Bears

No change for Toews

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No change for Toews

Coach Joel Quenneville was giving the latest update on Jonathan Toews, which has been a familiar one in recent days: no skating, no change.

Its frustrating news for Toews and the Blackhawks, for sure, but not all that surprising. Because when it comes to concussions and the ensuing recovery from them, the only thing that is certain is their uncertainty.

Hes a hockey player and he wants to play, Quenneville said of Toews, who skated four straight days last week but has now been off the ice the last four days. The process, Im sure in his mind, is not a fun thing to be dealing with. You want to be optimistic; there was that stretch there where he was getting close. Theres hope, and thats where were at.

And thats all Toews and the Blackhawks can do with the injury right now. This isnt a timetable deal; youre not waiting for a bone to mend, a muscle to loosen up. A concussion, and how they affect each player, is unpredictable. Brent Seabrook has had at least three concussions and has missed just a few games combined. Dave Bolland suffered one last season and missed a month. Toews is coming up on a month out of the lineup; his last game was Feb. 19.

Bolland said he still thinks about his.

Its always in the back of your head, he said. Mind was pretty bad. You still get little things in the back of your head, if you get hit a certain way. Youre always thinking of it and hopefully it doesnt happen again.

Toews is probably a frustrated man right now. He was feeling good heading into last week, even eyeing the Blackhawks game against the Blues last Tuesday as his comeback date. Now his activity has quieted again. Unfortunately, its the nature of this beast. Its not about setting a timetable. Its about taking all the time you need to get healthy.

Im sure hes frustrated and Im sure he wants to be back on the ice, Patrick Kane said. Just talking to him, it seems like every next game he keeps saying he wants to come back. Thats his fighting spirit. Well make do without him here and when he comes back, well be a better team.

Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record

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USA TODAY

Unfinished Bears job a 'bitter pill' for John Fox, but the legacy lies beyond just the W-L record

When John Fox succeeded Marc Trestman in 2015, neither he nor the Bears were looking at the situation and Fox as any sort of “bridge” hire – a de facto interim coach tasked with winning, but just as importantly, developing and getting a team turned around and headed in a right direction.

The heart of the matter is always winning, but in the overall, the mission statement also includes leaving the place better than you found it. Fox did that, which is very clearly the sentiment upstairs at Halas Hall as the Bears move on from Fox to Matt Nagy.

“It would’ve been nice to see it through,” Fox said to NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s kind of a bitter pill but you sort things out and move forward.

“I do think it’s closer than people think. We inherited a mess... but I felt we were on the brink at the end. I think that [Halas Hall] building is definitely different; they feel it. I do think that it was a positive.”

(Fox is probably not done coaching at some point, but that’s for another time, another story, and anyway, it’s his tale to tell when he feels like it. Or doesn’t.)

One measure of the Bears change effected: Virtually the entire Trestman staff, with the exceptions of receivers coach Mike Groh and linebackers coach Clint Hurtt, was jettisoned along with Trestman. By contrast, Nagy has retained not only virtually the entire Fox defensive staff under coordinator Vic Fangio, but also arguably the single most important non-coordinator offensive coach by virtue of position responsibility – Dave Ragone, the hands-on mentor of quarterback Mitch Trubisky.

Obvious but extremely difficult decisions are coming, as to shedding personnel and contracts – Josh Sitton, Pernell McPhee, Willie Young being among the most difficult because of tangible intangibles that no organization wants to lose.

“Bridge” results

Fox was never intended as a bridge coach but the results point to that function having been served. To exactly what end remains to play out under Nagy and the quarterback whom Ragone and Fox’s handling began developing.

Rick Renteria was one of those “bridge” guys for the Cubs, intended to be part of pulling out of or at least arresting the slide into the Mike Quade-Dale Sveum abyss, and leaving something for Joe Maddon. The late Vince Lombardi effectively served as that, at age 56 and for an unforeseen one-year for a Washington Redskins organization that’d gone 13 years without a winning season before Lombardi’s 1969 and needed a radical reversal. The culture change was realized over the next decade under George Allen and Jack Pardee, much of the success coming with the same players with whom Washington had languished before the culture change.

The Bears were in that state after the two years of Trestman and the three years of GM Phil Emery, certain of whose character-lite veteran player acquisitions (Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall) and high-character launchings (Brian Urlacher) had left a palpable pall over Halas Hall. A Fox goal was to eradicate that, which insiders in Lake Forest say privately was accomplished even amid the catastrophic crush of three straight seasons of 10 or more losses, and with injuries at historic levels.

What happens next is in the hands of Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, after a third John Fox franchise turnaround failed to materialize. Or did it? Because much of the core, from Trubisky through the defensive makeover, came on Fox’s watch, like him or not.

“You wish some things would’ve happened differently obviously,” Fox said, “but there was a lot positive that happened.”

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

Blackhawks ban four ejected fans from future home games

The Blackhawks have banned the four fans — who were ejected from Saturday's game against the Washington Capitals for their racist remarks towards Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly — from future home games.

On Monday, a Blackhawks spokesperson released this statement:

We have contacted the select individuals involved in the incident on Saturday to notify them that they are no longer welcome at our home games. Racist comments and other inappropriate behavior are not tolerated by the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks also wanted to remind fans that they can alert security at the United Center by texting the following to 69050: UCASSIST <SPACE> followed by the seating section, row and a brief description of the issue.