Blackhawks

Dempster focused on Cubs, not trade deadline

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Dempster focused on Cubs, not trade deadline

Ryan Dempster pitches for the Cubs. Sure, that seems obvious, but he stressed it Saturday after another strong, shutout effort helped Chicago to a 4-1 victory over Arizona at Wrigley Field.
While most post-game questions focused on speculation Dempster will likely be traded before the non-waiver trade deadline July 31, the right-hander steered his answers toward the present.
Im well aware of things going on and rumors and things like that, Dempster said. But Im a member of the Chicago Cubs and Im trying to do my best job for this team and for my teammates.
Right now his best job has been pretty spectacular. Dempster completed six shutout innings to extend his scoreless streak to 33 consecutive innings.
The streak is the longest for a Cubs starter since Ken Holtzman also went 33 shutout innings in 1969. Dempster is one of only three Cubs starters to have shutout streaks of at least 33 innings in the past 95 years.
Bill Lee did it twice in 1938 with streaks of 35 and 37 innings. Holtzman is the other.
Dempster's success makes him a prime candidate to be dealt, though its anybodys guess as to where he could end up. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said hes been fielding many calls since play resumed following the All-Star Game break, but did not indicate any move was imminent.
Dempster, who came to the Cubs as a free agent in 2004, knows the position hes in regarding his trade value. But hed rather not think about wearing anything but a Cubs jersey right now.
I understand the business side of baseball, he said. You can better your team for the future by being able to acquire some guys, but I havent given a whole lot of thought to what it might feel like to be somewhere else. Right now Im just enjoying playing here and winning (Saturday), and being part of this nice little run were on.
The Cubs clinched the series victory, keeping them unbeaten in their past five series (4-0-1). They have won 11 of their past 15 games, plus five straight at home to top the .500 mark (21-20) at Wrigley for the first time since early in the season.
Against the Diamondbacks, Dempster didnt have his best stuff but still didnt allow a runner past second base even after giving up one-out double to Paul Goldschmidt in the fourth inning.
Dempster only had one perfect inning -- his last. He was pulled after the sixth having thrown 89 pitches, 56 for strikes. He allowed four hits and three walks with five strikeouts, and benefitted from two double plays.
It was his second start since returning from the disabled list with right lat tightness. Manager Dale Sveum said he had Dempster on a pitch count of 90, so it was time to take him out in the sixth despite Dempster having his best inning of the game.
When I took him out he wanted to stay in, but he wasnt going to talk me out of it, Sveum said. That was the game plan today and it worked out perfectly. He got another inning in (compared with his previous start) and got to 90 pitches. The plan worked to a T today.
The plan now is for Dempster to make his next start without restrictions. The question is, will it be in a Cubs uniform?

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

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USA TODAY

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

It's a new year, new team for Cam Ward, who spent his first 13 NHL seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing in Chicago on a one-year deal this summer. That means a newly-designed goalie mask is required to match up with his new team's colors, uniform and Blackhawks logo.

The designer of Ward's goalie masks Steve Nash, whose clients include 2017-18 Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck, two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick and three-time 30-win netminder Martin Jones, shared a teaser on Twitter of Ward's new Blackhawks-themed mask for the upcoming season and it's sweet.

Check it out:

Bears confirm OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair fracture in right hand

Bears confirm OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair fracture in right hand

Bears head coach Matt Nagy confirmed to reporters on Monday that OLB Leonard Floyd underwent surgery to repair a fracture in his right hand he sustained in the first quarter of Saturday's 24-23 preseason win over the Denver Broncos.

The good news is, the Bears are optimistic that Floyd will be available to play in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers. The bad news is, he'll likely have to play with a cast on until his injury fully heals.

"I don't think it's going to be healed, I think he's going to have to end up playing through it," Nagy said. "It might require something in regards to having a cast or a club-type deal. There's been evidence of guys that have had that and been productive, so that's what we're hoping." 

TE Adam Shaheen, who suffered a right ankle sprain on the first drive of the game, is still being evaluated and it's unclear whether or not he'll be ready by Week 1.

"We're not sure there yet," Nagy said. "We're hoping. We'll probably know more later today after the tests come back."