White Sox

Ex-Hawk Fraser helps Kings take Game 1

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Ex-Hawk Fraser helps Kings take Game 1

NEWARK, N.J. Colin Fraser likes to joke around with his L.A. Kings teammates about his goal-scoring ability. The former Blackhawks forwards timing on getting his first postseason one couldnt have been better.

Fraser scored the first goal of his NHL playoff career on Wednesday night, and Anze Kopitar had the breakaway winner in overtime as the Kings beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals on Wednesday night. It was another road victory for the Kings, who are a perfect 9-0 away from home during these playoffs.

And it was a chance for Fraser, who was with the Blackhawks organization from 2004 to 2010, to score that infrequent goal at a critical time.

It feels like it was a long time coming, Fraser said afterward. Its not my No.-1 role but we all want to chip in when we can. Im not going to change the way I play but hopefully Ill get another one.

Frasers first was a big one, a wrister he tallied after Jordan Nolan forced a turnover to give the Kings a 1-0 lead midway through the first period.

I just tried to find an open area high, Fraser said. He hit me high and I was just trying to get it off as fast as I could. Nolan was the guy who forced the turnover and did the work.

Fraser got the finish but he didnt get the puck. Still, the work he and fellow fourth liners Nolan and Brad Richardson did boosted the Kings in the early going.

They probably had one of the best games in the playoffs so far, said Kopitar. They had some good ones before, but tonight they capped it off with a nice goal and that definitely got us going in the first period. We came out slower than we wanted to, and the way they established the forecheck gave us a huge boost.

Jonathan Quick did the rest for the Kings, stopping 17 of 18. But it wasnt a night of big shots for either team. The Devils had just five shots in the first period, didnt get their first of the second period until about halfway through it. Yet they tied the game at 1-1 when Anton Volchenkovs shot went off Kings defenseman Slava Voynov and past Quick.

Martin Brodeur showed his vintage side a few times in Game 1, including on a stellar pad save late in the third period. But the Kings were relentless in their pursuit, and it paid off in overtime. Justin Williams backhanded a pass to Kopitar, who skated wide open down the middle and wristed one off a sprawling Brodeur to clinch Game 1.

I saw (Williams) on the boards battling and I wanted to make sure I went through the middle, Kopitar said. I yelled for the puck and he threw it perfect, right on my tape. I was able to finish it off.

The Kings have gotten to this point for a few reasons, Quicks work throughout certainly being one of them. But its also about everyone contributing. Scoring isnt Frasers strong suit. But it suited him just fine in Game 1.

I always joke around, Fraser said. Its not my No. 1 thing, (scoring), but I always give it to the boys about how Im going to score one tonight. I was lucky to get one tonight. Hopefully Ill get more in the future.

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

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AP

Podcast: Dylan Cease raves about the White Sox farm system

Coming to you from Washington DC, we speak with Dylan Cease who competed in the MLB Futures Game along with his Birmingham Barons teammate Luis Basabe. 

Cease talks about the White Sox loaded farm system, what players have impressed him the most, where he gets his composure on the mound and more. 

Check out the entire podcast here:

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

Fernando Tatis Jr. is the prospect who got away: White Sox fans, read this at your own risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Fernando Tatis, Jr. is one of the brightest future stars in the game. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 prospect in all of baseball, one spot behind Eloy Jimenez.

He’s a five-tool shortstop slashing .289/.359/.509 at Double-A San Antonio with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases in 85 games. He’s bilingual, charismatic, the kind of guy who could be a face of a franchise.

And two years ago, he was property of the White Sox.

That was until they traded Tatis, who was only 17 at the time, to the Padres for James Shields. Tatis had yet to play a single game in the White Sox farm system, so it was tough to predict his future. However, speaking with Tatis before he competed in the MLB Futures Game on Sunday, the trade was definitely a shock to him.

“I was surprised. It was weird. For a kid that young to get traded, I had never heard of it. When they told me that, I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Tatis said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago.

No front office is going to bat 1.000, and when it comes to Tatis, this is a trade the White Sox would love to have back.

But first, more perspective.

In June of 2016, six months before the White Sox started their rebuild, they were 29-26, a game and a half out of first place. With Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and a healthy Carlos Rodon anchoring their rotation, they felt that with the addition of Shields, they could compete for the division.

Unfortunately, perception didn’t meet reality. Shields struggled on the mound with the White Sox in 2016 and 2017. His numbers have improved considerably, and he could return the White Sox another prospect if he’s dealt before the trade deadline. However, it’s unlikely they’ll receive a player with the potential that Tatis has right now.

“(The trade) was about getting a good starter so they could get to the playoffs. I understood. I know this game is a business,” Tatis said.

Before the trade occurred, Tatis looked into his future and saw a day when he’d be the White Sox starting shortstop.

“Yeah, that was my goal when (White Sox director of international scouting) Marco Paddy signed me,” Tatis said. “We talked about it when I started and that was the goal.”

His goal now is to make it to the major leagues with the Padres.

“I’m pretty close. I want to keep working. When they decide to call me up, I’ll be ready.”

As for his former team, he’s impressed with the talent the White Sox have assembled.

“They’re building something special. They have really good prospects. I wish the best for them.”

You can’t help but wonder what the rebuild would look like if Tatis was along for the ride. He’s the one who got away.