White Sox

Hawk Talk: Crawford kept his cool, battled for win

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Hawk Talk: Crawford kept his cool, battled for win

Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010
4:57 PM

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford wasn't sure how he did it, really.

Following his first victory of the season against Buffalo on Monday, a game that certainly didn't look like it would end up in the Blackhawks' favor at the start, the backup netminder was asked how he settled himself down after getting down 2-0 within the first three minutes.

"I don't know," he said. "I just kept battling and just tried to keep playing my game."

Why did battling work for Crawford? Because he's had to do it so much over these past few seasons, that's why. He's gone through a few "auditions" to be one of the Blackhawks' two goaltenders, but he kept coming up just short. So he kept working, improving. Battling. And this season, Crawford earned that spot that had eluded him the past few seasons.

So he had a choice. He could've caved under the pressure of an early deficit (despite the fact that he wasn't the only problem through those first few minutes. His fellow Blackhawk teammates all looked like they were still operating on CST) or he could take a deep breath and remember why he was here.

Because he earned it.

Crawford got solid. He squared up. He kept his game simple. Basically, he did everything he said he wanted to do at that morning's skate and it worked. And 32 stops later, Crawford was collecting victory No. 1 as Blackhawks goalie No. 2.

Now keep in mind that Crawford nearly didn't get the chance to regroup, at least in this game. Coach Joel Quenneville admitted that the Blackhawks' rocky start nearly prompted him to take a time out to calm his team down and he also thought about pulling Crawford. In watching the first few minutes, I wouldn't have blamed Quenneville for doing eitherboth. In hindsight, it was a great decision to do nothing.

Crawford needed to work through that, because bad days, bad periods, bad goals are going to happen. It's the nature of the job. Now if things would've gotten worse, if the Sabres goals would've kept coming, then the early yank may have been unavoidable.

But he didn't get worse, he got better. He allowed only one more the rest of the way and made some big stops down the stretch, especially in that final minute when the Sabres were on a 6 on 4 (empty net and Blackhawks delay of game).

Maybe we shouldn't have been surprised by Crawford's rebound on Monday night. He's had the try-try-again mentality his entire young career in the Blackhawks' organization and it really paid off this season.

Yes, Monday was just one game, but it led to great results for all involved. The Blackhawks got their first victory of the season. Crawford got his first victory of the year and, you would think, a big boost of confidence. The tests will keep coming for Crawford, who will probably play at least 20-25 games this season.

So far, so good.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Potential first-ballot guy and Blackout Game hero Jim Thome headlines group of former White Sox on this year's Hall of Fame ballot

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AP

Potential first-ballot guy and Blackout Game hero Jim Thome headlines group of former White Sox on this year's Hall of Fame ballot

White Sox fans have seen a couple of their team's all-time greats go into the Hall of Fame in recent years, with Frank Thomas inducted in 2014 and Tim Raines inducted earlier this year.

Seven former White Sox are on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, even if only a couple of them made a big impact on the South Side.

Jim Thome is on the ballot for the first time. While more famously a member of those great Cleveland Indians teams of the 1990s, Thome spent four seasons in a White Sox uniform, playing in 529 games and belting 134 of his 612 career home runs with the South Siders.

A Peoria native currently working as a member of the organization, Thome was a beloved part of four White Sox teams, including the last one to reach the postseason in 2008. He smacked a solo homer to drive in the lone run in the legendary Blackout Game, a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins that gave the White Sox the American League Central crown in the 163rd game of the 2008 regular season.

Thome ranks second in White Sox history in slugging percentage and OPS, trailing only Thomas in both categories. He's No. 7 on the franchise leaderboard in on-base percentage and No. 13 on the home run list.

Given that he ranks eighth on baseball's all-time home run list, Thome could very well be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Also on this year's ballot is Carlos Lee, a power-hitting outfielder who spent the first six seasons of his major league career with the White Sox. El Caballo hit 152 homers and drove in 552 runs in 880 games with the White Sox, finishing 18th in AL MVP voting in 2003 after he slashed .291/.331/.499 with 31 homers. His numbers were even better in 2004, his final season with the White Sox.

Lee ranks ninth on the team's all-time home run list and 11th on the franchise leaderboard in slugging percentage.

Lee did an awful lot of damage in six seasons with the Houston Astros, as well, and earned three All-Star nods in his post-Sox career.

Five others to play for the White Sox are on this year's ballot. Sammy Sosa, more noteworthy for what he did with the Cubs, spent parts of three seasons on the South Side. Omar Vizquel, another Indians great like Thome, played for the White Sox in 2010 and 2011. Andruw Jones, better known for his defensive highlights with the Atlanta Braves, played 107 games with the White Sox in 2010. Orlando Hudson played in 51 games for the White Sox in 2012. And Manny Ramirez, the legendary Indians and Red Sox slugger, played 24 games with the White Sox in 2010.

In order to qualify for election into the Hall of Fame, a player must appear on 75 of ballots submitted by voters.

After critical missed field goal, Bears waive Connor Barth and sign former Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos

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USA TODAY

After critical missed field goal, Bears waive Connor Barth and sign former Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos

After Connor Barth's critical missed field-goal try in Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions, the Bears moved on to a new option at kicker.

The team announced Monday afternoon that it waived Barth and signed former Kansas City Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos.

Santos, a Tulane product who the Bears met with just last week, spent parts of the past four seasons with the Chiefs, including three games earlier this season. Santos has made 89 of his 105 field-goal attempts in his career and 125 of his 130 extra-point tries.

Santos was waived by the Chiefs earlier this season after being placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. He was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals and a perfect 6-for-6 on extra points in the three games he played with the Chiefs earlier this season.

Barth's accuracy was a problem throughout his season and a half with the Bears, but perhaps no miss was bigger than what happened Sunday. After Mitch Trubisky drove the Bears into position for a game-tying field goal, Barth's 46-yard attempt with eight seconds left was far right, and the Bears lost the game 27-24.

In two seasons with the Bears, Barth missed 10 field-goal tries in 26 games. He was 11-for-16 so far in 2017 after going 18-for-23 in 2016.