Bears

Word on the Street: Sox claim Joaquin

Word on the Street: Sox claim Joaquin

Monday, Nov. 22, 2010
CSNChicago.com
Sox claim Joaquin
The White Sox claimed relief pitcher Waldis Joaquin off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Monday. Joaquin, 23, made only four appearances after making the Giants opening day roster in 2010, racking up a hefty 9.64 ERA. He spent the rest of the season in Triple-A Fresno, where he had a 1-2 record with a 4.93 ERA in 23 appearances.

Joaquin's fastball has been clocked at 97 mph. His addition brings the Sox's 40-man roster to 35. (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Eagles CB Hobbs to miss game vs. Bears

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Ellis Hobbs will miss at least 1 week with a disc injury to his neck. Hobbs suffered the injury on Sunday night in the Eagles 27-17 win over the Giants. Hobbs was down on the field for 11 minutes after suffering the injury before coming off the field.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he did not know the severity of the injury, only that he would not be available to play next Sunday against the Bears. (Washington Post)
Gibson misses second straight practice

Bulls forward Taj Gibson missed his second straight practice on Monday, and said that he will visit a foot specialist. Gibson said he suffered a pinched nerve in his right foot warming up for practice.

"Ididn't turn my ankle or anything," Gibson said. "It was the nerve on the side of my foot. It was tingling. I'm just hoping it's nothing serious. We don't know about (Tuesday against the Lakers)." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Votto wins NL MVP

Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was named the National League MVP on Monday. Led by Votto, the Reds made their first playoff appearance since 1995. That was also the last year that a Red, Barry Larkin, won an MVP award. Votto received 31 of 32 first place votes, nearly sweeping the voting. Pujols, who came in second in voting, received the other first place vote.

When I found out I won the N.L. M.V.P., I thought I must have snuck it in there, said Votto, I didnt think it would be so conclusive. (New York Times)

Tinoisamoa expected to return vs. Eagles

Bears linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is expected to be back this Sunday when the Bears and Eagles square off at Soldier Field. Tinoisamoa missed last Thursday's game against Miami due to a knee injury. His return will send Nick Roach back to the bench. (Rotoworld)

SI ranks Bears No. 9

Sports Illustrated, who ranked the Bears 29th in their preseason rankings, ranked the team No. 9 in this week's power rankings. The Bears' Thursday night domination of the Miami Dolphins helped spring the Bears into the top 10, up five spots from last week's rankings. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

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

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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?