Blackhawks

MLB Power Rankings: Week 13

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MLB Power Rankings: Week 13

Every Monday throughout the regular season, we'll be ranking all 30 MLB teams.

Take a look and offer up your thoughts in the comments or to us on twitter @CubsTalkCSN or @WhiteSoxTalkCSN.

Previous rankings: Preseason Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12

Tony
JJ Comments 1
Tony: Yu think Darvish will win the Final Vote?
JJ: When Jeter retires, Andrus may start ASG's for a long, long time.
2
Tony: Four All-Stars prove how good this team is.
JJ: Put Dewayne Wise in the bullpen!
3
Tony: Is anybody regretting Gio trade now?
JJ: The AL East is thankful for the second wild card right now.
4

Tony: Mike Trout: All-Star. Get used to that.
JJ: With LA crashing, Nats are class of NL.
5
Tony: Taken over first place and Lincecum may be back.
JJ: Melky's been great, but .390 BABIP not sustainable.
6
Tony: Don't like griping, but Cueto should be an All-Star.
JJ: No question Votto's the leader for NL MVP right now.
7
Tony: Think they're built to last more than Orioles.
JJ: They're my favorite to grab the second Wild Card spot.
8
Tony: Jim Thome will be a huge addition.
JJ: Were shut out five times last week. Wow.
9
Tony: This team is rounding into form.
JJ: Tough to see them holding off Boston in second half.
10
Tony: Need Kemp back ASAP, trade for Lee would've helped.
JJ: Will probably enter second half as favorites in AL Central.
11
Tony: Will they really be sellers at the deadline?
JJ: Finally getting ready to buy this squad.
12
Tony: A.J. Burnett has been a godsend to that rotation.
JJ: Ike Davis in June: 6 HR, .926 OPS. Good news for them.
13
Tony: How is Wright not starting at 3B for the NL?
JJ: Have some serious pitching concerns but should stay in race.
14
Tony: Ben Sheets? Really?
JJ: Have a better run differential than Tampa Bay now.
15
Tony: Good thing AS gripes won't affect reg. season for La Russa.
JJ: Getting Berkman back should be nice, but he can't pitch.
16
Tony: Remember when Sizemore was the franchise star?
JJ: Enter week with an expected W-L record of 39-40.
17
Tony: Chris Young's lack of production is very concerning.
JJ: Continue to lurk, but haven't made their move.
18
Tony: In last place with a winning record? Only in AL East.
JJ: Plenty of games vs. COLSD could help them stay in race.
19
Tony: Still waiting for them to win like 20 of 21 or something.
JJ: 345 runs scored, 382 runs allowed. Not buying it.
20
Tony: Still hanging around the race, so they may be buyers.
JJ: Enter week 5 games back of 2nd wild card. Well done.
21
Tony: Believe it or not, they're actually in this thing.
JJ: No reason to unload Greinke with added playoff spot.
22
Tony: LoMo looks like just an average player.
JJ: Finally getting healthy, but may be too late.
23
Tony: What will they do with Cole Hamels?
JJ: Still have third-worst run differential in NL.
24
Tony: Look for a huge second half from Hosmer.
JJ: Man, if they just had some pitching...
25
Tony: They've been a much better team as of late.
JJ: Just biding time until Holtzen, Walker come up.
26
Tony: King Felix has been re-crowned.
JJ: Willingham should've been their All-Star.
27
Tony: Carlos Lee needs to approve a trade to help the franchise.
JJ: Swept by the Cubs and sinking real fast.
28
Tony: Can't believe they're this bad this year.
JJ: Pitching rules are, as David Kaplan would say, ridiculous.
29
Tony: Rizzo is the savior! Haha, but seriously, he's good.
JJ: On pace for the worst record in franchise history.
30
Tony: Infusion of young talent could make second half fun to watch.
JJ: So far, so good on Cashner as a starter.

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."