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Blackhawks hockey returns to Comcast SportsNet!

Blackhawks hockey returns to Comcast SportsNet!

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS HOCKEY RETURNS TO COMCAST SPORTSNET

FIRST REGULAR SEASON game telecast on Jan. 20 at Phoenix; HOME OPENER on Jan. 22 vs. St. Louis;
Plus Live PrePost-Game Shows all season long and comprehensive nightly coverage on SportsNet Central, Highlight 2013 Schedule

CSNChicago.com to feature 247 reporting from Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers; website to also feature live video of Post-Game Press Conferences, the brand new Blackhawks Pulse Social Media Center, Daily PlayerCoaches Interviews, Game Highlights, plus - On-Air Talent Blogs, In-Game Twitter updates from CSN talent, Live Chats, Live interactive Scoreboard and more!

Chicago, IL (January 16, 2013) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, is once again ready to deliver another thrill-packed season of NHL excitement with 39 live regular season Blackhawks games (21 home, 18 away), including in-depth pre-game and post-game shows, extensive nightly coverage on SportsNet Central and the most thorough 247 online Blackhawks coverage to date on CSNChicago.com!

The 2013 Chicago Blackhawks regular season on Comcast SportsNet gets underway on Sunday, January 20 as NHL All-Stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, along with standouts Dave Bolland, Corey Crawford and the rest of the 13 season squad face-off against last seasons 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals opponent -- the Phoenix Coyotes -- live from the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, AZ.

Comcast SportsNets expanded season opener coverage on Jan. 20 gets underway at 7:30 PM with an encore edition of Inside Look presented by Cadillac featuring Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, which will be followed by an encore edition of the Blackhawks Season Preview Special at 8:00 PM. Then, the season premiere of Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live sets up the big night at 8:30 PM featuring hosts Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd. Face-off is set for 9:00 PM featuring the always-entertaining Blackhawks announcing tandem of Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk calling the game action. Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live immediately follows the game highlighted by Coach Quennevilles post-game press conference, along with live locker room player interviews, full highlights and complete post-game analysis.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet will also be carrying the Blackhawks HOME OPENER on Tuesday, January 22 vs. St. Louis for a 7:30 PM face-off. Opening night coverage -- LIVE from the United Center -- gets underway at 5:30 PM with Chicago Tribune Live presented by Smirnoff (hosted by David Kaplan), which will be followed by Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live, also live from the UC. Jose Cuervo Post Game Live immediately follows the game highlighted by Coach Qs post-game press conference (to also be streamed on CSNChicago.com after this and every Blackhawks home game telecast this season).

Fans can also look forward to a thorough look ahead to the upcoming BlackhawksNHL season on the Chicago Blackhawks Season Preview Special airing Thursday, January 17 at 9:00 PM (to be replayed as noted earlier on Sun, Jan. 20 at 8:00 PM). Hosted by Boyle & Konroyd, the season preview special will feature numerous interviews with Blackhawks playerscoachesfront office execs, along with an extensive preview of the upcoming season with a focus on the NHLs Western Conference.

This seasons Blackhawks regular season schedule on Comcast SportsNet features all 39 games against Western Conference foes, 14 of which are against Central Division opponents. Among the additional highlights to this years Blackhawks schedule on Comcast SportsNet include a pair of games against the division rival Detroit Red Wings (Jan. 27 & Apr. 12), three match-ups against the conference rival Vancouver Canucks (Feb. 1, Feb. 19 & Apr. 22), along with a home ice battle against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings (Mar. 25). (See attached sheet for Comcast SportsNets complete 2013 regular season Blackhawks schedule).

For the fifth-straight season, Blackhawks play-by-play legend Pat Foley and former Blackhawks starUSA Hockey Hall of FamerChicago hockey icon Eddie Olczyk (handling color analysis) will be the featured announcing tandem all season long. SportsNet Centrals Susannah Collins will be the primary on-site reporter for Blackhawks home game telecasts this season. Also, for the eighth-straight year, former Blackhawks defenseman Steve Konroyd will be the featured studio analyst on Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live and Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live joining new Blackhawks studio host Pat Boyle (via Twitter @CSNBoyle).

