Blackhawks

Kap: Rizzo to debut Tuesday?

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Kap: Rizzo to debut Tuesday?

The arrival of heralded prospect Anthony Rizzo is imminent with Tuesday expected to be the day that he begins his Cubs career and as the long-term answer as the first baseman in Chicago.

Rizzo has dominated AAA pitching for the better part of the last two seasons and he will arrive in Chicago with the weight of a struggling franchise on his shoulders no matter how much Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer may try to tamper the enthusiasm of the longest suffering fan base in professional sports.

While speculation centered on Rizzos arrival coming while the Cubs were playing this weekend in Arizona or during interleague play, it makes sense to bring him up to the big league club on Tuesday or Wednesday when the Cubs will play the New York Mets.

Monday the Mets will start one of the toughest left-handers in baseball in veteran Johan Santana who dominates hitters with a variety of off-speed pitches including a devastating changeup that even the best hitters in the game can look foolish on.

The Cubs front office wants to put Rizzo in the best possible position to succeed and having him make his debut on Tuesday or Wednesday is a much better scenario than having him face Santana in addition to all of the hoopla that will coincide with his arrival at Wrigley Field.

Fans need to temper their expectations regarding Rizzo because he arrives in an impossible situation, on a last place team and expected to automatically become an All-Star caliber player. He is a solid offensive player and a very good defender but he needs time to learn the major league game and he needs to experience failure before he can truly achieve the heights that many are predicting for him.

Dont look for him in the lineup at Wrigley Field on Monday night but if you can clear your schedule for Tuesday night, that might be a great opportunity to watch one of the best prospects the organization has had in a long time make his Cubs debut.

They have only been looking for a left-handed difference maker since Rafael Palmeiro was traded away before the 1989 season and with the exception of Mark Grace, who never drove in 100 runs but was a solid hitter, the Cubs have been almost devoid of left-handed run production in the past 20 years.

Rizzo should be an important core piece as Epstein and Hoyer continue their overhaul of the worst team in baseball and if he is what they expect him to be, it would be cool to say you saw his first game ever in a Cubs uniform.

That opportunity should come early this week at Wrigley Field.

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

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USA Today

Corey Crawford to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Oilers

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they take on the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night. He's 0-2-0 with a 4.63 goals-against average and .875 save percentage this season.

In 18 career appearances against the Oilers, Crawford is 9-7-0 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .909 save percentage and one shutout. 

The decision is a little surprising, given how well Lehner performed on Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets and what his career numbers are against the Oilers. In eight starts vs. Edmonton, Lehner is 5-1-2 with a 1.86 goals-against average, .943 save percentage and one shutout.

"We're going to continue to ... both guys are going to get in," coach Jeremy Colliton said after Monday's morning skate. "They're both going to play. I'm not going to give you the road map, but today it's Crawford and we'll go from there."

The Blackhawks are seeking their first win of the season (0-2-1) against an Oilers team that's 5-0-0.

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VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

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NBC Sports Chicago

VOTE: Wintrust Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

NBC Sports Chicago and Wintrust present our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of passionate high school sports followers. Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @NBCSPreps crew will cover on Thursday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights and postgame reaction of that game will appear on Friday night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00 p.m. The show also live streams at www.nbcsportschicago.com/watchlive and appears in the MyTeams app.  High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following Saturday on NBC Sports Chicago. 

This week, for the first time ever, our Wintrust “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week” will be a boys soccer match—and we have some pretty nice local rivalries on deck. Which game is the most worthy of coverage?

Plainfield Central at Plainfield North, 4:30 p.m.

Fenwick at Oak Park-River Forest, 5:30 p.m.

Mundelein at Carmel, 6:30 p.m.

To participate, our fans are encouraged to do the following:

**Follow our NBC Sports Chicago preps Twitter page: @NBCSPreps.

**Note the pinned tweet that is atop the feed.

**Vote for the game you want NBC Sports Chicago to cover Thursday night.

**Spread the word!

The poll will start promptly at 12:00 p.m. Monday. We will make an announcement with the official results on @NBCSPreps just after 3 p.m. Thursday. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @NBCSPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other high school sports news, scores and highlights, all season long.