Blackhawks

CSN's Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 coverage to begin at 5:00 PM Thursday LIVE from the UC

CSN's Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 coverage to begin at 5:00 PM Thursday LIVE from the UC

MEDIA ALERT

COMCAST SPORTSNET TO START ITS STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ROUND 1GAME 4 BLACKHAWKS-COYOTES COVERAGE AT
5:00 PM THURSDAY NIGHT LIVE FROM THE UNITED CENTER

Chicago Tribune Live (5:00 PM), SportsNet Central (6:00 PM) and
Blackhawks Pre-Game Live (6:30 PM) to all air live from the United Center!

Chicago, IL (April 18, 2012) -- Comcast SportsNet, the exclusive local television home for every Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs first round match-up vs. the Phoenix Coyotes, has announced enhanced surrounding coverage for Game 4 on Thursday night, April 19 as Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan, SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse and Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live will all take place LIVE from the United Center beginning at 5:00 PM.

Blackhawks-Coyotes Game 4 face-off action featuring Comcast SportsNets Blackhawks announcing tandem of Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk gets underway live at 7:00 PM. In addition, Comcast SportsNets comprehensive website, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more exclusive Blackhawks Stanley Cup Playoffs content including:

LIVE stream of Blackhawks head coach Joel Quennevilles post-game press conference
CSNChicago.com Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers will be at the UC filing stories and video before and after the game, plus Myers will provide up-to-the-second Tweets via @TraMyersCSN, as well as CSNs Blackhawks studio analyst Chris Boden (@CSNBoden) throughout the gameseries.
New-look Blackhawks team page highlighted by latest news, player interviews, highlights, video and more...Game highlights also available on CSNChicago.com during and following every game.
Blackhawks Talk (@HawksTalkCSN) also offers news, views and analysis from Myers, Boden and Blackhawks analyst Steve Konroyd.
Viewers are also encouraged to submit their Twitter questionscomments to our Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live team by utilizing the hashtag: HawksPGL

Note Comcast SportsNets programming line-up for Blackhawks-Coyotes Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1Game 4 coverage on Thursday night, April 19:

5:00 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan (LIVE from the United Center featuring host David Kaplan, Tribune writers, special guests & more)

6:00 PM SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse (LIVE from the United Center featuring anchors Pat Boyle & Mark Schanowski with the latest Blackhawks news, game previews, interviews & more)

6:30 PM Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live (LIVE from the United Center featuring hosts Chris Boden & Steve Konroyd, along with the latest pre-game news and interviews from Sarah Kustok & CSNChicago.coms Tracey Myers)

7:00 PM CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. PHOENIX COYOTES (Stanley Cup Playoffs, Round 1Game 4)

9:30 PM Jose Cuervo Blackhawks Post Game Live (time approx.) (featuring Joel Quennevilles live post-game press conference, post-game player reaction, highlights, comprehensive analysis and more)
10:00 PM & 10:30 PM GMC SportsNet Central (time approx.) (live, comprehensive Game 4 recap, highlights, interviews and much more from the day in sports)

11:00 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan (replay of 5:00 PM telecast)

12:00 AM SportsNet Central presented by CLR (live telecast)

12:30 AM Blackhawks vs. Coyotes (Game 4 replay)

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

adam_boqvist_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

It seems like yesterday the Blackhawks were scraping for young, impact defensemen prospects. Just one, even.

Oh, how that's changed significantly over the last 12 months.

In 2015 and 2016, the Blackhawks did not own a first-round pick. And before that, they hadn't drafted a defenseman in the first round since Dylan Olsen — 28th overall — in 2009. Luckily, they had already hit on Duncan Keith (second round in 2002) and Brent Seabrook (first round in 2003) in back-to-back drafts, and two years later on Niklas Hjalmarsson (fourth round in 2005).

That was a long time ago. Keith is turning 35 in July and Seabrook turned 33 in April. The Blackhawks have gotten that second wave of talent up front with Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz and Dylan Sikura. The same can't be said for the defense.

But it's coming.

