Cubs

Injured Hawks playing conditioning catch-up

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Injured Hawks playing conditioning catch-up

Jonathan Toews came off the ice after the Blackhawks practice on Saturday, feeling good but nevertheless more winded than he wouldve been a few weeks ago.

Its just the lungs that hurt a little bit, said Toews after his third good skate in as many days. The normal kind of convenient practice for guys today was a little tougher on a guy like me.

For a player recovering from a concussion, the immediate recovery period means shutting things down: take it easy, very little exercise and no skating for a while. Its good advice, considering the severity and delicacy of the injury. And once the head does start healing, another fun part begins: getting back in shape.

Professional athletes spend so much time getting into tremendous shape, and its something they struggle to get back when returning from a concussion. Niklas Hjalmarsson is experiencing that, too, as Friday was just his second game since suffering his in early February. The defenseman is feeling great health-wise but said hes still playing cardio catch-up.

I felt that yesterday. The conditioning isnt quite there yet, he said. I havent really been in great shape since the all-star break; Ive been hurt pretty much ever since. Theres a lot of catching up to do.

Hjalmarsson did some sprints at the end of Saturdays practice, skating up and down the red line several times. Marcus Kruger did the same thing in December when he came back from his concussion, going through some tough on-ice workouts with skating and skills coach Kevin Delaney.

Its tough. The conditioning goes away so fast and it takes such a long time to build it up (in the first place), Hjalmarsson said. You just try to work hard on the ice and do a little extra off the ice and hopefully itll be back here real soon.

Toews said its tough, but its just part of the deal with this recovery.

Its the toughest injury for that reason: you cant be active, you have to sit around and do nothing, or as little as possible, he said. They say you can lose it pretty quick but a couple more skates like this, it comes back just as fast, too.

Be it Toews, Hjalmarsson, Steve Montador or anyone else recovering from a head injury, health is the first priority. Losing the conditioning is a tad frustrating, but it comes back again.

You just have to be able to be strong and push yourself through it and know that, when that first game (comes), its not going to be easy, Toews said. That game shape will come.

Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Cubs to reportedly conduct second interview with Joe Espada for managerial opening

Astros bench coach Joe Espada has two days off before Houston hosts Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, but it looks like some of that time will be spent in Chicago.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs will interview Espada a second time for their managerial opening. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reports that the interview is happening on Sunday.

Espada is one of the more sought after managerial candidates this offseason, as he's spent the last six seasons with two of baseball's leading franchises. The 44-year-old has been Astros bench coach since 2018, and prior to that, he spent four seasons with the Yankees — 2014 as a front office assistant, 2015-17 as third base coach.

David Ross was the presumed favorite for the Cubs' opening, when the process got underway. However, by landing a second interview, Espada has clearly given the team something to think about. In fact, NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan reported on Thursday the Cubs came away "exceptionally impressed" from Espada's first interview on Monday. 

MLB prefers teams not to make managerial announcements during the World Series. So, it might be a few more weeks before the Cubs announce their decision, unless they do so on Sunday or Monday.

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Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week 8

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim's Top 25 Preps Power Rankings: Week 8

Here are the latest @NBCSPreps Top 25 Power Rankings as teams embark on the final week of the regular season.

1. Lincoln-Way East 8-0 (1)
Last Week: Beat Sandburg, 40-0
This Week: vs Lincoln-Way West
EDGY's Take: The Griffins are aiming for a win against the Warriors this Friday. Will a top-see in Class 8A come their way Saturday night?

2. Mount Carmel 8-0 (2)
Last Week: Beat St. Viator, 37-7
This Week: vs Brother Rice
EDGY's Take: The Caravan pounced on four St. Viator turnovers in the first half. Mt. Carmel now gets one final conference test before the playoffs.

3. Nazareth Academy 8-0 (3)
Last Week: Beat Notre Dame, 21-0
This Week: @ Benet Academy
EDGY's Take: The Roadrunners' defense was spectacular Friday en route to a 21-0 shutout in Niles.

4. Loyola Academy 6-2 (4)
Last Week: Beat Marian Central Catholic, 52-0
This Week: vs Marist
EDGY's Take: The Ramblers' offense has averaged nearly 48 points per game since a Week 4 loss at Mount Carmel. 

5. Warren Township 8-0 (5)
Last Week: Beat Stevenson, 37-0
This Week: vs Mundelein
EDGY's Take: The Blue Devils defense has posted four shutouts and has allowed just 21 points all season.

6. Homewood-Flossmoor 7-1 (6)
Last Week: Beat Bolingbrook, 14-13
This Week: vs Lincoln-Way Central
EDGY's Take: The Vikings hang on and get a rivalry win over Bolingbrook.

