Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Ballparks get a thumbs down

Word on the Street: Ballparks get a thumbs down

Friday, Sept. 23, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Health violations at Wrigley Field and U.S. Cellular

The Cubs and White Sox didnt have a very successful season, and neither did their concession stands. Health inspectors at both stadiums discovered dozens of violations from incorrect storage temperatures to mold and hygienic issues. Teams officials say they will work with the vendors to get their standards back up to par in preparation for next season. (ChicagoTribune)

Ontario fan throws banana at Simmonds

In what is being described by the NHL as a stupid and ignorant racist act, at least one fan in Ontario threw a banana at Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds in last nights shootout against the Red Wings. Simmonds still managed to score the Flyers' only shootout goal despite being rattled by the incident.

Simmonds is going about the problem in a classy manner, shaking off the issue and dealing with any racism quietly. (ProHockeyTalk)

Buehrle pitching in the NL?

Impending free agent Mark Buehrle has discussed his uncertainty concerning a future with the White Sox and mentioned a desire to pitch for the National League. A Missouri native, Buehrle has gotten the attention of his hometown Cardinals. The Cards appear set for starters in 2012, but it is thought they may find space if the opportunity presents itself. (HardballTalk)

Thome will get a statue

During a touching pregame tribute, the Cleveland Indians unveiled plans to erect a bronze statue of Thome, the team's career home run leader, beyond the wall in center field. The post will be classic Thome, pointing his bat toward the pitcher. An emotional Thome was genuinely surprised and moved by the gesture. It appears likely Thome will retire following the season, and even if he chooses to play, likely won't be back with the Indians, who acquired him from the Minnesota Twins after the July 31 trade deadline. (yahoo.com)

Modanos officially retired

Mike Modano officially announced his retirement in a press conference this afternoon. A ceremony took place, highlighting Modanos best career moments and transformation to an NHL elite two-way center.

The Stars presented Modano with a one-day contract where he wore the number 9 one last time. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, thanking him for a great 21 years. (ProHockeyTalk)

Kobe gets offer from Italy

Kobe Bryant has a big decision to make. Virtus Bologna contacted the Lakers agent last night, offering 4 different contract options to play in Italy. Bryants received a 6.7 million offer, along with one-month, two-month, and per-game options equaling out to nearly 800,000 per game.

There is an NBA out clause in case differences are settled before his contract would end. Now itll just depend on money, location, and injury risks for Kobe. (ProBasketballTalk)

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks hit road to face Blue Jackets

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. One big reunion.

The Blackhawks will square off with the Blue Jackets for the first time since Oct. 7, which was the second game of the season. In that game, they won 5-1 led by Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, each of whom scored a goal and added an assist.

Of course, that was the first game since the offseason trade that sent Artemi Panarin to Columbus and Saad back to Chicago, along with Anton Forsberg. Artem Anisimov, of course, was part of the original deal that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015, so there are a lot of emotional ties between the two teams.

Forsberg didn't get a chance to face the Blue Jackets in the first meeting, but there's a chance he will this time with it being the second of a back-to-back and Jean-Francois Berube getting the start in Friday's 3-1 win over San Jose.

2. Panarin and Kane bromance.

The emotions of a difficult break-up have probably died down by now, but Panarin and Kane gave us this moment at center ice during pregame warmups in their first game against each other and it hit Chicago right in the feels:

Panarin has spent enough time apart from Kane for people to realize how big of a star he is in his own right, leading the Blue Jackets in all three scoring categories: goals (17), assists (32) and points (49).

He hasn't gone more than three games this season without recording a point, and is looking to extend his point streak to four games, which would tie a season high.

3. Struggling Blue Jackets special teams.

The Blue Jackets got off to a great start but are barely clinging onto a wild card spot going into Saturday's game, and a big reason for that slide is their lack of success on special teams. Usually one can pick up the slack for the other, but they've been brutal in both departments.

The Blue Jackets are 0-for-9 on the power play in their past five games and are ranked 31st overall, converting on only 14.1 percent of their opportunities. They also have own the 27th-ranked penalty kill with a 76.3 percent success rate.

So if there's an area the Blackhawks can exploit, it's that. But, you know, still be mindful of that Russian winger's one-timer from the faceoff circle.

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

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USA TODAY

Jean-Francois Berube impressed in his first Blackhawks start

Jean-Francois Berube got his first start of the season on Friday night, and it couldn't have gone any better.

The 26-year-old goaltender stopped 42 of 43 shots, a career-high for him in saves, in the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks at the United Center.

Since Corey Crawford went down with a head injury last December, the Blackhawks have been searching for consistency in the crease. 

The pair of Anton Forsberg and Jeff Glass — who was assigned to Rockford on Feb. 15 and replaced with Berube — have had their ups and downs since then. With the Blackhawks out of the playoff picture, Berube had an opportunity showcase his skills, and he didn't disappoint.

"We were very happy with him," said coach Joel Quenneville. "I thought he did a great job. He was comfortable. I thought he was very patient in his net. Absorbing a lot of pucks with people in front of him was good. Closed some gaps and got … of the top of the paint. Rebound control was effective. Nice response from a long absence."

Berube's last — and only — appearance with the Blackhawks prior to Friday's game came on Dec. 6, relieving Forsberg in a game against the Washington Capitals. He recorded 12 saves of 14 shots. 

When Crawford got injured, Berube was the primary candidate to become the team's backup goaltender. The only problem? He was injured too, so the Blackhawks promoted Glass.

"I didn't want to sit and think about it," Berube said of his injury. "At the same time, it was great for Glasser. He was one of those guys that probably deserved it earlier in his career and he finally got his chance. Sometimes you need a guy to go down to have your chance. So I was mostly happy for him.

On Friday night, he got his chance.

"You always want to have a good impression for your first game," Berube said. "I know what I can do at this level, so it was just a matter of getting the opportunity to play and showing people what I can do."

Celebrating his 22nd birthday, Nick Schmaltz also had a goal and an assist. Artem Anisimov scored an empty-netter.

"It's a lot more fun coming to the rink when you're winning, enjoying each other, playing well as a team," Schmaltz said of the Blackhawks' win, which have now won three of their last four games. "Hopefully we can keep that good energy and bring it to the rink every day, and build off of that.

"You never know where this team can go, a lot of great players, lots of guys that have had a lot of success. Hopefully we can continue to put together solid efforts."