Cubs

Shaw ready to accept any punishment that NHL hands down

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Shaw ready to accept any punishment that NHL hands down

Andrew Shaw will accept whatever punishment he receives -- if any -- for his hit on Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith, and the Blackhawks were working their revamped lines again as they prepared for Game 3 against the Coyotes.

Shaw has his hearing this afternoon with Brendan Shanahan for the hit on Smith, which led to Shaw getting a five-minute charging and a game misconduct. Smith finished the game and deemed himself fine, 100 percent afterward.

Ive thought about (what Ill say) but theyve probably made the decision by now and Ill respect the outcome, Shaw said after practice Monday. I watched (the replay), Im upset that I made contact. I tried to get out of the way. Its just that last minute his head coming forward it looked bad.

Coach Joel Quenneville said the Blackhawks will adjust, if need be, after the decision comes down.

(Smith) was fine after the game, he played (the rest of) the game, and I dont think there was any intent, he said. You could see (Shaws) focus was on the puck. He wasnt even looking at the guy.

If the Blackhawks lose Shaw for a game or two, it would hurt them some. The rookie has brought great energy to the teams checking line, and has been part of their power play. But teammates say getting kicked out of Game 2 was punishment enough.

I dont think the intent was there at all. The effort to get out of the way and to avoid the head contact was enough, their goaltenders healthy, hes fine and he played well the rest of the game. Thats the main thing, captain Jonathan Toews said. You know its going to get ugly sometimes; (playoffs) are intense and bad things will happen. As long as were playing clean and hard thats all we can ask. I think penalty we received there was fair enough.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks went with the lines they finished with in Game 2, with Patrick Kane centering Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa and Toews centering Patrick Sharp and Viktor Stalberg. The lines brought more balance for the Blackhawks and more familiarity for Kane, whos centered with Brunette and Hossa plenty this season.

Steve Montador also skated on his own this morning prior to the Blackhawks practice.

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

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USA TODAY

Is Joe Maddon covering for Wade Davis? Where do Cubs go from here?

Is Cubs manager Joe Maddon taking the heat and covering for Wade Davis while the All-Star closer deals with atypical soreness in his right arm?

“No, no,” Maddon said Tuesday when asked if Davis felt anything unusual that lingered into the National League Championship Series after last week’s all-out effort eliminated the Washington Nationals from the divisional round.

The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 2-0 lead in this best-of-seven bullpen battle without Davis throwing a single pitch, the backlash from Cubs fans, Twitter and the national media again putting Maddon on the defensive, the year after he got second-guessed for pushing Aroldis Chapman so hard during the World Series.

This NLCS truly is a bizarro world, with Maddon comparing the Buster Posey Rule to the Chicago soda tax, getting so little benefit of the doubt – the Cubs really did beat the Cleveland Indians in Game 7 – and working the baseball term “dry-hump” into one answer during Monday’s Wrigley Field press conference.

Maddon said he would have to check first with Davis – who would have almost five full days in between relief appearances – if the Cubs need a four- or five-out save in Game 3.

“Nevertheless, I always check,” Maddon said. “I can’t just assume that.”

Maddon’s Game 2 calculus on Sunday night at Dodger Stadium – sticking with lefty reliever Brian Duensing in a 1-1 game to start the ninth inning and then bringing in John Lackey to serve up the walk-off, three-run homer to Justin Turner – made you wonder if Davis was still dragging after ending Washington’s season and traveling on the overnight cross-country flight that got diverted to New Mexico for about five hours when Jose Quintana’s wife experienced a panic attack.

“I think he just got mentally exhausted,” Maddon said. “Physically, 44 pitches, he hasn’t done that in a while. But also the seven outs and what it meant and the plane ride itself, sitting on the tarmac, there was a lot of non-rest going on right there, so it was harder to recover.

“So, no, he was fine for the last game, but we set up the parameters before the game.”

Maddon is sticking with his story, that he would only deploy Davis in a save situation and not use him for one out against Turner (1.115 career postseason OPS) or have him totally warm up without the guarantee of getting him into the game.

“To put Wade in that position would be wrong on my part,” Maddon said. “We had already talked about the circumstances, so my loyalty there lies with Wade, or my decision-making lies with Wade, nobody else.

“That was a heavy day for him (in Washington). Going into the last game in L.A., like I talked about, we talked about one inning only, and not to get up and not put him in the game.

“If you get him up and sit him down, then you have no idea what it’s going to look like. My responsibility is to him, also, and to the players, so I told him that before the game, so I had to stick with our decision.”

Before finalizing the Jorge Soler trade at the winter meetings, the Kansas City Royals took the unusual step of allowing the Cubs to meet with Davis at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley and go through a physical exam. The Cubs wanted reassurances after Davis spent parts of last season on the disabled list with a forearm strain and a flexor strain.

The Cubs wondered if “dry-humping” had contributed to those injuries, and tried to stay conservative with Davis during his free-agent year, watching him convert his first 32 save chances and using him for three-plus outs only three times during the regular season, all in mid-to-late September.

“If you look at the numbers this year, I thought going into the playoffs his usage has been really good,” Maddon said. “Minimal, in a sense. We didn’t get him up hardly at all where we didn’t utilize him.

“He just wasn’t set up for it the other day. So honestly, I think he’s in really good shape right now, actually. I don’t think he could have gone those seven outs the other day if he had been overly dried up during the course of the season. He felt good. But that was above and beyond, and that wasn’t part of the game plan the other night.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist shares his leadoff approach

Sports Talk Live is on location at the Brickhouse Tavern at Wrigley Field to get you set for Game 3 of the NLCS. David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Jesse Rogers (ESPNChicago.com) and Bob Nightengale (USA Today) join Kap on the panel. 

Plus, Ben Zobrist and Curtis Granderson drop by to talk about the big matchup.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here: