Blackhawks

CSN & CSNChicago.com to provide daily coverage of Bears Training Camp '12

CSN & CSNChicago.com to provide daily coverage of Bears Training Camp '12

COMCAST SPORTSNET & CSNCHICAGO.COM TO PROVIDE DAILY COVERAGE OF BEARS TRAINING CAMP 12

Coverage begins Tuesday, July 24 with Phil Emery & Lovie Smiths LIVE press conferences beginning at 2:30 PM

Kip Lewis to file daily reports from Bourbonnais for SportsNet Central and Chicago Tribune Live;
CSNChicago.coms Bears Insider John Moon Mullin to provide daily online & on-air updates and up-to-the-minute video reports

Chicago, IL (July 23, 2012) -- Comcast SportsNet, the television home for Bears Post Game Live presented by Illinois Back Institute, will provide viewers with comprehensive on-air and online coverage of Chicago Bears Training Camp 2012 with daily reports on SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse at 6:30 PM, GMC SportsNet Central at 10:00 & 10:30 PM and the midnight edition of SportsNet Central, along with reports on the networks signature weeknight sports talk show, Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan (Monday-Friday at 5:30 PM) with host David Kaplan.

On Tuesday, July 24, Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com will deliver LIVE coverage of General Manager Phil Emery (2:30 PM) and Head Coach Lovie Smiths (3:00 PM) training camp opening press conferences.

Every day throughout the duration of training camp, SportsNet Centrals Bears beat reporter Kip Lewis and CSNChicago.coms Bears Insider John Moon Mullin will be providing viewers with the very latest training camp video highlights, breaking news, playerscoaches interviews, injury updates and more from Bears camp in Bourbonnais, IL for both SportsNet Central and Chicago Tribune Live.

In addition, CSNChicago.com also has Bears training camp covered 247 from a daily online perspective with the very latest breaking news updates, roster moves, free agent signings, interviews and much more at CSNChicago.coms Bears team page (csnchicago.compagesbears). CSN Chicago digital will produce a daily Bears Talk show hosted by Lewis and Mullin -- offering detailed, position-by-position player analysis, as well as features from former Bears quarterbackCSN Bears Post Game Live analyst Jim Miller and Bowens Breakdown featuring former NFL safety Matt Bowen.

Fans can also look forward to up-to-the-minute breaking news Twitter updates from Mullin @CSNMoonMullin, Lewis @KipLewisCSN, Miller (@15Miller) and Bowen (@MattBowen41), along with the networks main Twitter handle @CSNChicago and Bears Talk handle (@BearsTalkCSN) for feed of Bears news articles and features.

Plus, CSN Chicago digital producers Jake Flannigan and Scott Krinch (@BearsTalkCSN) will provide live blogging coverage via Bears Talk on CSNChicago.com including real-time news stories, player interviews, behind-the-scenes photos, fan interviews, videos and live Tweets. CSNChicago.com Bears Training Camp content will featured on NBCSports.com, ProFootballTalk.com and NBCChicago.com and through partnerships with the Chicago Tribune, Bleacher Report and SB Nation.

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

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USA TODAY

Do the Blackhawks have room to sign John Tavares?

The NHL Draft is over. Farm systems have been restocked and now the focus has shifted to free agency, where the fun is just beginning.

The biggest fish on the market is John Tavares, a franchise-changing center in the heart of his prime. For a little bit, it seemed like the loyal New York Islanders captain was ready to move on after they took another step back by missing the playoffs for the second consecutive season.

But then Lou Lamiorello became available and was snatched up by Long Island. His first order of business was relieving GM Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight of their duties, the first real sign that significant changes were coming. The next was securing Barry Trotz as head coach after he couldn't agree to terms on an extension with the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals.

For the first time in a while, there appears to be structure in the front office and coaching staff.

Yet, Tavares has remained committed to visiting with reportedly five teams in Los Angeles during the free agent negotiating window that opened Sunday. And he's absolutely earned that right. San Jose and Toronto are believed to be two of the teams. The rest is unclear.

When asked by NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle at the end of the draft on Saturday, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman wouldn't confirm nor deny that they were one of the teams scheduled to meet with Tavares.

"I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, right?" Bowman said with a smile.

Whether or not they are, could the Blackhawks realistically even make it work?

They actually have the cap space to do it. Or at least they can make room without shuffling too many cards.

As of Sunday, the Blackhawks have $9.225 million in open cap space to fill out six roster spots. If you can find a trade partner for Marian Hossa's contract, that creates an extra $5.275 million, which brings the total up to $14.5 million. That's without subtracting any real bodies from the roster. 

Tavares is likely to command in the $10 million range for average annual value over the next seven years, and the latter part is key. While it would certainly be challenging to have three players eating up at least $10 million each in cap space — with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews at $10.5 million — they could make it work in the short term.

But signing Tavares to a seven-year deal would probably get in the way of the Blackhawks' longer-term goals, which includes re-signing Alex DeBrincat and Nick Schmaltz when their entry-level deals expire and even Vinnie Hinostroza when his new two-year contract ends.

Are the Blackhawks willing to risk that?

For Tavares, maybe. But Toews is 30, Kane is 29 and Tavares will be 28 by the time this upcoming season starts. At some point, an infusion of youth would be required to remain competitive for the long term.

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 31st homer in 1998

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's 18th homer of June and 31st of the season came off the Tigers in the Cubs' brief 2-game Interleague series in Detroit. 

Sosa connected in the first inning off Tigers starter Seth Greisinger, going back-to-back with Mickey Morandini. 

The Cubs wound up getting out to a 5-0 start in the game but still lost 7-6 on a Gabe Alvarez single in the bottom of the 11th.

The aforementioned Morandini homer was only the 3rd of the season for the Cubs second baseman. He finished with 8 homers on the year and 224 total bases on 172 hits in what was a very good offensive season. Yet it paled in comparison to Sosa, who had nearly 200 more total bases (416) and a slugging percentage nearly 200 points above Morandini's (.647 to .471), a testament to how truly incredible Sosa's season was.

Fun fact: Tony Clark was the Tigers' cleanup hitter that day. Clark is now the head of the MLB Players Union.

Fun fact No. 2: Paul Bako was the Detroit catcher in the game. He later became the Cubs backup catcher in 2003 and 2004, when he posted a .611 OPS in 119 games over the two years.