Blackhawks

CSN kicks off its extensive on-air/online coverage of the 2015-16 Illinois High School season

CSN kicks off its extensive on-air/online coverage of the 2015-16 Illinois High School season

Season premiere of “High School Lites” (hosted by Kelly Crull) to debut Friday, August 28 at 11:00 PM CT

Homewood-Flossmoor -- last season’s Class 8A runner-up & pre-season ranked #1 in the state this year by CSN’s Preps Power Rankings -- to be the featured team this season on “DRIVE” 

“Edgy” Tim O’Halloran and Scott Phillips return for their third season as CSN’s local preps sports experts

Fans are urged to follow the brand new @CSNDrive Twitter handle for the latest Homewood-Flossmoor scores, analysis and photos, along with 24/7 state-wide IHSA updates via @CSNPreps 

CSN to once again televise 59 IHSA Championship events this scholastic year (over 160 hours total),

including LIVE coverage of all eight Football Championships & four additional playoff games, plus LIVE coverage of 32 Boys/Girls Basketball Championship games

Chicago, IL (August 12, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Championships, is ready to bring its viewers another action-packed season of expert local preps sports coverage, featuring many of the very best student-athletes in the nation.

Now in its second year of its long-term partnership with the IHSA, Comcast SportsNet will once again carry a total of 59 IHSA Championship events this scholastic year (over 160 hours total), including LIVE coverage of all eight Football Championships & four additional playoff games, plus LIVE coverage of 32 Boys/Girls Basketball Championship games, which includes every semifinal, consolation and championship match-up, plus - 15 additional IHSA Championship events, including boys/girls soccer, girls volleyball, individual wrestling & competitive dance/cheer competitions among others. Note the following highlights/details for the upcoming IHSA preps season on Comcast SportsNet & CSNChicago.com:

HIGH SCHOOL LITES (Season premiere – Friday, August 28 at 11:00 PM CT)

Hosted by SportsNet Central anchor/reporter Kelly Crull, High School Lites will be THE weekly destination for all the thrilling highlights from the area’s biggest preps match-ups, along with post-game interviews featuring the area’s top coaches and players. In addition to in-depth video highlights and interviews, High School Lites will present its “Athlete of the Week” and “Team of the Week” features, a preview of key Saturday match-ups, along with a special flashback segment detailing great moments from games of the past.

Beginning this season, High School Lites will offer fans the chance to get interactive with the show by sending in highlights from local preps games they’re attending. Fans are encouraged to shoot video “horizontally” with their smart phones and then tweet out the video utilizing the Twitter hashtag #CSNWhatAGame. In addition, fans will also be given the opportunity to request the game that they wish to be featured on High School Lites by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #CSNPreps. The game that receives the most fan requests each week will be chosen as one of the games to be featured on the show.

NOTES: Every airing of High School Lites will also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com…the show shifts to Saturday nights in November to accommodate IHSA Football playoff match-ups…beginning Friday, December 4, High School Lites shifts its key focus to preps basketball.

DRIVE

In every weekly airing of High School Lites this season, preps fans can look forward to a brand new season of its acclaimed, behind-the-scenes, unprecedented all-access feature series entitled, “DRIVE.” This fall’s featured team will be the Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings, who were last year’s Class 8A runner-up and enter this season ranked #1 in the Chicago area by CSN’s Preps Power Rankings. H-F head coach Craig Buzea’s team features twin superstar running backs in brothers Deante and Devonte Harley-Hampton, along with standout wide receiver Kendrick Pryor, guard Desmond Bland, and quarterback Bryce Gray. NOTE: Every episode of “DRIVE” will be made available for viewing on CSNChicago.com immediately following its on-air debut.

“EDGY” TIM O’HALLORAN & SCOTT PHILLIPS

Veteran Illinois high school football sports writer/recruiting authority “Edgy” Tim O’Halloran (@EDGYTIM) returns for his third season as a contributing reporter for High School Lites. O’Halloran’s CSN Preps Power Rankings (@CSNPreps), players & coaches profiles and recruiting updates can be found at CSNChicago.com.  In addition, O’Halloran’s content is also featured on CSNChicago.com’s partner site, Rivals.com. Scott Phillips (@phillipshoops) also returns for his third season as a contributing reporter for High School Lites and will take center stage this upcoming basketball season. Phillips is also a key contributor to NBCSports.com’s “CollegeBasketballTalk.”

