Blackhawks' youth exceeds expectations


Blackhawks' youth exceeds expectations

Coach Joel Quenneville made it clear what he was looking for from his young players: good, simple hockey and energy. They brought that and more.

Marcus Kruger had a critical goal at the end of the first period, and Andrew Shaw and Brandon Bollig also had noticeable evenings in the Blackhawks 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night.

Krugers goal with 29.5 seconds in the first helped alleviate an otherwise forgettable first period for the Blackhawks. It gave them momentum, and the Blackhawks carried it through the final two periods.

For Shaw, his first game back since Mondays recall from Rockford was stellar. He opened the Blackhawks scoring in the first period, tallying his sixth of the season, and brought energy to the checking line with Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell.

I thought he was excellent, Quenneville said. He was effective in a lot of ways. He had jump, he took the puck to the net and checked well off the rush defensively. He had a real purpose to his game and brought us a lot of energy.

Bollig made his NHL debut on Wednesday, coming up to help the Blackhawks fill the physical void. A big guy with a penchant for fighting, Bollig didnt disappoint, holding his own with the Maple Leafs Luke Schenn.

He did a great job, Quenneville said. He had the fight at the end of his shift, he had purpose and he had a nice chance in the second period. We wanted him to play a north-south game, and he delivered it tonight.

Theyve had, and will continue to have, their growing pains. But the young guys gave the Blackhawks a boost a few times on Wednesday night, be it with their goals, their energy or their fists.

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers. 

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

On this day in 2005: White Sox pitchers put the CG in Chicago

Mark Buehrle. Jon Garland. Freddy García. José Contreras.

The 2005 White Sox had four consecutive complete games to finish off the 2005 ALCS — Contreras took his turn in Game 5 against the Angels 13 years ago Tuesday. How special was that run of starting pitching to finish that series? Consider the following six statements:

— No team has had more than two complete games in a single postseason, let alone a postseason series, since.

— There has been a grand total of four complete games in 188 postseason games (through Monday) since the beginning of 2016.

— Those 2005 White Sox remain the only team with four complete games in a single LCS (which went to a best-of-seven format in 1985).

— They are the only team since the 1968 Tigers (in the World Series) with at least four complete games in any postseason series.

— They are the only team since the 1956 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete games in a series. (The Yankees had five in a row: Games 3 through 7.)

— They are the only team since the 1928 Yankees (in the World Series) with at least four consecutive complete-game wins in a series (Games 1 through 4).

Take a moment to look back and appreciate what Don Cooper’s troops were able to accomplish in that series. The way the game is played nowadays, we will never see it again.