As previously mentioned, surrounding game coverage this season includes Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live, a half-hour pre-game show featuring a breakdown of the evenings match-up, interviews with coaches and players and a look at the other games around the NHL. Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live will air prior to all Blackhawks games starting at 7:00 PM or later on weekdays and prior to every weekend game telecast. (NOTE: For weekday games beginning at 6:00 PM, Comcast SportsNet will have extensive Blackhawks pre-game coverage in Chicago Tribune Live presented by Smirnoff). CTL will also be the place to hear from numerous BlackhawksNHL experts all season long.

Immediately following Comcast SportsNet Blackhawks game telecasts, viewers can look forward to the most comprehensive post-game wrap-up show on Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live featuring live coverage of head coach Joel Quennevilles post-game press conferences, along with locker room interviews with Blackhawks players. Following the majority of Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live airings, viewers can catch GMC SportsNet Central 10:00 & 10:30 PM andor the midnight edition of SportsNet Central presented by CLR with the most complete recap of the days top local and national sports news.

Three regular season Blackhawks games are currently scheduled to be telecast on Comcast SportsNet Plus this season (see attached schedule). Comcast SportsNet Plus (CSN) telecasts are provided to Comcast SportsNet affiliates and distributed to viewers when two live events are scheduled simultaneously. Comcast Cable and RCN subscribers can watch all CSN games on CLTV. Cable and satellite operators who do not carry CLTV will place CSN telecasts on a to-be-determined channel. Viewers can visit CSNChicago.com for the exact channel location of Comcast SportsNet, CSN, Comcast SportsNet HD and CSN HD telecasts in their area.

From an online perspective, Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, delivers comprehensive 247 Blackhawks coverage all season long, including the following highlights:

Live stream of Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville's post-game press conferences following EVERY home game telecast.
Video highlights from every Blackhawks game, including in-game highlights after each period. Pre-game interviews from morning skates will also be provided, as well as extensive post-game reaction from the locker room and analysis from the Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live team.
Blackhawks Pulse presented by AT&T U-Verse, a brand new, one-stop social media hub that reveals the latest trending topics and player buzz from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Plus, Blackhawks Pulse aggregates all Blackhawks player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag HawksTalk.
Blackhawks In-Game Live, a second screen platform for PCs, tablets and mobile devices that combines state-of-the-art infographics, data visualization of real-time statistics and game info with rich social interactivity tied to CSN Chicagos live game broadcasts.
Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers returns for her third season on the beat. Follow her on Twitter @TramyersCSN for the latest teamplayer news and inside access 247.
Nina Falcone joins CSN Chicago to serve as Blackhawks digital reporter and producer. Falcone will provide Blackhawks and NHL reportsfeatures on the beat with Myers. Follow @HawksTalkCSN on Twitter for full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and game day news straight from the United Center.
Susannah Collins, CSN Chicagos Blackhawks television reporter providing pre-game and post-game coverage from the arena, will also contribute digital content and videos for CSNChicago.com throughout the season. Follow her on Twitter @SusannahCollins
CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBlackhawks.com will collaborate in content creation and distribution throughout the regular season to provide fans in-depth player interviews and features plus behind-the-scenes access to everything going on and off-the-ice within the Blackhawks organization.

