Bears

NHL news: The latest in the Western Conference

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NHL news: The latest in the Western Conference

According to LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond, Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jonathan Quick has undergone a 'minor' back operation for an inflammatory cyst and disc fragment. He's expected to be able to return "sometime around" the start of training camp.

The 26-year-old standout who led the Kings to qualify for the playoffs in the first place, recently signed a 10-year contract with the team. Los Angeles still has yet to deal backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier who requested a trade after Quick's recent signing. It's likely they'll still trade him, but Bernier will probably be sticking around through the start of camp in case anything causes a delay in Quick's recovery.

Luongo, Schneider, or both?

Over the offseason, the Canucks gave backup goaltender Cory Schneider a three-year, 12 million contract, showing the team is looking for Schneider to make the backup-to-starter transition. There have been multiple reports of Luongo looking at teams such as the Panthers and Blackhawks, but GM Mike Gillis has said it shouldn't be a big surprise if Luongo at least starts the season in Vancouver. If that's the case, the Canucks would be paying the most money in the league on goaltending at 9.3 million.

Anaheim needs to get back in the game

Los Angeles stole the show last season in Southern California hockey, and now the Ducks need to quickly figure out how to improve during the 2012-13 season. The performances of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf will play a huge role in how their season plays out.

Getzlaf went from finishing the 2010-11 campaign with a plus-14 rating, to completing 2011-12 at minus-11, recording 11 goals and 46 assists in 82 games played. That resulted in a 5.9 shooting percentage, the lowest of his NHL career (he was at 16.2 the year before).

Perry went from recording 50 goals and 48 assists in 2010-11, to 37 and 23 this past season. His former plus-9 rating dropped to a minus-7, and his shooting average dropped by 3.8 as well. These two need to get back on their game for the Ducks to have a shot at a successful season.

Red Wings need defense

According to MLive.com, the Red Wings are reportedly talking to the Flames about acquiring veteran defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. Since former Detroit captain Niklas Lidstrom retired and Brad Stuart was traded to the Sharks, the Wings have needed a strong defender. And since Calgary's payroll skyrocketed after signing Dennis Wideman to a five-year, 26.25 million deal, this could be a strong option for Detroit.

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots


 Beating the, arguably, best coach and quarterback pairing in NFL history is a difficult enough task. Trying to do it while allowing two touchdowns on special teams? Good luck. 
 
The Bears will leave Soldier Field frustrated with their 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday for a number of reasons, but top of the list will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return score and a blocked Pat O’Donnell punt that was raced into the end zone by Kyle Van Noy. A special teams unit that had been solid all year — and forced a fumble on a Patterson kickoff return in the first quarter Sunday — suddenly became a disaster, allowing an uncharacteristically undisciplined Patriots side back into the game, and then ahead in it. 
 
Add in an inaccurate game from Mitch Trubisky — who completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions — and an uneventful afternoon for Khalil Mack and the pass rush, and the Bears had to scratch and claw to hang with New England. 
 
Interestingly, after all week hearing from Bears coaches and players about how they couldn’t let the Patriots take them out of their own game, it felt like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady did exactly that. Mack frequently dropped into coverage — but so did Leonard Floyd, so maybe it wasn’t all about Mack’s injured ankle. While Brady frequently got the ball out quick, when he didn’t he was rarely pressured. 
 
And on offense, Taylor Gabriel had the same number of targets (one) as offensive lineman Bradley Sowell until midway through the fourth quarter. Trubisky dazzled with his legs, covering over 70 yards on an eight-yard touchdown run and dancing his way to a 39-yard scramble that set up a touchdown in the third quarter. 
 
But Trubisky’s struggles were clear, with the second-year quarterback throwing two ill-advised passes that should’ve been picked off in the end zone and then underthrowing Anthony Miller in the fourth quarter, allowing Patriots safety Jonathan Jones to make a tremendous interception. New England drove 96 yards after that pick into the end zone, with Brady taking apart a defense that missed two tackles on a 55-yarder to Josh Gordon, extinguishing any hope the Bears had of a comeback.
 
While Trubisky did lead a scoring drive after Adrian Amos assisted Kyle Fuller for an interception, cutting the deficit to seven. And Trubisky nearly pulled off a miracle with a Hail Mary to Kevin White, which was completed just shy of the end zone. 
 
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3 and heaps plenty of pressure on Matt Nagy’s side to win seemingly-winnable games in the next three weeks: At home against the New York Jets, on the road against the Buffalo Bills and at home against the Detroit Lions. But then again: When the Jets come to town next weekend, it’ll have been nearly a month since the Bears’ last win. How the Bears fare over these next three games will be a clear window into if this team is a legitimate contender or one that faded after a strong start. 

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

The New England Patriots defense wasn’t giving Mitchell Trubisky many options through the air, so he decided to take matters into his own hands at Soldier Field.

The young quarterback’s legs were the Bears’ most-effective weapon in the first quarter, as Trubisky led the team with 35 rushing yards on four carries in the opening period of play.

He capped it off with an eight-yard touchdown scramble that had him looking like Michael Vick on the field.

The Bears will need to have a more well-rounded offensive attack to keep up with teams like the Patriots, but Trubisky found what was working in the first quarter.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s been smart and safe with his running, opting to slide and go to the ground on his big plays to avoid any big hits.

His legs continue to make this offense more dynamic, to keep up with top-notch opponents like New England.