Blackhawks

CSN to air live coverage of the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show on October 24

CSN to air live coverage of the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show on October 24

CSN to carry LIVE announcement for every first round match-up on Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 PM CT; to also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com & IHSA.tv

Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL (October 22, 2015) -- The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football Playoff Pairing Show returns to Comcast SportsNet Chicago for its fifth season in 2015. Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the television home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, will produce the show in HD when it airs live from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. CT on Saturday, October 24

The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show, which will reveal the brackets and first round match-ups of all 256 playoff qualifiers across eight classes, can also be viewed via live interactive stream on the internet at IHSA.tv and CSNChicago.com.

"The IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show' continues to be one of the most highly-anticipated events in the state of Illinois and we couldn't be prouder to showcase two-straight hours of live, interactive coverage to our on-air and online viewers on Saturday night," said Phil Bedella, VP/GM of Comcast SportsNet Chicago.  "This show is the perfect precursor to kick off our IHSA Football season, which includes four live playoff battles, along with live coverage of all eight championship match-ups."

CSN anchor Kelly Crull returns to host the show and will be joined by a panel of experts on-set, including long-time IHSA TV announcer Dave Bernhard and Kankakee Daily Journal sportswriter and Illinois high school football bracketologist Steve Soucie. IHSA TV veteran and Rockford WTVO reporter Matt Rodewald will breakdown each class with media members from around the state, including CSN prep football expert “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the show and ask questions to be answered during the program by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #IHSAbrackets.

The program will once again feature highlights, coach interviews and media analysis from all over the state. In addition, CSN camera crews will be roaming the “Land of Lincoln” Saturday catching live reactions from school playoff pairing parties.

“This is a highly anticipated evening all over the state and CSN has helped capture the aura around it,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “CSN has taken viewers from the annual Aquin chili cookoff in Freeport to the Tri-Valley team gathering at the fire station in Downs. Communities around the state will be celebrating the accomplishments of their student-athletes and coaches on Saturday, while dreaming about playing in DeKalb on Thanksgiving weekend.”

Saturday’s show also serves as a precursor for the exciting IHSA Football Playoff action that CSN will carry throughout the 2015 postseason. CSN will air one playoff game live during each of the first four rounds of the playoffs (Oct. 31, Nov.  7, 14, 21), building up to CSN carrying the eight state championship games live on Friday and Saturday, November 27-28.

The pairings show will be distributed to Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s entire viewing territory. Viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com to find the exact channel locations in their area.

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

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AP

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

Under Center Podcast: What will we learn about the Bears against the Patriots?

On this week's Under Center podcast, JJ Stankevitz and John “Moon” Mullin look at how Bill Belichick and New England will attack Matt Nagy and the Bears on Sunday, and if Mitch Trubisky can get to the point where he can reliably lead a late-game scoring drive like Tom Brady is so good at doing.

You can listen to the whole thing here, or in the embedded player below: