Bears

Doughty's success is no surprise to former mentor O'Donnell

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Doughty's success is no surprise to former mentor O'Donnell

Drew Doughty brought the puck up ice, never breaking stride as he knifed through the New Jersey Devils and scored on Martin Brodeur. It was an impressive play by the young L.A. Kings defenseman, and his former on-ice mentor Sean ODonnell couldnt help but smile.

Hes like a pitcher, the Blackhawks defenseman said. He wants the ball in his hands when game is on the line.

When Doughty began his NHL career in 2008-09, the Kings wanted a veteran defenseman to help the youngsters transition to the big time. Enter ODonnell, who was brought in from Anaheim to do just that. Four years later, ODonnell is impressed with what Doughty has done in such a short amount of time.

But the 40-year-old ODonnell isnt taking credit for Doughtys emergence.

Its almost like a teacher who gets a kid in Grade 5 or 6 and they go on to great things. You watch with admiration and youre proud, and youre happy you were able to help. But he was going to be a great player no matter who played with him, said ODonnell, who was out in L.A. where the Kings are preparing for Game 3 against the Devils. Hes doing things I could never imagine on the ice. Just to see that raw player when he came to L.A.; if I had a one percent influence, it makes you proud.

Doughty was already plenty talented when he began his NHL career. But it didnt hurt pairing him with ODonnell, who at the time was in his 16th season as well as his second stint with the Kings. And when ODonnell talked, Doughty listened.

Hes a very smart player, ODonnell said. He was a little bit raw when he came in and I would try to tell him, This is what this guy likes to do, or, On a 3 on 2, lets play it this way. And he just got it. He understood why. You explained it, he got it and he stuck with it.

The pro sports spotlight can be glaring on a rising star. Doughtys dealt with some heady stuff this season, from holding out during contract negotiations to signing his massive contract eight years, 56 million to trying to live up to the deal. Doughty has definitely shown his worth through this postseason. And ODonnell said Doughtys attitude helps him through the ups and downs.

I dont know if hes realizing the magnitude of what he does. He just has fun all the time, doesnt let pressure overwhelm him, ODonnell said. I talked to him a couple times: he missed training camp, hes 22 years old, and when he had a bad game people would say, Look how much hes making. I cant believe he held out. I think he struggled with that at the end of the year but now he's playing well. He just has to have fun, and now hes kind of playing with the house money.

Doughty has already done so much in his young career. Hes won Olympic gold. Hes earned a Norris Trophy nomination. And now hes on the cusp of winning a Stanley Cup. Not a bad resume for a 22-year-old. What could Doughty do in the future? ODonnell said you dont want to put pressure on the young guy, that it takes time for a good defenseman to become a great defenseman. But Doughty certainly looks well on his way.

And perhaps ODonnell should take a little bit of credit for that.

I hear him say things like, I need to be the best defenseman on the ice. Hes not cocky or arrogant. Hes just confident, ODonnell said. If hes playing way he can, he cant be stopped.

Puppy Pick 'Em Week 15: Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers in Week 15

Puppy Pick 'Em Week 15: Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers in Week 15

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 15 and it's all dairy in the studios at NBC Sports Chicago. Greek Town is famous in Chicago and if you have not had flaming cheese you have not lived. Saganaki (saga-KNOCK-ee) vs Cheddar cheese….(yawn) it is shredded...which is what the Bears are hoping to do to The Pack in Week 15.

We love going on Walter’s journey and enjoy seeing him grow up. He was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. Now, Walter has found a home of his own and is the king of the castle.

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: www.onetail.org

Two top-25 matchups headline High School Lites

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

Two top-25 matchups headline High School Lites

High School Lites has plenty of high school basketball action from all over the Chicagoland area this week. We have top-25 matchups in both the Public League and non-conference play in the North suburbs. Some strong South suburban teams and a classic North Shore rivalry also play out on this week's episode. 