IHSA FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PAIRING SHOW

For the fourth-straight year, Comcast SportsNet and the IHSA will present the IHSA Football Playoff Pairing Show LIVE on Saturday, October 24 at 8:00 PM. Brackets will be unveiled as 256 Illinois teams, from 1A to 8A, will find out their first round opponent. This two-hour show will also be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and IHSA.tv.

IHSA FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

For the fifth-straight year, Comcast SportsNet will carry the IHSA Football State Championships during Thanksgiving weekend LIVE from Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, IL. The Class 1A-4A games will take place on Friday, November 27, while the Class 5A-8A contests will be held on Saturday, November 28. Exact times/channel locations will be announced in early November.

CSNCHICAGO.COM

Fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com’s dedicated Preps section (csnchicago.com/preps) for the latest Preps Power Rankings, Athlete/Team of the Week video features, the latest IHSA news, game highlights and recaps, special mid-week segments previewing the upcoming week’s action from the network’s “AT&T U-verse Lounge,” featuring detailed analytical breakdowns from “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran and Scott Phillips, and much more.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Beginning this season, social media fans can follow the network’s new @CSNDrive Twitter handle for the latest Homewood-Flossmoor scores, highlights, players & coaches interviews, and analysis. CSNChicago.com digital reporters Scott Changnon (@ScottyChag) and Mark Strotman (@markstrot) will provide up-to-the-minute Vikings news all season long, plus – H-F fans can follow the school’s football Twitter handle (@HF_Football), along with the school’s dedicated football website (hffootball.com). In addition, @CSNPreps will provide fans with the latest statewide updates throughout the scholastic year, which will include Power Rankings, scores, analysis, and viewer/reader Twitter photos from game day.

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”  

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis didn't go all scorched earth on the Cubs in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, but he had quite a lot to say after being ousted by the organization after just one year as the hitting coach.

The Cubs made Davis the scapegoat for an offense that faded down the stretch, struggling for the entire second half and scoring just 1 run in three of the final four games of the year.

When he was hired a year ago, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon talked up Davis' impressive resume that includes a 19-year MLB career, two separate stints as a successful hitting coach with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox and a philosophy that they hoped would withstand the test of time in the game today, preaching more contact and using the opposite field.

Throughout the 2018 season, Maddon often commended Davis for his ability to communicate with players, particularly in the area of mental approach to each at-bat.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on his firing, Davis felt he had some issues getting through to some Cubs players.

I learned a lot this year," Davis told the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I'll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn't connect with. It wasn't that I didn't try; it just wasn't there.

The Cubs hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach Monday afternoon. Iapoce comes over from the Rangers and has a direct link to John Mallee, who was the Cubs' hitting coach for three seasons before being let go when Davis became available last winter. 

Iapoce also spent three seasons with the Cubs as a special assistant to the GM, overseeing the organization's minor-league hitting from 2013-15. Presumably, he found a way over those years to connect with the Cubs' top young hitting prospects — guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras that are now leading the big-league lineup.

Hopefully he has better success at this than I did," Davis said of Iapoce in the Sun-Times article. "But regardless of who's there, certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments because the game's changed and pitchers are pitching them differently. They're not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They're pitching away from that. They're going to have to make that adjustment whether I'm there or not.

Davis had a whole lot more to say on the matter and I encourage you to read the full interview with Wittenmyer over at ChicagoSunTimes.com.

A healthy Bryant very likely could've changed everything for Davis and the Cubs' 2018 lineup. Contreras hitting like he's capable of in the second half would've made a huge difference, as well.

But the end result is a finish to the 2018 campaign that was viewed universally as a disappointment — particularly in the offensive department — and the Cubs are left with their third different hitting coach in three seasons.