Cubs

Rose missed game for 'precautionary' reasons, back in Boston?

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Rose missed game for 'precautionary' reasons, back in Boston?

CHARLOTTEDerrick Rose missed the Bulls Friday night rout over the Bobcats with a recurrence of his lower back spasms, but head coach Tom Thibodeau said it was for precautionary measures.

Rose is still the same, day-to-day, said the coach. More precautionary, just wanted to give him another day of rest and well see where he is Saturday.

Although Thibodeau said before the teams morning shootaround that Rose would attempt to warm up, afterward he said that the Eastern Conference All-Star starter spent pregame in the treatment room with team trainer Fred Tedeschi, where he watched the Bulls win.

He was in with Fred, so well just take it day by day, he said. He was just in back watching.

Roses replacement, backup C.J. Watson, admitted that he knew Thursday that he would start Friday nights game and indicated that the reigning league MVP could return for Sundays tilt against the Celtics.

I knew he wasnt going to play today. I knew that Thursday coming in because we have a big game against Boston. I mean, I already knew, Watson sheepishly acknowledged. I know hes going to try to get healthy and get back on the court with us.

As far as his approach to startingWatson recorded a well-rounded line of seven points, five assists, four steals and three reboundsthe usual backup point guard said he felt no pressure to emulate Roses unique game.

Same thing when I know hes playing. Go out there and try to be aggressive, try to change the tempo of the game and just push the ball, he said. I can only be myself. I cant be another D-Rose. I have to play my game and do what I do best.

Cubs Talk Podcast: 2017 season obituary and previewing an interesting winter for Cubs

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: 2017 season obituary and previewing an interesting winter for Cubs

In the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, Kelly Crull, Patrick Mooney and Tony Andracki close the book on the 2017 season following Theo Epstein’s press conference, looking back at what will go down as the craziest calendar year in Cubs history from last November through the team’s loss in the NLCS this October.

Moving forward, where do guys like Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora Jr., Justin Wilson and Mike Montgomery fit? Will the Cubs re-sign Wade Davis or go after another proven closer? And how worried should fans be about the offense that completely disappeared in the postseason?

Take a listen below:

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks visit Niklas Hjalmarsson, Coyotes

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes Saturday night on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Niklas Hjalmarsson's new home.

Brace yourselves, Chicago. It's going to be a weird site seeing Hjalmarsson in a different sweater other than the Blackhawks, where he spent his first 10 NHL seasons and won three Stanley Cups.

Now he serves as an alternate captain and blue-line anchor for the Coyotes, who are the only team still seeking its first win of the season. You know they'll be hungry to snap that skid, especially when there's extra motivation for a player on their team facing a bunch of old friends.

2. Connor Murphy returns to Arizona, too.

The man Hjalmarsson was traded for will also be returning to a place he called home for four years. Murphy's role with the Coyotes increased every year before he was dealt to the Blackhawks as part of a shake-up for both teams, so you know he's going to play with something to prove.

Murphy is a physical defenseman, and has laid several notable big hits this season. His former teammates surely know it, and may want to keep their heads up.

3. Patrick Kane 2.0?

Ever since he was drafted with the No. 7 overall pick in 2016, Clayton Keller has drawn comparisons to Kane. They're both undersized, offensive playmakers, possess supreme stick-handling abilities and are American-born players.

Keller got a brief taste of NHL action last year, but he's secured a full-time spot with the Coyotes this season and has been arguably their best player so far.

The 19-year-old forward paces all rookies with five goals and ranks second with seven points, and leads the Coyotes in both categories. Expect to see his name as a finalist for the Calder Trophy for the league's top rookie at the end of the season.