Check out the latest edition of High School Lites at 11 p.m. on Friday night for scores and highlights from all over the area. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps to get the latest scores and updates from the area's IHSA teams.

GIRLS: New Trier at Evanston, 6:00 p.m. -- A huge rivalry takes center stage on the girls side on Friday night. Evanston is one of the area's best teams as senior Jayla Turchin is player to watch. New Trier is led by Ava Zaslavsky as they won by a point when these two played for High School Lites cameras last season. The Trevians held off Maine South for a conference win to start the week.

New Trier at No. 8 Evanston 7:30 p.m. -- One of the classic area rivalries also gets played on the boys side on Friday night. New Trier (4-3, 0-1) knocked off Maine East earlier this week after falling to Lane in the Chicago Elite Classic. The Trevians own some close losses to ranked teams like Loyola and Glenbrook South as they are a dangerous team. Evanston (6-0, 1-0) earned an impressive win over Notre Dame in the Chicago Elite Classic as the junior class is full of standouts. Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson are a strong offensive duo. Isaiah Holden is a defensive presence on the perimeter as well.

Rich Central at No. 14 Thornton, 6:00 p.m. -- Can Thornton continue its monster week following the win over No. 1 Bloom earlier in the week? The Wildcats (6-0, 3-0) have been a major story to start the season as they've gone from unranked to likely top ten in a matter of weeks. Rich Central (0-5, 0-1) will try to shake things up in the Southland by picking up its first win of the season.

No. 4 Whitney Young at No. 11 Lincoln Park, 6:30 p.m. -- Two Public League powers battle in the Red North/West here. The Dolphins (3-2, 3-0) have established a strong start in conference play as seniors D.J. Steward (Duke) and Tyler Beard are a strong backcourt. Lincoln Park (7-1, 3-0) counter with the junior perimeter of Julio Montes and Ismail Habib as they played well as sophomores. Big man Romelle Howard is a factor to watch inside for the Lions and how Whitney Young defends him.

Niles West at No. 19 Glenbrook South, 7:00 p.m. -- We catch a glimpse of unbeaten Glenbrook South (6-0, 1-0) and Player of the Year sleeper Dom Martinelli. Niles West (3-5, 1-0) lost to St. Viator earlier this week as they've lost a few close games to strong competition. The Titans will be challenged as it all begins with Martinelli. One of the area's most potent scorers will look to establish the Glenbrook South offense early as he's had more help in recent weeks.

No. 13 Notre Dame at No. 10 Loyola, 7:00 p.m. -- A huge clash of top-15 teams in non-conference play. Notre Dame (7-1, 1-0) won a huge game against Marian Catholic in ESCC play this week as Troy D'Amico and Louis Lesmond are two of the best juniors in the state. Loyola (7-0, 3-0) is off to an unbeaten start. Bennett and Jordan Kwiecinski are a pair of Division I signees at forward for the Ramblers as they should have a great matchup with Lesmond and D'Amico here.

Lincoln-Way Central at No. 16 Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:00 p.m. -- A SouthWest Suburban crossover between two teams off to solid starts. Lincoln-Way Central (5-1) lost its opener to Joliet West before running off five straight wins. The Vikings (5-1) have played a difficult schedule so far with a loss to Marian Catholic and a win over Hillcrest. Senior R.J. Ogom (College of Charleston) is one of the area's most productive forwards.

Latin vs. Parker, 7:30 p.m. at DePaul -- The Independent School League has a big rivalry matchup in Lincoln Park. Latin (3-1, 1-1) lost to Northridge in conference play earlier this week. Parker (4-4, 1-1) has two double-digit wins on the week as they try to keep the momentum rolling.

Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week

Mather at Foreman, 5 p.m. -- Our Viewers' Choice Game of the Week takes us to the North side for a Public League White-North matchup. Mather (4-5, 2-1) earned a conference win over Taft and fell to Lane in the Red division earlier this week in non-conference play. Foreman (2-3, 0-3) is trying to earn its first conference win after losing a close one to Northside earlier this week.