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CSN looks back at the game that ended a 14-year playoff appearance drought on the next installment of "Bears Classics"

CSN looks back at the game that ended a 14-year playoff appearance drought on the next installment of "Bears Classics"

‘Bears Classics’ presented by Knauz Automotive Group to debut Christmas Night (Friday, December 25) at 8:00 PM CT -- Exclusively on Comcast SportsNet 

Narrated by Chicago Bears/Pro Football Hall of Fame legend DICK BUTKUS

Chicago, IL (December 17, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet and the Chicago Bears will debut a brand new installment of its partnered Bears Classics presented by Knauz Automotive Group Emmy-winning documentary series when the network will once again go back in time to highlight a critical game between two legendary NFL franchises, one which would ultimately send the “Monsters” back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.   

Debuting Christmas Night (Friday, December 25) at 8:00 PM CT exclusively on Comcast SportsNet, Bears Classics will turn back the clock to December 18, 1977.  In final game of the regular season, the Bears traveled east to face their long-standing rival – the New York Giants – in a battle that would determine if the Bears playoff drought (since 1963 no less) would finally come to an end.  This game in the Meadowlands featured horrendous weather conditions, including rain and near freezing temperatures.  However, a determined Bears squad led by eventual 1977 NFL MVP Walter Payton, along with a group of young, hungry players, not only won this game in OT (their six-straight win to close out the season), but also set the table for a winning mindset in the years to come. 

This hour-long installment of Bears Classics, subtitled One Giant Leap, takes an in-depth look at this turning point moment in Bears history featuring candid interviews with players and coaches from both teams, along with those who covered this historic game 38 years ago. 

This edition of CSN’s Emmy-winning Bears Classics documentary series will once again be narrated by Chicago Bears legend/Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.  Butkus played for the Bears from 1965-1973 and is credited for redefining the middle linebacker position.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.  Comcast SportsNet’s Sarah Lauch is the Executive Producer of Bears Classics, Willie Parker is the Producer, and Kevin Cross is the network’s Senior Director of News & Original Content.

In addition to the documentary narration by Butkus, among the numerous players/media/execs interviewed in this edition of Bears Classics include exclusive interviews with the following individuals:

GARY FENCIK

Bears Safety (1976-87)

ROLAND HARPER

Bears Running Back (1975-82)

ROBIN EARL

Bears Running Back/Tight End (1977-83)

DAN JIGGETTS

Bears Offensive Tackle (1976-82); current CSN Bears analyst

EMERY MOOREHEAD

Giants Tight End/Wide Receiver (1977-79); Bears Tight End (1982-88)

BOB THOMAS

Bears Kicker (1975-82; 1983-84); current Illinois State Supreme Court Justice

HARRY CARSON

Giants Linebacker (1976-88)

JOE PISARCIK

Giants Quarterback (1977-79)

Please note the following quotes from Comcast SportsNet’s premiere airing of Bears Classics: One Giant Leap, debuting Christmas Night (Friday, December 25) at 8:00 PM CT:

GARY FENCIK (on weather conditions): "I’ve never been so cold, ‘because you were wet and cold.  And they’d just go ‘why don’t you just give up, we’ll get off the field too.”

ROLAND HARPER (on the 1977 Bears): "We were new, we were young, we were hungry…we wanted to try to do whatever we had to do (to win).”

HARRY CARSON (on the rarity of 1970’s overtime games): "Going into overtime…that was something that was the first time that I probably had experienced that situation being in the National Football League.”

DAN JIGGETTS (on Bears head coach/former NFL linebacker Jack Pardee): "That was a whole new world for him and we wanted to play for him, we really did because we respected the fact that this guy was a serious player.”

BOB THOMAS (on encouraging words from Bears teammate Bob Parsons): "I’m probably 5’10, 180 pounds and he’s like 6’2 or 6’3, like 240 right?  And he picks me up by my shoulder pads and he said ‘Hey Bob, if you don’t make this kick, I’m going to break your neck.”

Comcast SportsNet will also re-air this episode of Bears Classics on Tue, Jan. 5 at 9pm and on Mon, Jan. 18 at 8pm.  Details regarding the next installment of Bears Classics will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, fans can also get interactive prior and during every airing of Bears Classics with their thoughts, memories and comments by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsClassics.  Plus, CSNChicago.com will provide additional, online exclusive interviews and commentary write-ups from a variety of Comcast SportsNet on-air talent members and from CSNChicago.com’s Bears “Insider” John ‘Moon’ Mullin.  

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

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USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: How should Blackhawks handle Kirby Dach's future?

Should Kirby Dach see more ice time? What should the Blackhawks do with Erik Gustafsson? Has Robin Lehner separated himself in the goalie tandem?

Patrick Sharp and Charlie Roumeliotis join Pat Boyle to discuss that and much more on the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast. Plus, you'll hear Robin Lehner's postgame comments after the loss to the Golden Knights and why he thinks the Blackhawks are "really close" to putting it all together.

1:08 - Blackhawks come up with best defensive effort of the season

2:52 - Changes made to the power play units

4:14 - Evaluating Erik Gustafsson's play so far

6:04 - Who fills in after the Connor Murphy injury

7:49 - Patrick Sharp remembers Patrick Kane rookie season

9:08 - What does the future hold for Kirby Dach?

12:04 - Struggles of the Blackhawks' top-six

14:44 - Another strong performance by Robin Lehner

16:33 - Lehner's strong post-game comments after Vegas loss

20:07 - How to handle the goalie-split going forward

23:25 - Biggest thing the Blackhawks need to improve upon

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast

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Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

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AP

Blackhawks expected to be without Connor Murphy (groin injury) for 'a couple weeks'

The Blackhawks are expected to be without defenseman Connor Murphy for "a couple weeks" after he left in the second period of Tuesday's 2-1 shootout loss to the Vegas Golden Knights because of a groin injury, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after the game.

It's the same injury that sidelined Murphy for the season opener in Prague, which is unfortunate given his promotion to the top pairing with Duncan Keith has provided some stability on all three pairings. 

"Obviously that's a blow for us," Colliton said. "It's an opportunity for other guys. We think we need to continue to build depth. That's what we're going to need. We can't just play with six D or seven D all year. You're going to need more than that. That'll be an opportunity for other guys to grow."

Slater Koekkoek is serving as the seventh defenseman right now and he's the likely candidate to slide into Murphy's spot in the lineup. But the Blackhawks might be inclined to make a call-up from Rockford as insurance.

Dennis Gilbert started the season with the Blackhawks because Murphy and Calvin de Haan were not cleared to play overseas, so he's a potential candidate to be brought back up.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.