Bears

Hawks to skate simulated game tonight

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Hawks to skate simulated game tonight

It wont be the same as Opening Night at the United Center; far from it in the stands, anyway.

But for the Chicago Blackhawks, their simulated game tonight will be as close as they get to a preseason contest and game-like preparation for this shortened 2013 season.

The Blackhawks will face the, well, Blackhawks -- or more likely some Rockford IceHogs -- as they simulate their game-day routine tonight. Seven more players from Rockford will come up to play in tonights game, as coach Joel Quenneville will see his lines in action.

"We're going to have a three-period game," Quenneville said, who added it will be complete with referees. "It's more for the guys to get more familiarity with the lines, defensive pairings and special teams time as well. We'll get the pace. It'll be a real game, real intensity."

READ: Shaw ready for center stage

For players, it's some semblance of a game, which is something.

"It's a good thing," Marian Hossa said. "Lots of guys haven't played for a long time and we need to get that routine going and finally practice our power play and penalty killing. We'll have some structure tonight, and we're going to use it."

For Patrick Kane, it may be getting readjusted to the smaller North American ice again. And a little more time with new linemates Dave Bolland and Patrick Sharp.

"I think for all of us, we want to get into game shape," Kane said. "Well get a lot of ice time, get everyone in. It's just fun to play in a game atmosphere with penalties, everything."

READ: Stalberg seeks to emerge as power-play threat

Players skated constantly throughout the lockout. But as many have said, it doesnt make up for the game situations and the timing needed every night. The Blackhawks, like every other team, has scurried in this brief training camp to get their timing back. Is it back yet?

"We're going to see tonight," Hossa said. "We'll play a more 5-on-5 type of game. We don't have much time so it better come quickly."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

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USA TODAY

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

Is this the offseason that Cubs executive Jason McLeod finally becomes an MLB general manager?

According to Bruce Levine, the Giants are reportedly interested in McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, for their vacant general manager position.

McLeod joined the Cubs' front office in 2011 alongside Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Before the Cubs, he spent six years in the Red Sox front office and two in the Padres' (with Hoyer, who was San Diego's general manager from 2010-2011). 

Of course, the Giants' reported interest in McLeod doesn't necessarily mean that he will interview for the job. However, it's worth noting that McLeod interviewed for the Twins' general manager job in 2016; he also withdrew his name from consideration for the Padres' general manager job in 2014. 

In addition to the Giants, McLeod's name has been linked to the Mets' general manager vacancy. This is more speculation, but the point is that it seems to be only a matter of time before McLeod is hired as general manager elsewhere.

For what it's worth, though, McLeod is under contract through 2021 and has previously said that he is grateful to be with the Cubs. 

“I’m exceptionally grateful,” McLeod said. “All of us are. Look at where we are at this moment in time with this team," McLeod said in 2016. "I can’t imagine a better environment, a better culture to work at in baseball.

"We’ve been together a long time. We’re friends. We’re good. We embrace the fact that we are good. And we challenge ourselves to be even better.”