Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

Word on the Street: Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cubs miss out on Gonzalez

A day after multiple reports linked the Cubs as one of the top teams chasing after All Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox are looking to be the victors of the sweepstakes for the slugger's services. On Saturday, the Padres agreed in principle to trade Gonzalez to Boston for a few high-caliber prospects. Gonzalez was reportedly in Beantown Saturday for a physical. The trade is not official yet, but sources indicate it could be complete by the time the winter meetings start on Monday. (Chicago Tribune)

Cardinals acquire Berkman

The St. Louis Cardinals, the Cubs' most hated division rival, improved their lineup Saturday by signing free agent Lance Berkman to a one-year deal. The veteran has spent much of the past couple of years as a first basemandesignated hitter, but is returning to his initial position of outfield for St. Louis, as one of the game's best (Albert Pujols) plays 1B for the Cardinals.

Berkman will play left field next season and spell Pujols at first. He is a career .296 hitter with 327 home runs and 1,099 RBIs in 1,629 games. (USAToday)

Crawford back in the net for Blackhawks Sunday

After a one-game reprieve, goalie Corey Crawford is slated to head back into the starting lineup for the Chicago Blackhawks when they take on the Calgary Flames Sunday evening. Crawford is in the midst of a four-game winnings streak, but coach Joel Quenneville went with Marty Turco in the net Friday night, a game the Hawks lost 3-0. (CSNChicago.com)

Medical examiner investigates death at Soldier Field
Last Sunday, the Bears pulled off a big victory over the high-flying Philadelphia Eagles, but there was more than just celebration going on at Soldier Field. There was also mourning for 23-year-old Stuart Haverty, a Woodstock resident who fell to his death at the stadium during the game.

The Cook County medical examiner's office investigated the incident and ruled it to be accidental. Haverty also was found to have been killed after sustaining multiple injuries in the fall, according to the report. (New York Injury News)

Will Illinois football be left out to dry?
Following an uninspired 25-23 loss to Fresno State Friday night, the 6-6 University of Illinois football team may miss out on the Texas Bowl. Northwestern is 7-5, but Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune still feels the Illini are the better choice for the Dec. 29 bowl game. (Chicago Tribune)

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

2-24_blue-jackets_matchup_nhl_chi_blank.jpg
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

2-23_berube_schmaltz_usat.jpg
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."