Blackhawks

Jacobs repays young fan with a day he won't soon forget

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Jacobs repays young fan with a day he won't soon forget

When the Bears take on the 49ers in San Francisco on Monday Night Football Nov. 19, it might be okay Julius Peppers and the defense don't inflict too much damage on one particular Niners running back.

When Brandon Jacobs left the New York Giants to sign with the 49ers in late March, one young Giants fan in New Jersey took the news particularly hard. When six-year-old Joe Armento asked his mother, Julie, why his favorite player was leaving his favorite team, she explained that the Giants didn't have enough money to keep Jacobs. So, Joe took action.

He broke open his piggy bank and emptied its contents -- 3.36 worth of pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters -- and sent a letter to Jacobs which read: "Dear Brandon Jacobs, So you could go to the Giants, here is my money. Love, Joe."

On Wednesday, Jacobs refilled Joe's piggy bank by giving him a 5 bill while going a step further and providing the young boy with day he'll likely never forget.

According to The Sacramento Bee, Jacobs took Joe, his four-year-old brother and Jacobs' own son, Brayden, to Jump On In bounce house in Boonton, N.J.

"It was just us in the whole place, and we were just going room to room just bouncing and flipping all over the place, hitting each other with balls, sweating, our shirts filthy," Jacobs told the Bee. "We were just dirty, stinky boys, you know?"

Jacobs also gave Joe a signed Giants football helmet with the following message: "To Joe: Thanks for being a fan. God bless, Brandon Jacobs."

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

He’s back.

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes, coach Joel Quenneville confirmed after morning skate on Thursday morning.

"It’s exciting," Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."

The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks will assign forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.

For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.

Bulls will open against Sixers without Kris Dunn

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USA TODAY

Bulls will open against Sixers without Kris Dunn

The Bulls faced a steep test opening their 2018-19 campaign against the Philadelphia 76ers.

That task won't become any easier with Kris Dunn missing the game for personal reasons, head coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters at shootaround on Thursday.

Dunn's exlusion opens up an opportunity for Cameron Payne, who will enter the starting lineup. Payne started 14 games for the Bulls last season, averaging 9.4 points and 5.6 assists in 26.5 minutes.

It also moves up Ryan Arcidiacono and Tyler Ulis, both of whom will be active, in the rotation. Expect both to see at least some playing time, especially with Denzel Valentine also out while recovering from a sprained ankle suffered in training camp.

It could mean an even bigger evening for Sixers point guard Ben Simmons. The reigning Rookie of the Year posted 19 points, 15 rebounds and 8 assists in Philly's season-opening loss to the Celtics on Tuesday.