Blackhawks

The history of the No. 6 overall pick

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The history of the No. 6 overall pick

The Cubs are set to pick sixth in Monday's MLB Amateur Draft, the fourth time in franchise history they've come in at that spot.

In 1965, the first Free Agent Amateur Draft, the Cubs selected Rick James sixth overall.

No, not that Rick James. A right-handed pitcher out of Alabama. James appeared in just three games in his major-league career, compiling a 13.50 ERA in 4.2 innings. He was out of baseball by the time he turned 23, playing his last season with the Cubs' minor-league system in 1970.

Almost 20 years later, the Cubs selected sixth again, taking another right-handed pitcher Jackie Davidson in 1983. He never made it to the majors and played 10 years of professional baseball, compiling a 4.81 career ERA.

In 2003, the Cubs once again had the sixth pick and once again missed with it. They took outfielder Ryan Harvey out of high school and he never climbed above Double-A. He compiled a career minor-league slash line of .245.297.451 and a scary 161:735 strikeout-walk ratio. Harvey last played in the minors in 2010 with the Rockies and is now in the Independent league.

However, just because the Cubs have had some rough luck with the No. 6 overall pick in the draft doesn't mean other franchises have had the same experience, as Patrick Mooney pointed out Saturday.

The Yankees struck gold when high school shortstop Derek Jeter fell to them at sixth in 1992 and now "The Captain" is a first-ballot Hall of Famer with more than 3,000 hits and engineered five World Series championships.

The Royals took Zack Greinke sixth in 2002 and he rewarded them with a Cy Young in 2009, going 16-8 with a league-leading 2.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.

Dating back to the mid-'80s, two iconic players were taken sixth overall in back-to-back years. The Pirates nabbed Barry Bonds in 1985 and the Brewers selected Gary Sheffield a year later.

The Devil Rays grabbed Rocco Baldelli in 2000 and while he hasn't done much in the majors lately, he was third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2003. Ricky Romero (2005) has been a revelation at the top of the Blue Jays' rotation, compiling a 35-21 record to go with a 3.41 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 7.3 K9 over 75 starts the past three seasons.

Andrew Miller (Tigers, 2006) was drafted as a starter, but has seemingly found his niche as a left-handed reliever with the Red Sox, as he has a 2.31 ERA, 0.77 WHIP and 11.6 K9 heading into play Sunday.

Ross Detwiler (Nationals, 2007) has been a boost to Washington's pitch staff over the past couple of seasons and kicked off 2012 with a 1.59 ERA through his first five starts. He recently lost his rotation spot to Chien-Ming Wang, but will act as the Nationals' long reliever.

It's impossible to predict how the career will play out for any of these guys in the 2012 draft, but past history proves there are impact players available at No. 6. It's just a matter of whether Theo Epstein, Jason McLeod and Co. will be able to separate one from the pack.

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."