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Random News: New Year's (Sports) Resolutions

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Random News: New Year's (Sports) Resolutions

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2010
9:14 AM

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

"The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we're afraid." Author Richard Bach

New Year's resolutions are like repetitive Facebook status updates. Usually, it's the same old narcissistic thoughts time and time again. They all just blend together after a while and they're usually megaphoned out to the world by people who you can barely tolerate in the first place:

"I'm going to lose weight next year!"

"That's it. I'm quitting smoking in 2011. Take THAT Philip Morris!"

"I am going to get more involved in the community!

"Thanks to my self-help book, I'm going to actually talk to that girl at the bus stop next year!"

It all becomes background noise after a while: more regifted bags of lies that we insist on telling ourselves (and others) year in and year out. In fact, various studies put the success rate of New Year's resolutions around 15-20. Quite frankly, I'm shocked the percentage is that high. Our national attention span is next to nil, folks. Why do we kid ourselves into thinking that major life changes can be held for a year? Heck, or a month? I mean, new-fangled exercise plans can be shot thanks to a really long day at work. Or by caving in to a gallon of Butterfinger ice cream. Or by getting that summons to appear on Maury Povich.

Anyway...

But it's always fun to play the resolution game this time of year. You can watch the weaklings fail and see how far the stronger ones go until they cave under the pressure (or laziness). I am resolving to become less selfish. And what better way to start than by making a list of resolutions...for other people! Talk about taking time to think about others, right? Here are some New Year's resolutions I would like to see in place for 2011:

The Chicago Bears: To make sure every venom-filled 2010 critic gets their gift card to Eat At Crow's.

The Chicago Cubs: To play inspiring, winning baseball-- and be lurking just off the radar at the same time. (See: 2010 model of success for Bears, Chicago)

The White Sox: 95-67, 10 games ahead of the Twins. And then hit the gas from there.

The Bulls: To finish with a three-seed (at minimum), including a major upset a few weeks later.

The Blackhawks: To give the phrase "A Happy and a Healthy" some meaning. Especially if it culminates in another scenic drive up La Salle Street in June.

Frank Caliendo (Fox): To scrap impressions of John Madden, Donald Trump, Jay Leno or David Letterman on Sunday's NFL pregame show. Stale only works with certain types of cheese.

Northwestern Football: To win a bowl game. Any bowl game.

Brett Favre: To let someone else win the "Annoying Dinner Guest Who Just Won't Leave" trophy in 2011.

Major League Baseball: To give the playoff expansion talk a rest. C'mon, MLB. Leave "Everybody Gets A Trophy" day to college football.

Speaking of which...

College Football: To make the Alaska Bowl a reality. They already have a 500,000 Boise State-esque field for Barrow's high school (The Whalers). The rest should be easy! I say, you take the two schools with the worst records and send 'em north. You wouldn't watch this? Come on. Nothing says ratings like a Gatorade shower at 40 below!

MLB Umpire Jim Joyce: To find Dr. Emmett Brown, get his DeLorean, and go back to the 9th inning of the TigersIndians game on June 2nd, 2010.

LeBron James: To find a better advisory group. And an enhanced set of earplugs.

Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission of Minnesota: To find a Home Depot gift card big enough to accommodate the purchase of a Commando Teflon Staple Gun 20,000.

Wheaton Warrenville South football: To line up a scrimmage with a mediocre college and walk away with a 35-3 victory.

Buffalo Bills WR Steve Johnson: To find gloves made by the Elmers company.

So go ahead. Make a resolution for somebody else. Its the easier, more mail-it-inny way to ring in 2011. Stock up on the Oreos and Haagen Dazs while you're at it. You deserve a breakfrom lying to yourself year in and year out.

Or something like that.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.