Blackhawks

NBC Chicago Nonstop Digital 5.2 and CSN to carry live coverage of IHSA Football Championships

NBC Chicago Nonstop Digital 5.2 and CSN to carry live coverage of IHSA Football Championships

NBC CHICAGO NONSTOP DIGITAL 5.2 AND COMCAST SPORTSNET TO CARRY LIVE COVERAGE OF IHSA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

Networks to jointly televise this weekends Class 1A-8A IHSA Football Championships LIVE in the Chicago market only; Games will also be televised everywhere on DIRECTV & DISH Network

Viewers outside the Chicago market are encouraged to visit IHSA.com for exact broadcast networkchannel location information in their area

CSNChicago.com to air highlight packages of all games throughout the weekend;

IHSA.tv to live stream every game
Chicago, IL (November 21, 2011) -- NBC Chicago Nonstop Digital 5.2 (NBC5s 247 local news and entertainment channel) and Comcast SportsNet (the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox) have jointly announced the two networks will be airing LIVE coverage of the 2011 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Championships on Friday, November 25 & Saturday, November 26 from Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL. Chicago preps fans can look forward to every action-packed championship battle starting with the Class 1A contest on Friday morning at 10:00 AM, leading up Class 8As highly-anticipated match-up between Bolingbrook and Loyola Academy on Saturday night at 7:00 PM. The 2011 IHSA Football Championships will be produced by the IHSA & When We Were Young Productions.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Both NBC Chicago Nonstop Digital 5.2 and Comcast SportsNets televised coverage of all eight IHSA Football Championship games can only be seen in the Chicago market. Please note the following providerchannel location for both stations in the Chicago area:

NBC CHICAGO NONSTOP DIGITAL 5.2 COMCAST SPORTSNET

Digital Channel 5.2 Comcast Cable37 & 200

Comcast Cable341 AT&T U-verse741 & 1741

RCN50 RCN370 & 1685

Wide Open West130 Wide Open West38, 65 & 220

In addition, all eight IHSA championship match-ups will also be televised everywhere on DIRECTV channel 665 & DISH Network channel 429. Viewers outside the Chicago are urged to consult their on-screen channel guide to verify the channel broadcasting the game in their area or to simply visit IHSA.org for complete broadcast stationchannel location information throughout the state.

IHSA.tv will also be providing a live stream of every game and CSNChicago.com will be featuring highlight packages from all games throughout the weekend. Plus Comcast SportsNet viewers can look forward to special IHSA Championship editions of High School Lites on both Friday, Nov. 25 & Saturday, Nov. 26 live at 10:30 PM for a complete rundown of all games, including expanded highlights and playercoaches interviews.

The following schedule details NBC Chicago Nonstop Digital 5.2 and Comcast SportsNets coverage of the 2011 IHSA Football Championships airing this Thanksgiving weekend (play-by-playcolor analyst announce teams are included below):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25

10:00 AM Class 1A: TUSCOLA vs. DAKOTA (Lee HallJack McInerney)

1:00 PM Class 2A: CASEY-WESTFIELD (Casey) vs. MORRISON (Lee HallJack McInerney)

4:00 PM Class 3A: MT. CARMEL (Chicago) vs. AURORA CHRISTIAN (Dave BernhardDanan Hughes)

7:00 PM Class 4A: ROCHESTER vs. RICHMOND-BURTON (Richmond) (Dave BernhardDanan Hughes)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26

10:00 AM Class 5A: JOLIET CATHOLIC vs. MONTINI (Lombard) (Lee HallDanan Hughes)

1:00 PM Class 6A: RICHWOODS (Peoria) vs. PRAIRIE RIDGE (Crystal Lake) (Lee HallDanan Hughes)

4:00 PM Class 7A: WHEATON-WARRENVILLE SOUTH (Wheaton) vs. BOYLAN CATHOLIC (Rockford) (Dave BernhardJack McInerney)

7:00 PM Class 8A: BOLINGBROOK vs. LOYOLA ACADEMY (Wilmette) (Dave BernhardJack McInerney)

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit first-place Lightning

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.

There hasn't been a more dynamic duo in the NHL so far this season than Kucherov and Stamkos, who have combined for 68 points (27 goals, 41 assists) through 20 games, and sit first and second in the scoring race.

They've each recorded a point in every game except three — which coincidentally have been the same games — and they've lost all three of those contests. Kucherov has also scored a goal in 15 of 20 games this season. That's absurd when you consider he's scoring on a consistent basis; it's not like they're coming in spurts.

To put all that into perspective, he reached the 17-goal mark in his 36th game last year and still finished second in the league with 40 goals. He hit the 17-goal mark in 16 fewer games this season. How many can he realistically finish with? 60?

2. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

Tampa Bay knows how dangerous Chicago's dynamic duo can be as well, as evidenced in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks' superstars know how to get up for a big game.

In 13 career regular-season games against the Lightning, Kane has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists). Toews has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in 14 games.

They're both producing at or above a point-per-game pace, and they're going to need more of that against this powerhouse Lightning team.

3. Something's gotta give.

Tampa Bay's offensive prowess is off the charts up and down the lineup. It has four lines that can come at you at waves, and a strong, active blue line led by potential Norris Trophy finalist Viktor Hedman and Calder Trophy candidate Mikhail Sergachev.

Although Chicago allows the fourth-most shots per game (34.0), it actually hasn't been bad at preventing goals — a large reason for that is Corey Crawford. 

The Lightning rank first in goals per game (3.95) and first in power play percentage (28.0) while the Blackhawks rank sixth in goals against per game (2.65) and four in penalty kill percentage (84.9).

Who's going to crack first?

For one writer, Hall of Fame semifinalist selection of Brian Urlacher closes a career circle

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USA TODAY

For one writer, Hall of Fame semifinalist selection of Brian Urlacher closes a career circle

The news on Tuesday wasn’t really any sort of surprise: Brian Urlacher being selected as a semifinalist for the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Some of the immediate thoughts were, however, for one writer who covered Brian from the day he was drafted on through the unpleasant end of his 13-year career as a Bear.

Good thoughts, though. Definitely good.

The first was a flashback, to a Tuesday in late August 2000 when the ninth-overall pick of the draft, who’d been anointed the starting strong-side linebacker by coach Dick Jauron on draft day, was benched.

It happened up at Halas Hall when Urlacher all of a sudden wasn’t running with the 1’s. Rosie Colvin was in Urlacher’s spot with the starters and would be for a few games into the 2000 season. I caught up with Brian before he walked, in a daze, into Halas Hall after practice and asked about what I’d just seen.

"I'm unhappy with the way I'm playing and I'm sure they are, too," Urlacher said. "I don't think I've been playing very well so that's probably the cause for it right there. I just don't have any technique. I need to work on my technique, hands and feet mostly. I've got to get those down, figure out what I'm doing. I know the defense pretty good now, just don't know how to use my hands and feet."

Urlacher, an All-American safety at New Mexico but MVP of the Senior Bowl in his first game at middle linebacker, had been starting at strong side, over the tight end, because coaches considered it a simpler position for Urlacher to master. But he was not always correctly aligned before the snap, did not use his hands against blockers effectively and occasionally led with his head on tackles. His benching cost him the chance to be the first Bears rookie linebacker since Dick Butkus to start an Opening Day.

It also was the first time in his football life that Urlacher could remember being demoted.

"It's not a good feeling," he said. "I definitely don't like getting demoted but I know why I am. I just have to get better."

Coaches understood what they were really attempting, subsequently acknowledged privately that the SLB experiment was a mistake. While the strong-side slot may have been simpler than the other two principally because of coverage duties, "we're trying to force-feed the kid an elephant," then-defensive coordinator Greg Blache said.

"So you see him gag and what do you do? You give him the Heimlich maneuver, you take some of it out of his mouth, try to chop it up into smaller pieces. He's going to devour it and be a great football player. But he wouldn't be if we choked him to death."

Urlacher didn’t choke and eventually became the starter, not outside, but at middle linebacker when Barry Minter was injured week two at Tampa Bay.

We sometimes don’t fully know the import or significance at the time we’re witnessing something. Urlacher stepping in at middle linebacker was not one of those times – you knew, watching him pick up four tackles in basically just the fourth quarter of a 41-0 blowout by the Bucs.

That was the beginning. Over the years came moments like Urlacher scooping up a Michael Vick fumble in the 2001 Atlanta game and going 90 yards with Vick giving chase but not catching him. Lots of those kinds of moments.

And then cutting to the ending, in 2013, when he and the organization came to an acrimonious parting after GM Phil Emery managed to alienate the face of the franchise both with the one-year contract offer and the way it was handled. Butkus had a nasty separation at the end of his Bears years, too, and Bill George finished his career as a Los Angeles Ram after creating the middle linebacker position as a Bear. Maybe that’s just how Bears and some of their linebackers wind up their relationships.

In any case, while there is no cheering in the pressbox, the hope here is that Brian goes into the Hall in a class with Ray Lewis in their first years of eligibility. Somehow that just seems like it all should close out for that confused kid from New Mexico who lost his first job out of college, but responded to that by becoming one of the all-time greats in his sport.