Blackhawks

Gould, McManis, Steltz to IR, PK Mare signed

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Gould, McManis, Steltz to IR, PK Mare signed

Less than a week before a pivotal meeting with the Green Bay Packers, the Bears' special teams took a series of blows on Tuesday when kicker Robbie Gould and No. 2 special teams tackler Sherrick McManis were placed on injured reserve along with safety Craig Steltz.

To replace Gould, the Bears added veteran kicker Olindo Mare in addition to signing linebacker Jerry Franklin to a two-year deal and moving wide receiver Joe Anderson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. The Bears waived veteran guard Andre Gurode, signed Nov. 27 but not used in the Minnesota game when the Bears replaced Edwin Williams at left guard with undrafted free agent James Brown.

Gould, the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history, injured his calf in pregame warmups before Sundays game against the Minnesota Vikings. He was able to kick extra points after both Bears touchdowns but was unable to kick off. Punter Adam Podlesh handled kickoffs.

McManis suffered a knee injury against the Vikings and was tied for second on the team with 10 special teams tackles.

Steltz had two special teams tackles and a forced fumble against the Vikings and had 12 tackles at safety, providing backup to starters Chris Conte and Major Wright this season.

Familiar face

Mare was the winner of a kicking competition at Halas Hall on Tuesday and comes with 15 NFL seasonsof experience with four teams. He started with the Miami Dolphins in 1997-2006, went to the New Orleans Saints in 2007, the Seattle Seahawks from 2008-10, and was with the Panthers in 2011.

Mare, who was successful on 22 of 28 field goals last season, has converted 350 of 431 field goals for his career and all but six of his 486 PATs for a total of 1,530 points.

He also has substantial experience kicking against the Bears, in Soldier Field and elsewhere. Mare converted field goals from 29, 39 and 38 yards in Carolinas 34-29 loss to the Bears last season and three extra points in Seattles 2010 win over the Bears. He connected on four of six field goal tries (46, 37, 39, 46 yards) when the Bears won at Seattle in 2009.

Ironically, the two misses against the Bears were Mares only two all season.

Mare provided the final three points in Miamis 31-13 upset of the Bears in 2006 and was good from 27 and 29 yards in Miami in the Dolphins 2002 victory over Chicago.

Gould loss

Gould had told CSNChicago.com on Monday that he felt great and planned to rehab a little bit, get ready for practice and get ready to beat Green Bay.

Gould has had 10 game-winning field goals in his career, most recently for the victory over the Panthers in addition to tying the Seattle game with a 46-yard field goal as time expired at the end of regulation.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks face Golden Knights for first time

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 8:45 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Corey Crawford vs. ... Oscar Dansk? 

The Golden Knights have seen both Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban go down with injuries, so they're scraping for goaltenders at this point.

On one end of the ice, you have one of the best netminders in the league and a two-time Stanley Cup champion in Crawford. On the other, you have a 23-year-old rookie in Dansk making his first official NHL start who will be backed up by a 24-year-old rookie in Maxime Lagace, who has never appeared in an NHL game.

In his first game action, Dansk stopped 10 of 11 shots in relief during Saturday's 3-2 overtime win over St. Louis.

2. Fast start.

The Blackhawks are tied for second in both goals scored (13) and fewest goals allowed (four) in the first period, which has a large reason for their early season success.

The Golden Knights aren't the kind of team that gets out to a blazing start. They've allowed only five goals in the opening frame, but they've scored only five as well, which ranks among the bottom 10 teams in the league. 

3. Beware of James Neal.

The Golden Knights became the first team in NHL history to win six of their first seven games of their inaugural season. And they probably don't have half of those wins if it weren't for Neal, who scored the game-winning goal in each of their first three games.

He leads the club with six goals and eight points, and serves as the motor for a team that doesn't have much offensive talent. He's the go-to guy, and somebody you have to keep an eye on when he's on the ice.

 

Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

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Three Things to Watch: Bulls square off against LeBron and the Cavaliers

Here are Three Things to Watch in the Bulls' Tuesday night tilt against the Cavaliers on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live.

1. LeBron James will be on your television

Love him or hate him, LeBron James is must-see TV. Now in his 15th NBA season, James has shown no signs of slowing down. Despite playing just one preseason game (against the Bulls), James has shown anything but rust in three games, averaging 25.0 points on 60 percent shooting, 8.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists in nearly 37 minutes. He's a threat every night to do something you've never seen on a basketball court, His Airness included. Justin Holiday and Paul Zipser will have their hands full against the game's best player.

2. Lauri Markkanen, Week 2

Small sample size alert! But through the season's first week Markkanen and Ben Simmons are the only rookies averaging a double-double (Dallas' Dennis Smith has played just one game, averaging 16 points and 10 assists). While the Bulls have struggled through two games, Markkanen's net rating is third best on the team and he leads the Bulls bigs in rebounds per game and rebound percentage. Markkanen has shown some versatility offensively, and his 7 free-throw attempts have been a nice surprise as well.

3. Don't forget: The Bulls swept the Cavaliers last year

OK, so expecting a victory Tuesday night in Cleveland isn't smart. The Bulls will be underdogs just like they were in each of the four games last season, all of which were Bulls winners. It was the first time in 52 division series that LeBron James had been swept, which is pretty remarkable considering the Bulls were the No. 8 seed and the Cavs coasted to a third straight NBA Finals. We're not over here predicting a win. But just remember: the Bulls have fared well against James in the regular season.