Since last June, the Blackhawks have added defensemen Henri Jokiharju, Ian Mitchell, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin to their pipeline and used each of their three first-round picks in the past two drafts to do it. Mitchell was the lone second-round pick, and he had an oustanding freshman season at Denver, meaning he could be ready sooner than later — probably after his sophomore campaign.

Despite the need for defensemen, the Blackhawks never wavered on their draft approach and the desire to add instant help didn't impact how they went about this past weekend. Draft the best player available and you can't go wrong.

The good news for the Blackhawks is, the players that were rated highest on their board when their picks rolled around were positional needs. How fitting.

"Coming into the draft, we're just looking for the best value players we have; guys ranked the highest at their spots," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on drafting Boqvist and Beaudin. "It just so happened they're both defensemen, which is great because that's a very important position. I think they're the highest valued assets.

"Calling around this week about potential trades and looking for players and they're the hardest things to find. We didn't draft them just because they're defensemen. We like both of their style of play, their skill set. I think they both play the modern NHL game. Both have bright futures."

There are high hopes for all four of them.

Then you look deeper inside the organization and you'll find Gustav Forsling, who was once considered the Blackhawks' top defensive prospect and currently finds himself in the five-spot. Yet, he's the most NHL ready and could have a full-time role with the Blackhawks next season.

Peel the next layer and you'll see Blake Hillman, who showed promise and great situational defensive awareness in his brief stint last season. Dennis Gilbert, who brings size and physicality, offers a different element and will continue his developement with the Rockford IceHogs. And then there's Lucas Carlsson and Carl Dahlstrom, both of whom could make things interesting in training camp.

Suddenly, the Blackhawks are faced with having, what you would call, a good problem to have by putting together one of the best young defensive farm systems in the league.

Now, that's not to say that each of these guys are going to pan out the way the Blackhawks are hoping they will. But you're increasing your chances by collecting a number of players with high-end talent and creating competition.

The real question is when they'll all be ready.

While there may be temptation to push them along to help the Blackhawks in the short term, it's important to resist that because the future on the back end looks promising if they each grow at their own pace.

Boqvist has the potential to be Erik Karlsson as a best-case scenario. Even if he can be half of that, that's a win. Jokiharju's ceiling is whatever he wants it to be, and throwing Boqvist into the mix perhaps alleviates some pressure off his shoulders. Beaudin and Mitchell each have top-four potential and should develop as such.

Knowing what they could be capable of with proper development, there shouldn't be any reason to rush it. Just be excited they're on the way.

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Are expectations too high for Bears WR Allen Robinson?

Allen Robinson was signed in free agency to become the alpha dog of the Chicago Bears' wide receiver corps. The three-year, $42 million contract that general manager Ryan Pace signed him to is proof of how high expectations are for the fifth-year pro.

Robinson isn't coming to Chicago with a flawless resume, however. His massive breakout year in 2015 (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) was followed by a pedestrian 883 yards in 2016 and a torn ACL in Week 1 last year. That begs the question: Is the forecast for Robinson's impact in 2018 too high right now?

According to Bleacher Report's Doug Farrar, the answer is yes. Robinson was named as the Bear most likely to disappoint this season.

Robinson practiced for the first time since the injury during the Bears' May minicamp, but it's safe to say Chicago isn't sure what it has in Robinson. If he gets back to his 2015 numbers, that would be huge for the Bears' passing offense, but given his 2016 regression and the specter of the 2017 injury, that's a tough bet.

Robinson will have an impact that goes beyond the traditional box score, and it will happen this season. Is he a lock to reach 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns? No, but his presence on the field will be enough to see a return on investment. The Bears haven't had the kind of threat he poses to defenses in several seasons, and his ability to pull a defensive coordinator's attention away from the running game will do wonders for Chicago's offensive output.

Determining whether Robinson is a disappointment in 2018 will depend on who's evaluating his season. Sure, he may disappoint in fantasy football circles if he doesn't re-emerge as a game-changing stat monster. But if he makes the Bears offense a more well-rounded and productive group, he'll live up to the expectations set by Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

As long as Robinson is pleasing Pace and Nagy, nothing else really matters.