Blackhawks prove hockey is more than just a sport


Blackhawks prove hockey is more than just a sport

Truly loving a sports team isn't about wins or losses.
It's about learning to put trust in a group you have no control over, sticking by an organization no matter where they rank by the end of the season and knowing that no matter what, you can always count on them to help you let go of whatever is happening in your personal life and completely focus on what's taking place on the ice.
The 2012 Blackhawks Convention marks an anniversary for one fan who turned to the team for comfort and strength after her family was dealt an unfortunate hand.
Krista Golden lives in Ohio and is fairly new to the hockey world. Back on Feb. 20, 2011, she watched her first game as the Blackhawks faced the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Little did she know that game would have a profound impact on her life.
After watching Patrick Kane score the game-winning goal against Marc-Andre Fleury in a shootout, she was hooked on the speed, intensity and excitement of the game. But her recreational love of the game quickly became a support system when her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer right after the team was eliminated from the 2011 postseason.
"I watched the playoffs, learned more about the Blackhawks, kept up on news and watched the Convention through live streams. I know that if I had pushed all that aside and focused on the illness, I would've been a wreck mentally and emotionally. I was able to be there for my mom because I had hockey and the Blackhawks as a safe haven when I felt overwhelmed."
Throughout the weekend, players have stressed how important it is to reach out to their fans and give them experiences that will make a profound influence on their lives.
"This weekend's about the fans," Brent Seabrook said. "It nice having a chance to interact with them here. They play a huge part in our success."
And Golden proves the Blackhawks play a big part in fans' personal successes as well. Luckily her mother found out the cancer was gone in November of 2011. She will have to continue chemotherapy over the next year, but Golden's family is reluctant to have the Blackhawks to turn to as a symbolization of hope, dedication and hard work.
"I can't thank the Blackhawks enough for how they helped me through such a low time. Supporting them is the least I can do."

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night


Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: