Bulls

Hoyer: Dont rule out Dempster return in 2013

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Hoyer: Dont rule out Dempster return in 2013

ST. LOUIS Ryan Dempster showed up for work and went through his day-after routine, preparing for his next start, wherever that might be.

Across Twitter and cyberspace on Saturday what Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer jokingly called a little bit of a parallel universe the buzz centered around where Dempster might be traded.

Dempsters start on Friday night had helped draw the scouts to Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals ended his scoreless-innings streak at 33. Multiple national reports had the Los Angeles Dodgers backing off their pursuit, with the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals in the mix, and the Cardinals mentioned, though its difficult to see a deal getting done there.

This much is clear about Dempsters position: He would only go somewhere he could win a World Series ring, and the final decision will be his, because he has the hammer of 10-and-5 no-trade rights.

Dempster is 35 years old and positioned to become a free agent at seasons end. There were doubts after a 2011 season that was bookended by a slow start (9.08 ERA through six starts) and a bad finish (0-6 with a 5.44 ERA).

Dempster woke up on Saturday with a 2.11 ERA that was tied for the major-league lead with White Sox phenom Chris Sale. Could Dempster have a future in Chicago beyond 2012?

I would never close the door on that at all, Hoyer said. Hes had a great year for us. Look at his track record as a starter with the Cubs. He had a hiccup last year, but he still threw 200 innings. Prior to that, he had three consecutive good years, including a great year in 08.

Hes a leader in the clubhouse and a terrific guy to have around, and its fun to see a guy like him bounce back after that kind of year. People were questioning him, and I think hes proven a lot of people wrong.

We would never close the door on that at all, no matter what happens here at the end of July. Hes a guy thats always welcome in a Cubs uniform, for sure.

Dempster builds bridges in the clubhouse, invites young players to train with him in the offseason and sets a tone for the entire pitching staff. Manager Dale Sveum knows how much harder his job would be without Dempsters presence.

You cant deny that (a trade) wouldnt help the clubhouse, Sveum said. Its only going to take away from the clubhouse, the atmosphere. The leadership role (and) the work ethic and all that you dont replace the whole package.

Dempster is making 14 million this season. The Cubs wont value him that much at that price. He could have the chance to showcase himself in the postseason and cash in for one last big contract.

A new front office went back and forth with Kerry Wood last winter before finally announcing a one-year, 3 million deal at the Cubs Convention. By the middle of May, Wood realized he couldnt be counted on out of the bullpen and decided to retire.

Its not easy negotiating with fan favorites and putting a value on intangibles.

You dont want to do it for sentimental reasons, Hoyer said. You want it to be for baseball reasons. Maybe some of that stuff creeps in the leadership, the experience in the market. I think Kerry had a really good year in (2011). It didnt work out. Sometimes the end comes when you dont expect it.

But you want it to be about baseball first, and I think the players want it to be about baseball first, because they dont want to be hanging around for the wrong reasons. They want to be here because theyre good players and still wanted.

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Bulls-76ers

The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.

1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.

2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…

3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling. 

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."