COMCAST SPORTSNET CHICAGO
2013 Chicago Blackhawks Schedule

Regular Season:
1. Sun, Jan 20 @ Phoenix 9:00 pm
2. Tue, Jan 22 vs. St. Louis 7:30 pm
3. Thu, Jan 24 @ Dallas 7:30 pm
4. Sat, Jan 26 @ Columbus 6:00 pm
5. Sun, Jan 27 vs. Detroit 6:00 pm
6. Fri, Feb 1 @ Vancouver 9:00 pm CSN
7. Sat, Feb 2 @ Calgary 9:00 pm
8. Tue, Feb 5 @ San Jose 9:30 pm
9. Thu, Feb 7 @ Phoenix 8:00 pm
10. Sun, Feb 10 @ Nashville 7:00 pm
11. Tue, Feb 12 vs. Anaheim 7:30 pm
12. Fri, Feb 15 vs. San Jose 7:30 pm
13. Tue, Feb 19 vs. Vancouver 7:30 pm
14. Fri, Feb 22 vs. San Jose 7:30 pm
15. Sun, Feb 24 vs. Columbus 6:00 pm
16. Mon, Feb 25 vs. Edmonton 7:30 pm
17. Thu, Feb 28 @ St. Louis 7:00 pm
18. Fri, Mar 1 vs. Columbus 7:30 pm
19. Tue, Mar 5 vs. Minnesota 7:30 pm
20. Fri, Mar 8 @ Colorado 8:00 pm CSN
21. Sun, Mar 10 vs. Edmonton 6:00 pm
22. Thu, Mar 14 @ Columbus 6:00 pm
23. Sat, Mar 16 @ Dallas 7:00 pm
24. Mon, Mar 18 @ Colorado 8:00 pm
25. Wed, Mar 20 @ Anaheim 9:00 pm
26. Mon, Mar 25 vs. Los Angeles 7:00 pm
27. Tue, Mar 26 vs. Calgary 7:30 pm
28. Fri, Mar 29 vs. Anaheim 7:30 pm
29. Mon, Apr 1 vs. Nashville 7:30 pm
30. Thu, Apr 4 vs. St. Louis 7:30 pm
31. Sat, Apr 6 @ Nashville 2:00 pm
32. Sun, Apr 7 vs. Nashville 6:00 pm
33. Tue, Apr 9 @ Minnesota 7:00 pm CSN
34. Fri, Apr 12 vs. Detroit 7:30 pm
35. Mon, Apr 15 vs. Dallas 7:00 pm
36. Fri, Apr 19 vs. Nashville 7:30 pm
37. Mon, Apr 22 @ Vancouver 9:00 pm
38. Wed, Apr 24 @ Edmonton 8:30 pm
39. Fri, Apr 26 vs. Calgary 7:30 pm

39 Regular Season Games (21 Home, 18 Road)
All Times Central Time Schedule Subject to Change

Better for it? The Bears’ Week 1 loss to Green Bay proved two critical things about 2018

Better for it? The Bears’ Week 1 loss to Green Bay proved two critical things about 2018

Going back and reading some of the quotes said by Bears players and Matt Nagy in the immediate aftermath of their gutting season-opening loss to the Green Bay Packers is enlightening, now that we’re three months and 12 games removed from it. 

Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd said “we have a bunch of guys that want to win.” Offensive lineman Kyle Long said “I thought the coaches did a great job.” Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said “We played together, we played as a team.” 

And coach Matt Nagy said his team did not, and would not, point any fingers in the aftermath of blowing a 20-point lead in front of a national audience. 

The point here being: This was a team that had an idea of how good it could be, even if it didn’t collectively show it over the final 15 minutes of a 24-23 loss at Lambeau Field. The Bears aren’t out for revenge with the Packers coming to Soldier Field on Sunday — yes, that Week 1 loss has stuck with them, but moreso as part of this team’s push to finish out games. Perhaps the best payback is where the two teams are in the standings: The Bears cannot be passed by the Packers in the NFC North, and with a win on Sunday would not only clinch the division but effectively eliminate Green Bay from the playoffs. 

“We’ve been watching the cut-ups, and it’s like 20-0 in the third and I’m just thinking, like, man, how did we lose this game?” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “But yeah, … I don’t think we see most of this game as a redemption game, but we definitely do remember it and we know what’s at stake and are just trying to get to win No. 10.”

