Cubs

Sick bay Bears health better for Seattle; Seahawks hurting

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Sick bay Bears health better for Seattle; Seahawks hurting

The ominous injury count after last Sundays win over Minnesota was down to all Bears except receiverreturner Devin Hester and guard Chris Spencer at least possible for Sundays game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery (knee) did not practice but was up to doubtful from last weeks out, although not expected to play against Seattle.
With Earl Bennett already starting over Hester at receiver and Eric Weems moved up to No. 1 returner, Spencer represents the one starter out of the lineup. Jeffery had moved into the starting lineup earlier this season but has missed time with two injuries to slip back into a reserve role.
Lance Briggs, Kellen Davis, Matt Forte and Charles Tillman, all finishing the Vikings game with ankle injuries, went through a full practice and are listed as probable. Also in that group are defensive tackle Stephen Paea and guard Edwin Williams, both with shoulder injuries.
The Seahawks listed nickel cornerback Marcus Trufant as doubtful after he was down with a hamstring injury after Thursdays practice. Wide receiver Sidney Rice came down with a calf injury on Friday and is questionable.
Defensive tackle Red Bryant (foot) and linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle, both starters, are questionable.

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.