Blackhawks

Charles Barkley picks up dinner tab for Lightning staff in Chicago

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Charles Barkley picks up dinner tab for Lightning staff in Chicago

Last year, Charles Barkley sported a Patrick Kane jersey while cheering on the Blackhawks at the United Center in Game 7 of the Western Conference Final with colleague Michael Wilbon and bought fans drinks at Chicago Cut restaurant following the loss.

This year, the TNT basketball analyst is on the other side.

Barkley hooked up Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper and his coaching staff and front office — a party of roughly 20 — at the same restaurant by picking up their tab on Sunday ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]

The NBA Hall of Famer met Cooper on a road trip last year, and the two quickly became close friends.

Here's how Sunday's outing went down, according to Chicago Cut managing partner David Flom, via the Chicago Tribune.

“Cooper called him and asked where they should eat and Charles told him ‘For sure go to Chicago Cut.’ Charles called me yesterday to make the reservation. He picked up the check for them.”

How nice of him.

But the real question is: Which team will he be buying drinks for after this year's Stanley Cup Final?

Check out what Kap & Haugh had to say about it in the video above.

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson gets standing ovation from United Center crowd in Chicago return

Niklas Hjalmarsson played for the Blackhawks for 10 years and won three Stanley Cups with the team so his return to the United Center was a big deal.

The defenseman, now with the Arizona Coyotes, made his return to Chicago in Thursday's game. The Blackhawks had a tribute video for him during the game and the crowd gave him a standing ovation after the video.

He was teary-eyed after getting the warm reception.

Hjalmarsson was traded by the Blackhawks to the Coyotes for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin after the 2016-17 season. He played against the Blackhawks on Oct. 21 and again on Feb. 12 last season, but both games were in Arizona.

Injuries limited Hjalmarsson to 48 games last season and he missed Arizona's only trip to the United Center last season, which came in December.

Watch the video above to see Hjalmarsson's tribute and reaction.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Corey Crawford is BACK, are the Bulls legitimate playoff contenders?

Mark Lazerus and Hub Arkush join David Kaplan on the panel.

The guys discuss Corey Crawford’s return and what it means for the team’s playoff chances.

Khalil Mack misses practice again. The guys debate if it would be better to leave him out vs. the Patriots.

The latest on the MLB playoffs with controversy in Houston and gamesmanship by the Brewers.

Will Perdue and Kendall Gill join the panel to discuss Kris Dunn’s absence from the opener and the team’s playoff chances this season.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below.

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