Bears

Word on the Street: Attendance woes at Wrigley?

Word on the Street: Attendance woes at Wrigley?

Friday, April 29, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cubs offer incentives to combat low attendance

Is the attendance at Wrigley Field that dismal? Apparently so, as the Chicago Cubs are offering a few incentives to lure more fans to the bleacher section.

The team announced a weekday promotion that will start for the May 10 game against the St. Louis Cardinals. Select beer will only cost 3, and starting May 11, hot dogs will cost just 1 every Wednesday. Beginning May 30, bleacher-goers will receive a T-shirt for Monday games.

The promotions are limited to fans with bleacher tickets. (Chicago Tribune)
Hinrich 'doubtful' for Hawks-Bulls series

Citing a "significant" right hamstring strain, Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich has benn listed as doubtful for Atlanta's second-round playoff series against Chicago. An MRI exam revealed the strain.

Hinrich was injured late in the fourth quarter of Thursday's victory over the Orlando Magic, which clinched the East quarterfinal series for Atlanta.

The injury could prevent Hinrich from playing in much of the Eastern Conference semifinal matchup against the Bulls. (The Sports Network)

Psychic sports writer?

You would think correctly picking the most selections of the NLF draft would equate you to a psychic, or just really smart.

The Dallas Morning News' football writer is definitely that smart.

Rick Gosselin nailed 14 of the 32 picks (including eight of the first nine selections) in Thursday's first round of the NFL draft. His mock draft bested that of all of his sports writing peers. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Daley makes wager on Bulls-Hawks series

Chicago Mayer Richard Daley is willing to wager some of Chicago's landmark food items. Daley is betting Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Chicago's famous pizza, hot dogs, and ribs that the Bulls will beat the Hawks in the upcoming Eastern Conference semifinals.

Daley's package also includes cupcakes, Italian beef and a three-foot-long sub sandwich. (AP)

Beckham's wardrobe malfunction?

The Beckhams attended the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Princess Catherine at Westminster Abbey. The wedding went off without a hitch, but that wasn't the same story for David's outfit.

He wore his Order of the British Empire medal on the wrong lapel.

A news critic said "perhaps David set a historic trend today." (Off the Bench)

Yankees donate 500,000 for tornado relief

The New York Yankees have donated 500,000 to the relief efforts for the destructive tornadoes that struck the South. Sending 250,000 to the American Red Cross and 250,000 to the Salvation Army, Yankees general partner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal said that the team wanted to help rebuild the communities that were devastated by this week's deadly storms.

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson grew up in one of the hardest-hit areas, Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP)

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Low

Decisions to be made on: Christian Jones (free agent), John Timu (free agent), Jonathan Anderson (free agent); Jerrell Freeman has reportedly been cut

Possible free agent targets: Demario Davis, Preston Brown, Anthony Hitchens, Avery Williamson, Navorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson

How the Bears rate Nick Kwiatkoski will be the key to figuring out what this unit will look like in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio thought Kwiatkoski finished last season strong, but strong enough to rely on him in 2018 as the starter next to Danny Trevathan?

The thing with the Bears’ inside linebackers, though: Trevathan makes whoever is playing next to him better. The problem is Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay on the field — he missed time in 2017 with a calf injury and a one-game suspension, and missed half of 2016 after rupturing his Achilles’. Trevathan hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, so durability is an issue for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

So that leads to this question: Do the Bears need to find someone in free agency, regardless of how they value Kwiatkoski, who’s also missed time due to injuries in his first two years in the league?

Free agency could provide a few options. Demario Davis had a career high 97 tackles for the New York Jets last year and has never missed a game as a pro. Preston Brown had some decent production in Buffalo and also hasn’t missed a game since being drafted in 2014. Avery Williamson may not be a world-beater but has only missed one game in his four years in the NFL.

The Bears could also opt for someone who fits more of a rotational mold, like Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens, or try to lure a veteran linebacker like Navorro Bowman (who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco) or Derrick Johnson (who Matt Nagy knows from his Kansas City days) to play next to Trevathan and/or Kwiatkoski.

The Bears could opt to keep the status quo and re-sign Christian Jones and John Timu for depth, and enter 2018 with Kwiatkoski and Trevathan as the team’s starters (Jerrell Freeman, who suffered a season-ending injury and then was hit with his second PED suspension in as many years, was cut on Tuesday). Signing a starting-caliber free agent isn’t out of the question, either, but there is a third option for the Bears if they appear to stand pat in free agency: Draft an inside linebacker in April. If that’s the route they go, Georgia’s Roquan Smith could be the guy. But again, those more pressing needs at other positions could mean the Bears don’t burn a first-round pick on an inside linebacker.

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

2-21_senators_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?