Blackhawks

On The Farm: Archer stays sharp for Tennessee

On The Farm: Archer stays sharp for Tennessee

Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010
10:40 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
CUBS
Tennessee (AA)
Chris Archer continued to his magnificent run Tuesday night, pitching Tennessee by Huntsville, 7-1, at Smokies Park.

An apropos score considering Archer improved to 7-1 with Tennessee after going 7-1 with Dayton earlier this season. He allowed only a run in seven innings while striking out eight, leaving his Southern League ERA at a microscopic 0.58 in 46 13 innings.

Archer remains within striking distance of a 20-win season despite only having five starts remaining. Depending on weather or any relief appearances, he could become the first 20-game winner since John Fritz won 20 games for Quad Cities 1992.

Ryan Buchter and Jeremy Papelbon each pitched a scoreless inning to preserve the victory. Brandon Guyer had a pair of hits and three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 14 games. Hes batting .472 (25-for-53) with 19 RBIs during the streak. Russ Canzler had two hits and drove in a pair.

In other action, Tampa romped past Dayton, 8-3, at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Jake Optiz had three hits and an RBI. Portland upended Iowa, 13-3, at Principal Park. Jeff Samardzija took the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings. Micah Hoffpauir took his 18-game hitting streak to Chicago, having been called up when the Cubs placed Derrek Lee on the bereavement list. Hoffpauir, who is the reigning PCL Player of the Week, was hitting .413 (31-for-75) during the streak.

WHITE SOX

Charlotte (AAA)
Lucas Harrell bounced back from his worst Triple-A performance of the season on Tuesday, putting for a strong effort as Charlotte defeated Durham, 5-4, at Durham Athletic Park.

Harrell (10-9) allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings after allowing four runs in two innings of his last start on Aug. 5. He had considerable help from the pen as a trio of pitchers preserved the victory with Ryan Braun earning his 17th save despite allowing a ninth-inning run.

Brent Morel had three hits and drove in a pair while Jeremy Reed knocked in two with a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Winston-Salem (A)
Brandon Shorts two-run triple in the sixth inning provided the margin of victory as the Dash downed Wilmington, 5-4, on Tuesday night at Frawley Stadium.

The scored had been tied 3-3 when Short picked up his second triple in as many games. Jose Martinez also had a pair of hits and an RBI to make a winner of Charlis Burdie, who allowed a run in three innings.

Kannapolis (A)
The Intimidators closed out their homestand on a positive note Tuesday, defeating Hagerstown, 8-2, at Fieldcrest Canon Stadium. Kannapolis went 6-2 on the stand to draw to within four games of .500.

Brady Shoemaker had a pair of hits and drove in three. Hes hitting .412 over his last 109 games. Nick Ciolli added a pair of hits and drove in two allowing Andre Rienzo to pick up his eight win of the year and fifth in his last seven outings.

In other action, Bristol banged out 16 hits and romped by Danville, 8-3. Jeffer Patino had four of the hits and drove in one. He also scored three times. Chase Blackwood and Mike Schwartz (three RBIs) had three hits apiece. Jamaal Hollis improved to 3-0 after tossing three shutout innings. Sal Sanchezs second-inning grand slam paced Birmingham to a 7-3 victory over visiting Mississippi. Great Falls and Missoula were postponed due to weather with no makeup date set.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.