White Sox

Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East

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Elgin uses tough 'D' to beat St. Charles East

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

Kory Brown and Arie Williams dont have jaw-dropping talent. Neither player is heading to Duke or North Carolina or even the Big Ten -- but they have the intelligence and drive that makes Elgin a serious contender to advance to Peoria in March.The Maroons suffered an early-season loss to Geneva, but Friday against visiting St. Charles East, they proved they had learned a valuable lesson from the loss.Coach Mike Sitter told us St. Charles East tries to score 70 every game, Brown said. Every person on that team has a jump shot we respect. We learned in the Geneva game that we had to focus on our defense.Brown, Williams and the rest of Elgin (7-1, 2-1) kept those jump shots from falling, holding the Saints scoreless for the first six minutes of the game on the way to a 55-39 victory in Upstate Eight River action.We were pretty excited coming in with all the hype, Williams said. It was our first Friday night game of the year and I think that energy helped us get out to the hot start.Brown, a 6-4 senior, led the way with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Cortez Scott added 13 points and Williams finished with 12 points and four steals.Stealing the ball is just my skill, Williams, a 5-8 junior, said. I sneak up on them. Youve got to be quiet and approach them. Im like a little lion.St. Charles East threatened to mount a late comeback after Kendall Stephens three-pointer with 4:52 to play cut the Elgin lead to 44-36. But Brown drove the lane and elevated for a jumper on the next possession, igniting an 8-0 run that put the game away.Stephens, a Purdue recruit, is one of the top juniors in the country. He led the Saints (6-3, 3-1) with 17 points and four rebounds. He shot 6 of 18 from the floor and 2-for-10 from three-point range.We knew we had to get up and make sure we had a hand in their face at all times, Brown said. We practiced getting around the screens and piggybacking all week.

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

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USA TODAY

Rick Hahn 'intrigued' by offseason talks White Sox are involved in

The baseball offseason is moving at a quicker pace than recent years and White Sox general manager Rick Hahn is among those happy to see that.

Hahn and the White Sox contributed to that quick start to the offseason by signing Yasmani Grandal on Nov. 21. He said he prefers that in an interview with Bruce Levine and Matt Spiegel on 670 The Score on Saturday.

Hahn also gave an update on the team’s offseason.

“We still have work to do, but at the same time we’re obviously quite pleased to have added Yasmani Grandal, much to no one’s surprise bringing back Jose Abreu and we’re intrigued by some of the talks we have going on right now,” Hahn said. “Obviously you can’t convert on everything a point that was publicly driven home this past week, but at the same time we know that regardless of whether we convert on one specific target or not, there are still a lot of reasons to be excited based on the guys we currently have, much less what we may add in the coming weeks.”

The comment about being unable to convert on everything is surely a reference to Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hahn didn’t give any hints as to what the White Sox are working on, but he did say he prefers the speed of this offseason.

“We’d certainly prefer to do things sooner rather than later,” Hahn said. “That’s generally true regardless of the time of year.”

If Hahn wants to get things done quickly, it would make sense that the winter meetings could be a time of White Sox activity. Hahn wasn’t biting on that.

“There’s nothing magical about getting a deal done Tuesday at the winter meetings,” Hahn said. “It creates a little more buzz perhaps and fulfills some expectations within the fanbase and the media.

“A guy is not going to have any less impact on your team if you acquire him Dec. 20 vs. Dec. 12.”

Hahn also gave updates on various current players on the team:

  • Yasmani Grandal has been studying up on White Sox pitchers and how he can help the young pitchers develop.

 

“This guy’s No. 1 goal and No. 1 priority is to make the pitchers better," Hahn said. "He’s texting me two, three times a week still with stuff he had seen on our guys and conversations he’s had with our guys about how he thinks we’re going to be able to get them better in the coming months.”

  • Hahn was asked if the White Sox would add another middle infielder to provide cover until Nick Madrigal comes up. He didn't rule it out, but cited Leury Garcia and Danny Mendick as capable of helping out. Hahn has previously said he expects Madrigal to be up for most of the 2020 season.
  • Nothing new here, but Hahn said Michael Kopech will enter spring training "without restriction" and will have "some innings management" throughout the season. Kopech missed 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery late in the 2018 season.
  • Carlos Rodon's timeline to return from Tommy John surgery hasn't changed. Hahn said they will re-evaluate him in April to see where he is after spring training. He is still tentatively expected to return in late July or early August.

 

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Schmaltz to play first game at United Center since being traded by Blackhawks

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USA Today

Schmaltz to play first game at United Center since being traded by Blackhawks

Former Blackhawks center Nick Schmaltz was dealt a tough hand last season. The Hawks traded the Madison, Wisconsin native to the Arizona Coyotes for Dylan Strome and Brendan Perlini on Nov. 25, 2018. 

"Probably for the first couple weeks it was still shocking and different to be part of a new organization," Schmaltz said. "But as you get more comfortable with everyone, I would say a couple months probably before it sunk in, but I felt comfortable right away."

Then, after recording 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 17 games with the Coyotes, Schmaltz had season-ending knee surgery. 

"It was tough," the 23-year-old said. "It wasn't like one specific thing that blew out my knee or anything, it was just nagging me over time. Obviously it was tough, I had to sit out 40 games or whatever. 

"So that was frustrating, especially because the team was doing well and I was feeling really comfortable. So it was frustrating, but happy to be back and we got off to a good start so far (currently second in the Pacific division)."

Some good fortune came Schmaltz's way when Arizona gave him a seven-year contract for $40.95 million in March.

Sunday marks his first game back at the United Center. 

"I think I'll have a lot of energy," said Schmaltz, who will have family in attendance. "I think I'll be excited. I don't think they'll be too many nerves or anything, I think it'll be fun to play against those guys and I'll be ready to go."

Schmaltz logged a lot of ice time playing with Patrick Kane when he was with Chicago from 2016-2018. 

"He was great to play with," Kane said of Schmaltz. "One of those guys I really enjoyed playing with because he was so fast and as a centerman he really did a good job of taking the puck up the middle of the ice, drawing guys to him then kind of kicking it to the wing and still driving through his feet to the point where the defense had to decide whether to honor him and go back to him or come with me and leave him open. 

"He was really good in that regard, a lot of speed up the middle. I really enjoyed playing with him and developing chemistry with him the years he was here.

"He's a good kid too. I really enjoyed being around him, hanging out with him, golfing with him, things like that. I enjoyed his time here."

Schmaltz's unique golfing style impressed Kane as much as his hockey skills did. 

"Really good," Kane said of his former teammate's golf game. "It's funny when he hits it, the ball doesn't come very far off the ground, but it just goes a mile and he does the opposite with his irons, he hits them so high and then they just land and stop. He's a good golfer."

"He's got his days, he's kind of up and down," Schmaltz said of Kane swinging the clubs. "He can go low 80s or he can fire 100, it just depends how he's feeling. We've had a few games. It's a lot of fun playing with him."

Recall

The Blackhawks recalled forward Dylan Sikura from the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL. Sikura will slot in for Anton Wedin, who was reassigned to Rockford.