Lakers hindering Bulls chances?


Lakers hindering Bulls chances?

By Ryan Thomas

The everlasting dramatic see-saw ride known only as the NBA Free Agency period has taken an unexpected twist. After analysts, bloggers, and fans alike had written off the Los Angeles Lakers as serious championship contenders, the front office exhibited a certain amount of patience that seems to have finally paid off.
The Lakers did it again, piecing together another blockbuster deal that will surely shift the balance of power in the NBA. After agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal with the Phoenix Suns that will bring in All-Star point guard Steve Nash to play alongside Kobe Bryant, Bulls fans can only sit and wonder at how this effects their own championship window.
The arrival of Nash in Hollywood only makes the Bulls' situation more difficult, who at one point this off-season were courting the two-time MVP. Dealing with a grocery list stock-full of injuries and unproven rookies, one can only hope that Bulls general manager Gar Forman has something up his sleeve. Trade rumors surrounding the team have seemed too cool, and after the Houston Rockets lavish investment in Omer Asik, there's a real possibility that the Bulls' fan favorite may be on his way out.
What now? After missing out on coveted scoring options such as Jason Terry and Ray Allen on the market, the only remaining solutions at this point seem to be on the trading block, if the Bulls are willing to part ways with a core piece, or a second-tiered free agent. Pending luxury taxes have hitteams around the league hard, as a result of back-loaded long-term contracts. At a time where most teams like to take an aggressive approach towards the open market, the Bulls have been forced to play the waiting game.

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

Blackhawks select Adam Boqvist with the No. 8 overall pick

DALLAS — For the first time since drafting Patrick Kane first overall in 2007, the Blackhawks owned a top-10 pick in the NHL Draft. There was speculation that Stan Bowman might get aggressive and trade the No. 8 selection for immediate help if a deal made sense.

Instead, the draft couldn't have unfolded more favorably for the Blackhawks, who elected to keep the pick and drafted defenseman Adam Boqvist.

Boqvist is a 5-foot-11, 168-pound right-handed shot blue-liner who's drawn comparisons to Erik Karlsson, given his offensive ability.

“You can never have enough D, he moves the puck, he’s very active in the play, very dynamic in a lot of ways," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on the NBCSN broadcast. "He can help our power play down the road, I am looking forward to seeing how he does in the summer and going into camp.

"There’s opportunity here on the back end with our team, and it’s going to be competitive along the way, but certainly you got a guy that can move the puck and get involved offensively, those guys are hard to find.”

He compiled 24 points (14 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games for the Brynas J20 squad in the SuperElit league, and added three goals and two assists in three playoff games. But his production dropped off when he moved up to the Swedish Hockey League, where he registered only one assist in 15 games.

As we mentioned in our NHL Draft Profile this week, there are a few concerns about Boqvist.

He's only 17 years old and isn't the best defender, meaning the Blackhawks must be patient with his development. He's also sustained head injuries over the course of his young career, which adds some risk to the equation.

Boqvist joins Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell as the team's top three defensive prospects, all of whom have right-handed shots.

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman: Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford 'progressing like he normally would'

Stan Bowman likes where Corey Crawford is at this state of the offseason, he said Friday prior to the NHL Draft.

Speaking with NBC Sports Chicago's Pat Boyle, Bowman noted that while Crawford hasn't begun doing any on-ice work, that isn't unusual for players this early.

"We’ve been in contact with Corey and I think he’s been progressing like he normally would," Bowman said. "Most guys don’t do a lot of on-ice work the first couple of months of the offseason.

"Typically they get back on the ice sometime in July, some guys don’t skate until August. I think that’s sort of the plan for Corey as we go along here. I would say he’s right on the normal schedule for the offseason and we’ll just see how that goes."

That's good news for the Blackhawks, who sorely missed Crawford a year ago. The three-time Stanley Cup champion appeared in just 28 games, earning a 16-9-2 record and a 2.27 GAA.