Bears

Bettman addresses Final, league-wide concerns

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Bettman addresses Final, league-wide concerns

The Kings took a 1-0 lead in the series against the Devils last night in New Jersey, continuing their flawless streak on the road and maintaining their record of never falling behind in a series throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The last time the Kings made an appearance in the Final was back in 1993 when they were eliminated in Game 5 against the Montreal Canadiens. That season also marks the first year Gary Bettman began serving as NHL commissioner, so he understands and appreciates the excitement this series is bringing to the league.

But as they end of the postseason approaches, questions concerning the league's CBA situation arise. NBC Sports spoke with Bettman, asking what fans can anticipate as the league heads into the off-season.

"My hope is that we can get through this quickly, quietly, and painlessly," Bettman said. "I know there's been a lot of speculation and a lot of pessimism, but we haven't had any substantive conversations yet, so I'm not sure anyone should be rushing to conclusions yet.

"I think it's better for them to enjoy what's going to happen in the next few days and weeks here between the Kings and the Devils."

The NHL has cracked down on on-ice antics as well as gear protection, and although we've seen top players in the league suffer long-sustained injuries this season, it seems like there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"For the first time in three years, the number of concussions went down... and that's in the face of us being much more aggressive in diagnosing concussions and much more conservative in their treatment."

After seeing how Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, and even Jonathan Toews were affected by concussions, it's hard to believe that the issue is being resolved. But after seeing suspensions such as Raffi Torres' 25-game ban, it's apparent that the league is being stricter on reprimanding illegal play.

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

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USA Today

Ryan Pace calls Bears' offseason 'aggressive' and 'energizing'

The Chicago Bears won the offseason. At least, that's what the national opinion seems to suggest.

General manager Ryan Pace may not have read all the news clippings, but he offered his thoughts on the job he and the front office accomplished since January 1.

"It's been aggressive, a lot of work has been done, very exciting and energizing," he said at Bears training camp from the campus of Olivet Nazarene University Thursday. "There's a lot of new pieces and it's really neat to see the assets come together."

Pace and his team certainly did do a lot of work. The Bears made headlines in free agency with the signings of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton, three players expected to provide a huge boost to the Bears' passing game.

In addition to what he did on offense, Pace exercised his option with the transition tag placed on Kyle Fuller and matched the Packers' offer for the ascending cornerback. It was a big-money deal that showed players in the locker room he's willing to reward hard work and effort. It also showed the fans that he wasn't going to let the Packers steal a homegrown talent.

It didn't stop there. Pace strengthened the defense even more with the selection of linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round of April's NFL Draft and gave the offense yet another weapon in the second round when he traded up to select Anthony Miller, a receiver who could challenge for a starting job as a rookie.

Yeah, it's been an aggressive few months.

And let's not forget the biggest change of all: Matt Nagy.

Pace's tenure as Chicago's GM will likely be defined by the last few months. He invested in his hand-picked quarterback and made his first "real" coaching hire after a few years of experience on the job. He'll sink or swim with those two decisions. He knows it, and he went all-in this offseason.

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

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USA Today

Matt Nagy says Allen Robinson is mentally and physically ready for training camp

The toughest part of any comeback from injury in sports is the mental aspect. Players have to build trust in their body again in order to eliminate thought from their movements.

In the case of Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson, he has to regain confidence in his left knee after tearing his ACL in last year's season opener.

According to coach Matt Nagy, Robinson is ready.

Nagy, who met with the media at Bears training camp Thursday in Bourbonnais, told reporters that Robinson is mentally and physically ready to go. The biggest issue for Robins, Nagy said, is building chemistry with quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Robinson is more than 10 months removed from his ACL tear, an injury that generally takes less time than that to recover. He participated in some on-field work during minicamp sessions this offseason in an effort to build that confidence.

Robinson will look to regain the 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown form he displayed in 2015, a year in which he was arguably the top young receiver in the NFL. 

"For us, he can play multiple positions," Nagy said. "We want him and Mitch to work on timing."

They'll start working on that timing Friday when the Bears kick off their first training camp practice.