Preps Talk

Cubs waiting to make the decision on Garza

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Cubs waiting to make the decision on Garza

LOS ANGELES While Ryan Dempster sat in the executive offices at Clark and Waveland, hearing firsthand that the Dodgers didnt have that much interest before ultimately accepting a trade to the Rangers, Matt Garza wasnt plugged in at the deadline.

Garza was at the hospital on Tuesday with his wife, who gave birth to their fourth child, a daughter they named Summer Grace. He has never seemed overly concerned by the nonstop rumors, but this time he definitely had bigger things to worry about.

I was knee deep in wait, Garza recalled on Friday. Just wait, wait, wait. Epidural, hold, wait, hold. The deadline came at three oclock and I didnt even know. (My wife) said: Hey, its 3:05. Oh, snap: I looked up to see who got moved.

The Cubs certainly listened to offers for Garza who hasnt pitched since July 21 but a right elbow injury complicated those plans.

I figured I wasnt (going to be traded), Garza said. Just because of the situation I was in I hadnt thrown for a number of days. If youre trading for me, youre kind of getting a blind pick. Thats the way people felt. Thats the way it would look. But it is what it is and Im happy to be where Im at.

The Cubs still arent quite sure when Garza will be back in the rotation. They cut short Fridays bullpen session at Dodger Stadium after Garza felt stiff, though he said that was to be expected after three days off.

Garza will try to throw another bullpen on Saturday, and hopes to start three days later in San Diego, but that is an aggressive and optimistic timeline. If Garza goes on the disabled list, Casey Coleman could be available from Triple-A Iowa as a spot starter.

One theory about a rotation now filled with question marks had the Cubs building around Garza and Jeff Samardzija. But it was revealing that team executives kept saying how the timing of the injury was unfortunate, preventing them from fully exploring the trade market.

Garza said he didnt hear about the comments made by team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer during their deadline postmortems.

Ive been go, go, go, go, Garza said. I really havent been paying much attention. Im just clearing my head a little bit.

Epstein couldnt say for certain that Garza would have been traded, though he did confirm that contract negotiations earlier this season went nowhere. Epstein indicated extension talks could be restarted in the offseason (presumably not while Garzas playing Golden Tee in the Cubs headquarters break room).

The windows always open, Garza said. Dont ever shut a window. Just leave it open, and when an opportunity arises and thats where we both see eye to eye, thats where we go.

Garza wont be a free agent until after the 2013 season, which will make him a trade target again this winter. He said an elbow scare and a growing family havent made him rethink his future or consider where he stands in the organization. Hes still open to the Cubs.

Yeah, why not? Garza said. Theres reasons why Im still here. I dont know what they are nobody does so just play it by ear and see where it goes.

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

Playoff drama highlights a busy week on High School Lites

High School Lites had a busy show as it was the final week of the regular season for IHSA boys basketball Class 3A and 4A. The Class 1A and 2A playoffs also tipped in boys basketball as the show has some thrilling regional titles that were decided in the final minute. And finally, the girls basketball Class 1A and 2A state semifinals were played on Friday as the state's top teams played in Bloomington.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for the latest news and scores for IHSA basketball.

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Richards wrestler Mia Palumbo

Saint Xavier Team of the Week: Simeon boys basketball

Highlights

Marshall shocks Leo in Class 2A regional final

Aurora Christian runs past Harvert Christian for 1A regional title

Buzzer-beater lifts Monticello over Gibson City for regional title

Jacobs goes unbeaten in Fox Valley with win over Dundee-Crown

West Aurora gets by rival East Aurora

Yorkville completes season sweep of DeKalb

Lemont escapes past T.F. North

Marshall needs OT to get past Teutopolis in girls 2A semifinals

Harlan takes down Eureka in 2A semifinals

Stockton runs by Okaw Valley in 1A

Schlarman races by Lebanon

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.