When Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman went to Minnesota for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, he made some very noticeable moves on that first night. Forward Troy Brouwer was dealt. So was defenseman Brian Campbell.They were shakeups that jolted a roster and cleared cap space, although the final results didn't lead to the Blackhawks going on a long playoff run in 2011-12.So now it's Pittsburgh, and the 2012 draft. It could be another draft featuring big trades and moves; and if the right deal is there for the Blackhawks, Bowman said he'll do what's necessary to execute it."If there are deals to be made, we're not hesitant to do that," Bowman said on a conference call Tuesday. "But it has to be a right fit. There have been a lot of discussions the last couple of weeks, and there will be even more heading into this Friday. But it's not an objective to make a certain number of moves."Still, there are some free agents out there that will be highly coveted and high priced. Names like Zach Parise, Ryan Suter are among them. So is Jordan Staal, but Pittsburgh general manager Ray Shero told the Post-Gazette today he wants to re-sign his young center. Bowman wouldn't talk about specific players but said if it improves the Blackhawks, he'll explore that avenue."When dealing with the free-agent market you're dealing with other teams, and the terms and money amounts go pretty high. But that's not necessarily a deterrent," Bowman said. "It may lead to other moves made to accommodate that, but that's not a bad thing either because you're dealing from a position of strength."The Blackhawks made their bold moves at the 2011 draft, but they didn't translate into immediate success. Yes, the Blackhawks acquired forward Phillip Danault with the pick they got from the Brouwer deal. And they relieved a lot of cap space when moving Campbell to Florida. But the two players they got for Campbell haven't panned out Rostislav Olesz is in the minors and goaltender Alex Salak was officially released on Monday. And attempts to bolster the Blackhawks' depth at defense in Campbell's wake didn't work out so well.As for the 2012-13 roster, it's just about full. They have re-signed several players recently, including Jamal Mayers, Johnny Oduya, Ben Smith, Brandon Bollig and Carter Hutton. While other teams definitely need to fill holes, Bowman said, "we know for the most part where our roster's going to be, with some minor tweaks here and there."So the Blackhawks could either go with this roster, with some tweaking, or make some moves that could mean getting a big free agent but parting with some salary (and even picks) to do it.The Blackhawks aren't happy with two first-round playoff losses. They still have that Stanley Cup victory fresh in their minds and want to have that taste again soon.Whatever transpires, it could start Friday in Pittsburgh.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.