7. Glenbard West 8-0 (7)
Last Week: Beat Hinsdale Central, 20-17 OT
This Week: @ Oak Park-River Forest
EDGY's Take: The Hitters' defense held Hinsdale Central to an overtime field goal; the running game did the rest in the extra session.

8. Neuqua Valley 7-1 (11)
Last Week: Beat Naperville North, 45-14
This Week: @ Metea Valley
EDGY's Take: The Wildcats win its first outright Dupage Valley conference title in school history.

9. Hersey 8-0 (12)
Last Week: Beat Elk Grove, 56-21
This Week: vs Rolling Meadows
EDGY's Take: The Huskies will now gear up for rival Rolling Meadows. It should be a terrific Mid-Suburban East title game.

10. Hinsdale Central 7-1 (9)
Last Week: Lost to Glenbard West, 20-17 OT
This Week: vs Lyons
EDGY's Take: The Red Devils have a lot to look forward to in the postseason, including the development of junior QB Michael Brescia.

11. Notre Dame 7-1 (8)
Last Week: Lost to Nazareth Academy, 21-0
This Week: @ St. Rita
EDGY's Take: How long will the Dons be without senior RB Julian Schurr? 
  
12. Bolingbrook 6-2 (10)
Last Week: Lost to H-F, 21-0
This Week: vs Andrew
EDGY's Take: Do not sleep on the Raiders this postseason. Bolingbrook's two losses were to Lincoln-Way East and H-F . The Raiders showed they can play with elite-level programs.

13. Minooka 8-0 (13)
Last Week: Beat West Aurora, 27-13
This Week: @ Oswego
EDGY's Take: It'll be another battle of undefeateds when Minooka clashes with Oswego. The Southwest Prairie West conference title hangs in the balance. 

14. Oswego 8-0 (14)
Last Week: Beat Yorkville, 28-20
This Week: vs Minooka
EDGY's Take: Oswego will seek to win its 9th straight Southwest Prairie conference title. 

15. Maine South 6-2 (15)
Last Week: Beat Glenbrook South, 28-13
This Week: @ New Trier
EDGY's Take: The Hawks always get up for rival New Trier. The Trevians will be fighting for their playoff lives.

16. Batavia 6-2 (17)
Last Week: Beat St. Charles North, 27-26
This Week: vs Wheaton North
EDGY's Take: The Bulldogs always seem to find secure wins after trailing. RB Art Taylor carried the load in the victory. How long will it take for RB/LB Quinn Urwlier to return?

17. Hillcrest 7-1 (18)
Last Week: Beat Lemont, 32-26
This Week: vs T.F. North
EDGY's Take: RB Mar'Kiese Irving carried the Hawks to an impressive road win. Look for Hillcrest to be a very dangerous team to watch in Class 5A. 

18. Willowbrook 7-1 (19)
Last Week: Beat Morton, 44-0
This Week: vs Proviso East
EDGY's Take: The Warriors get a nice Week 9 test when upstart Proviso East comes calling with the West Suburban Gold title up for grabs.

19. Huntley 7-1 (20)
Last Week: Beat Burlington Central, 63-13
This Week: @ Dundee-Crown
EDGY's Take: The Red Raiders defensive line continues to draw rave reviews from fans and observers across the Fox Valley.

20. Montini 6-2 (21)
Last Week: Beat De La Salle, 42-0
This Week: vs Providence Catholic
EDGY's Take: The Broncos will look to secure a higher playoff seed with. A win on Friday against a strong Providence Catholic would go a long way.

21. Prairie Ridge 7-1 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Cary-Grove, 42-7
This Week: vs Crystal Lake South
EDGY's Take: The Wolves have all the ingredients to make a very deep run in Class 6A.

22. Fremd 6-2 (22)
Last Week: Beat Conant, 20-12
This Week: vs Hoffman Estates
EDGY's Take: The Vikings just find a way. They secured the Mid-Suburban West conference title in their victory over the Cougars.

23. Crete-Monee 8-0 (23)
Last Week: Beat Bloom, 56-6
This Week: vs Thornridge
EDGY's Take: The Warriors got another huge game from senior QB Trayvon Rudolph in the win over Bloom.

24. St. Charles East 6-2 (16)
Last Week: Lost to Wheaton North, 24-19
This Week: @ Lake Park
EDGY's Take: The Saints look to rebound this week after the loss to Wheaton North on Friday.

25. Rolling Meadows 8-0 (NR)
Last Week: Beat Wheeling, 63-14
This Week: @ Hersey
EDGY's Take: The Mustangs have received a huge season from Ball State verbal commit OL/DL Nate Pedraza.