Still, that Week 1 loss proved two things to the Bears that have been critical factors in their success in 2018:

1. An eye-opening experience

Khalil Mack had been with the Bears for all of one week before he debuted for his new team at Lambeau Field. Players knew how good he was from the highlights he made with the Oakland Raiders, and he made an immediate impression from the first practice rep he took. 

But there was something different about actually going out and playing with him in Green Bay. Mack was a terror, coming up with a sack-strip-fumble recovery all in one play and getting a pick-six while consistently pressuring Aaron Rodgers and DeShone Kizer in the first half. 

“The man came in, he absolutely changed the whole face of that game and our defense, we carried that momentum,” inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “Like, we got some dogs now, let’s go. 

“… Just to be out there, you got a different sense of it. Like, it’s really real when you’re out there. Bullets flying, you get to see what type of player you really have and I know we had a great player.”

The addition of Mack has been the biggest single factor in the Bears’ jump from being a top-10 defense in 2017 to being the NFL’s best defense in 2018 (anyone who wants to challenge that statement — go watch the tape from the Rams game). This was a defense bursting with confidence before the acquisition of Mack, but his pass-rushing presence has had a massive impact on the rest of this team. 

Opposing quarterbacks frequently are out of rhythm because of the threat of Mack getting to them, allowing guys like Kyle Fuller and Eddie Jackson to feel emboldened to be more aggressive. The Bears don’t have the best ballhawking secondary in the league solely because of Mack, but he’s been a significant help in this team having 25 interceptions after three consecutive years with only eight. 

“I don’t want to say he put us on the map because our defense was already there, but he just brought a whole new dynamic to our team,” Amukamara said. “Another (guy with) playmaking ability, and bringing that momentum and that adrenaline was something we could build off of.”

The Bears believed they could have a great defense in 2018, but the addition of Mack has taken it a step further: Vic Fangio’s group is building toward one of the best defensive seasons ever. And Mack proved that lofty of a goal would be possible with what he showed in Green Bay. 

2. Belief in their coach

Players grew to believe in and trust Nagy from their first team meeting in early April until their last practice before the regular season, so there was already a foundation in place when that 20-point advantage dissipated in the face of a sluggish offense and a classic Rodgers comeback. 

But how Nagy approached such a brutal defeat in the visiting locker room at Lambeau Field only furthered his players’ belief and trust in him. 

“Coach Nagy was very optimistic and he was saying, like, hey this one’s going to hurt but he was proud that we fought and he liked how we started and that we just needed to finish,” Amukamara said. “That’s huge. As a player after you let one slip by you, you don’t want to get beat down even more, so the fact that he was encouraged, I think that really lifted our spirits up and we got to see how he reacted after a game like that.”

That his message resonated so positively with players on both sides of the ball is remarkable given the circumstances: A first-time head coach with an offensive background blowing a 20-point lead to a historic rival, on the road, in primetime, when this franchise hasn’t had any success against said historic rival in a long time. 

But Nagy emerged from those circumstances with an even stronger reputation in the Bears’ locker room. Three months, nine “Club Dubs” and several postgame “booms” later, the Bears’ respect of Nagy is abundantly clear. 

“He’s our identity,” Trevathan said. “Whatever he says is our identity — we feel that way, but he says it. When he says it, it’s like dang, he really feels the same way we feel, he’s really on our side, that’s our coach, man. 

“… That’s just the type of coach Nagy is. He’s a different type of coach. It’s his first year, but it doesn’t look like it. It feels like he’s been with the team for a (while). He’s out there with his identity, he’s taking care of us and the team is just playing toward his attitude.”

Winter Meetings wrap: The White Sox pursuit of Bryce Harper is for real and all part of the rebuilding plan

Winter Meetings wrap: The White Sox pursuit of Bryce Harper is for real and all part of the rebuilding plan

LAS VEGAS — The White Sox were the talk of the Winter Meetings.

Imagine that a year ago. Heck, imagine that a couple months ago.

They’re coming off a 100-loss season, not expected to contend for a playoff spot in 2019 and remain in the thick of their rebuilding effort. But that hasn’t stopped the White Sox from being uber aggressive this winter. It hasn’t stopped them from trying to sign not just a free agent but the free agent, Bryce Harper, to a monstrous contract that could be the biggest baseball has ever seen.

But here’s the biggest thing worth learning about the White Sox right now: This is all part of the plan.

"We're excited to be discussing impactful moves for the long term,” general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday, the final day of these Winter Meetings. “We've made no secret, it's been a tough couple years on everyone associated with the White Sox, an understandably tough couple of years given what we're trying to accomplish for the long term. And it's good to have a seat at the table on some large, impactful moves.

“Now it doesn't necessarily mean that anything's going to come together. We still have a fair amount of work to do, and even if we are able to convert on something big, there's still going to be work behind it over the coming years to get us where we need to be."

A quick glance at the situation, at the win-loss record might make it seem like the White Sox have lost interest in rebuilding, that they’ve decided to completely flip the script in one winter by backing a dump truck full of money up to Harper’s driveway here in Vegas and saying, “Come make us a winner right now because we are sick of losing.”

But that’s not what’s happening.

Is there frustration over a combined 195 losses in the last two seasons? You betcha. But the courtship of Harper — and that of his fellow mega free agent, Manny Machado — isn’t an act of desperation. It’s a step in this process that Rick Hahn and his front office began at these Winter Meetings two years ago, when they traded Chris Sale and Adam Eaton for the first of many highly touted prospects.

While those prospects have always been the foundation and the majority of the roster of the future, there were always going to be “finishing pieces,” as Hahn calls them, players that would have to be brought in from outside the organization to vault the White Sox from rebuilders to contenders. And those pieces were always going to have to fit with the long-term plan, with the bright future, with all those prospects.

Harper and Machado are exactly that, even though the timeline might be a bit wonky. Either 26-year-old superstar would provide a centerpiece for the young talent to grow up around, and all combined, the plan is they would develop into the perennial championship contender this process was designed to create.

Why now, though? Well, it comes down to opportunity. Harper and Machado won’t be free agents next winter. This is when the White Sox have the opportunity to get one of them, and they’re trying to take advantage. Does it mean they’ll be a playoff team next year? No, probably not. But the pitch is that over the course of what could be a decade-long contract, there will be multiple playoff appearances and a chance to win multiple championships alongside Eloy Jimenez, Michael Kopech, Dylan Cease, Luis Robert and plenty of others.

If the rebuilding process is a years-long to-do list, one of the items is bringing in a player like this — or trying to, at the very least.

It still might seem surprising, but jumping into the Harper and Machado derbies with both feet does nothing to take the White Sox off the track they set for themselves two years ago.

“It’s good that there’s excitement,” Hahn said. “At the same time, we are taking an approach where we will remain consistent with what our vision has been for this team for the long term. If something or somethings come together in the coming weeks that reinforce that long-term vision, you know we will act on it.”

But it’s equally important to remember that the White Sox rebuild does not hinge on the decision of Harper or Machado. Harper could wind up in Philadelphia, Machado could wind up in New York, and the White Sox bright future won’t be dimmed. Jimenez could wind up being just as impactful when he arrives early on in the 2019 campaign. And then there’s another loaded free-agent class next winter. And there’s the possibility of trading from a position of prospect strength for an elite talent.

The pitch seems to be working.

Obviously, money is going to play a huge factor and the financial flexibility the rebuild has created might end up making a bigger difference than the attraction of playing alongside this collection of young players for the next 10 years.

But the White Sox are in this position because of what they’ve done over the last two years. In cultivating a bright future and positioning themselves financially, they’ve become a team that is, at the very least, worth considering as a destination for baseball’s best players. That’s great news for White Sox fans who keep up to date with all the latest rumors. It’s even better news for the White Sox, no matter how this Harper sweepstakes turns out.

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