Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Putz headed to Arizona

Word on the Street: Putz headed to Arizona

Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Putz headed to Arizona

J.J. Putz provided a veteran presence to the White Sox' bullpen last season, but this year, he is reportedly taking his talents to Arizona to pitch for the Diamondbacks. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com tweeted out Monday evening that Putz signed a two-year deal with the Diamondbacks with a club option, pending a physical. (Twitter.comKen Rosenthal)
Cubs inquire about Loney

The Cubs have reportedly inquired about Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed first baseman James Loney. Loney, who will be 27 next season, is coming off the worst year of his young career. He hit .267 with 10 home runs and 88 RBIs in 2010. His career batting average is .288 with a .348 OBP and .436 SLG. (LA Times)

Reinsdorf planning informal talk with Konerko

White Sox board chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said he would talk with the agent for Paul Konerko on Monday morning, but only informally and that assistant general manager Rick Hahn would take over negotiations.

Konerko made 12 million last season and finished fifth in American League MVP voting, which would likely get him a raise. Rumors have him ultimately settling for about 13 million for each of two or three years.

Hahn is the chief negotiator when it comes to contracts for the Sox. In fact, a last-minute phone call kept A. J. Pierzynski from signing last week with another team, presumably the Dodgers. A creative deal quickly was worked out to bring back Pierzynski, one paying him 2 million next season and 6 million in 2012.

That could help free up the money to sign Konerko, something that could happen this week at the winter meetings," (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Kane injury 'not real serious.'

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane will probably "be out for a little bit," according to coach Joel Quenneville, after sustaining what appeared to be a left-leg injury early in Sunday night's game against the Calgary Flames.

Quenneville wouldn't put a definitive amount of time on how long Kane would be out, other than to say he'd be out for "a bit" and that the injury was "not real serious," (CSNChicago.com).

Notre Dame will meet Miami in Sun Bowl

Notre Dame and Miami have accepted invitations to meet in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 31, giving the game a marquee matchup between two teams with plenty of history.

Both teams will take 7-5 records into the 77th annual game.

The game will mark the 24th meeting between the schools, but the first since 1990. It was announced in July that the schools were renewing their spirited and often fierce regular-season series with three games beginning in 2012 at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Notre Dame leads the all-time series 15-7-1, though the two schools have never met in a bowl, (Associated Press).

Gillick elected to Hall of Fame

Pat Gillick, whose teams won three World Series, was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era committee Monday at baseball's winter meetings.

Gillick was general manager of the Blue Jays, Orioles, Mariners and Phillies, besides being in the front offices with the Astros and Yankees, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Five takeaways from Blackhawks' overtime loss to Lightning: Missed opportunities and one too many penalties

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night:
 
1. One too many penalties.

The Blackhawks flirted with danger in the first period when they handed the Lightning three straight continuous power plays, a four-minute double minor high-sticking penalty from John Hayden and a Jonathan Toews hooking call that resulted in a 5-on-3 opportunity for Tampa Bay for 43 seconds. 

The penalty kill unit that ranked fourth in the league entering the matchup, however, killed off all three of those penalties against the NHL's top-ranked power play, and did so in commanding fashion.

The Blackhawks went 5-for-5 on the penalty kill in regulation, but couldn't stop the sixth one — a questionable slashing call on Nick Schmaltz —  in overtime when Brayden Point buried the winner on a 4-on-3 opportunity.

It was also interesting that Jon Cooper elected to go with four forwards (Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov, Point and Steven Stamkos) and zero defensemen during that man advantage, putting all of his offensive weapons out on the ice. It's something more teams should do in that situation.

2. Patrick Kane gets going.

After scoring just one goal in his previous 10 games, Kane found the back of the net twice in the opening frame against Tampa Bay and stayed hot against a team he historically plays well against. And he nearly netted a hat trick in overtime but couldn't cash in on a breakaway opportunity.

Kane has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 14 career regular-season games against the Lightning, and extended his point streak to five games. He has three goals and four assists over that stretch.

We wrote about how important it is for the Blackhawks' superstars to get going again with the offensive contributions mainly coming from role players as of late, and Kane getting into a groove is a perfect step in that direction.

3. How about that goaltending battle?

Corey Crawford and Andrei Vasilevskiy showed us exactly why they belong in the Vezina Trophy discussion, and as of this moment, it's hard not to include both of them as finalists. They put on a goaltending clinic, seemingly topping the other as the game went on.

The two teams combined for 71 scoring chances, and Crawford and Vasilevskiy came up big when their teams need them the most.

Crawford finished with 35 saves on 38 shots (.921 save percentage) in the loss while Vasilevskiy stopped 29 of 31 (.935 save percentage), and improved to 15-2-1 on the season. 

4. Missed opportunities.

You couldn't have asked for a better start for the Blackhawks. They scored the first goal 3:49 into the game and the second on the power play at 15:54, killed off three penalties, including a 5-on-3, had 24 shot attempts (13 on goal) compared to the Lightning's 16 attempts (11 on goal) and led in even-strength scoring chances 9-6.

It was a different story the rest of the way.

The Blackhawks took their foot off the gas pedal a bit and let the Lightning back in the game by getting away from what they do best, and that's control the puck. Obviously, you expected the league's best offense to push back and it's certainly not an easy task to keep them off the scoresheet all together. 

But the Blackhawks had their chances to stay in front or retake the lead and just couldn't bury them. Tampa Bay had 50 shot attempts from the second period on while the Blackhawks had only 32, and finished with 44 scoring chances compared to Chicago's 27.

5. Richard Panik in the doghouse?

Joel Quenneville didn't go to his line blender in this one, but he did shorten some leashes. Panik, most notably, had a season-low 12:28 of ice time in the loss and had 15 shifts, which was second-fewest only to Ryan Hartman (13) on the team.

Panik had a prime chance to break a 2-2 tie in the third period but was denied by Vasilevskiy, who made a remarkable left-pad save. Instead, Panik extended his goal drought to 12 games and didn't get a shift in overtime.

He's certainly better and will get his scoring chances when playing on the top line with Toews and Brandon Saad, but the missed opportunities are magnified in tight losses. It doesn't look like a move down in the lineup is coming given the success of Alex DeBrincat, who gives the Blackhawks an offensive weapon on the third line, but perhaps it should be considered.

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

Bring your own stuffing: Jazz swat Bulls on Thanksgiving Eve

On the second (turkey) leg of a back-to-back, the Bulls didn't bring much energy in a 110-80 loss to the Utah Jazz. 

Instead of diving into the nitty-gritty of the uninspiring effort, though, we decided to just serve you up a Thanksgiving meal of highlights. Here are the top blocks from Wednesday's game: 

5. Derrick Favors is no Rudy Gobert -- that we know -- but imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

4. Are Bobby Portis chase down blocks the new LeBron James chase down blocks? Let's not get carried away... yet. We'll chalk it up to just a real nice hustle play by Bobby. 

3 and 2. Speaking of hustle plays... Jonas Jerebko isn't exactly known as a dominant defender. He sure made it hard for the Bulls on what should of been an easy fast-break bucket in the third quarter, though. First, he silenced Kris Dunn's reverse. Then, he met Lauri Markkanen at the rim and sent the rookie packing. The Baby Bulls 2.0 can blame it on fatigue, but they just handed Jerebko a highlight tape for years to come.   

1. In fairness, Jerian Grant had to get up a shot as the quarter was coming to a close. It is as vicious as it looks, though.