays inclement weather

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

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USA TODAY

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

Jean-Francois Berube got his first start of the season on Friday night, and it couldn't have gone any better.

The 26-year-old goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots, a career-high for him in saves, in the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Since Corey Crawford went down with a head injury last December, the Blackhawks have been searching for consistency in the crease. 

The pair of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass — who was assigned to Rockford on Feb. 15 and replaced with Berube — have had their ups and downs since then. With the Blackhawks out of the playoff picture, Berube had an opportunity showcase his skills, and he didn't disappoint.

"We were very happy with him," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I thought he did a great job. He was comfortable. I thought he was very patient in his net. Absorbing a lot of pucks with people in front of him was good. Closed some gaps and got … of the top of the paint. Rebound control was effective. Nice response from a long absence."

Berube's last — and only — appearance with the Blackhawks prior to Friday's game came on Dec. 6, relieving Forsberg in a game against the Washington Capitals. He recorded 12 saves of 14 shots. 

When Crawford got injured, Berube was the primary candidate to become the team's backup goaltender. The only problem? He was injured too, so the Blackhawks promoted Glass.

"I didn't want to sit and think about it," Berube said of his injury. "At the same time, it was great for Glasser. He was one of those guys that probably deserved it earlier in his career and he finally got his chance. Sometimes you need a guy to go down to have your chance. So I was mostly happy for him.

On Friday night, he got his chance.

"You always want to have a good impression for your first game," Berube said. "I know what I can do at this level, so it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to play and showing people what I can do."

Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Artem Anisimov scored an empty-netter.

"It's a lot more fun coming to the rink when you're winning, enjoying each other, playing well as a team," Schmaltz said of the Blackhawks' win, which have now won three of their last four games. "Hopefully we can keep that good energy and bring it to the rink every day, and build off of that.

"You never know where this team can go, a lot of great players, lots of guys that have had a lot of success. Hopefully we can continue to put together solid efforts."