No trades yet, but Bowman remains ready to 'pull the trigger'


No trades yet, but Bowman remains ready to 'pull the trigger'

PITTSBURGH The 2012 NHL Entry Draft had barely begun when the trades did, too, the blockbuster coming just a few minutes in when the host Penguins dealt Jordan Staal to the Carolina Hurricanes.

But other than that first wave, it was a pretty quiet trade night. The Blackhawks were one of those quiet teams. But general manager Stan Bowman expects the trades to pick up soon and his team could be making moves, too.

Bowman said nothing panned out as the Blackhawks wrapped up Day 1 of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft on Friday. But just because nothing happened tonight didnt mean something couldnt happen soon.

There might be a misconception: unless youre trading draft picks, you dont have to get it done before the draft, Bowman said. We have a full compliment (of picks). Were still open to making moves, but that can happen at any point. I wouldnt rule anything in or out. Were willing to do something if it makes sense. If it does, well pull the trigger.

We didnt have to get done tonight, he said. We could easily do a trade on Monday.

Yes, theres still plenty of time for things to shake out. Theres about a week remaining until free agency, which begins on July 1, and then thats a whole new ballgame. And while the Blackhawks have a full roster, one that Bowman and coach Joel Quenneville said they feel fine moving forward with, shaking things up is probably in the Blackhawks best interests. A source said that defensemen Niklas Hjlmarsson was likely to be shopped.

Bowman wouldnt say what, specifically, he was looking for.

I wouldnt characterize it as one thing, he said. We have a lot of guys who are attractive to other teams. If we can get the right player, well do it.

The talk was still there on Friday. It will probably be there again on Saturday, and continue once all of the GMs leave Pittsburgh. Bowman said hell do whats necessary to improve the Blackhawks. The right deal could do that.

Were open to anything, Bowman said. You cant rule things out. Certain players you wont move. But you have to be able to listen. Opportunities are there but we have to see where it goes.

Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

Brian Campbell on Adam Boqvist's progression and preaching patience in his development

The breakout star of Blackhawks development camp in July was undoubtedly Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018. It was evident how much his game has grown over the past year.

Former Blackhawks defenseman — and now player development coach — Brian Campbell worked closely with Boqvist this past season and raved about the steps he took with the London Knights in the OHL. But Campbell is also preaching patience in Boqvist's development. Boqvist just turned 19 on Thursday, and it's important to let him develop at his own pace.

“Yeah, I was impressed," Campbell said in an interview with NBC Sports Chicago. "Obviously, he’s come a long way in a year from last development camp. There’s no pressure being put on him. He’ll develop at his time. If he pushes for a spot, great, but I just don’t want people to get away. There’s a lot to keep learning and he wants to learn, which is the greatest thing. His teammates love him: great thing. He wants to do extra and learn the game: great thing. He is preparing himself days before, even in development camp, he’s preparing himself days before. So all great things and he’s on the right path.

"Hopefully that happens and maybe it does happen but if it doesn’t then that’s not the case and he keeps getting better and wants to keep getting better. Definitely, we know his skill level is there and I think he’s taken a huge step in the last year in preparing himself and knowing how to prepare as a pro player now. There’s a lot of great things there, and hopefully he does do that, but for me, I just don’t want to put too much on him right now. He’s turning 19 soon so he’s still a really young kid and it’s a tough position to play at a pro level. Believe me, I’m smiling, but I just don’t want to force the issue too much. Hopefully he can do some great things, but if he doesn’t, then that’s OK too.” 

With Cubs reeling, Jon Lester comes up big and plays stopper


With Cubs reeling, Jon Lester comes up big and plays stopper

The last three games have been more than forgettable for the Cubs.

From Wednesday’s 11-1 drubbing at the hands of the Phillies to back-to-back walk-off losses on Thursday and Friday, the Cubs’ current road trip has looked much like those that preceded it. At various times, the offense has scuffled, the rotation has pitched a clunker and the bullpen has cracked.

The solution to the latest road trip woes? Give the ball to Jon Lester and get the hell out of the way.

Lester —  who pitched a clunker himself Aug. 6 against the A’s — did what the Cubs have become so accustomed to see him do over the past four seasons. The 35-year-old tossed 6+ shutout innings, allowing just four hits, leading the Cubs to a 2-0 win.

Lester had no room for error on Saturday, as the Cubs offense went hitless for the first 4 1/3 innings. While the Cubs bats were asleep, the Pirates threatened to break the game on open multiple times, loading the bases with one out (first inning), no outs (fifth) and getting runners on first and second with no outs in the sixth.

The latter two of those instances were assisted by errors by third baseman Kris Bryant, but that’s neither here nor there. Point being, with how the Cubs looked offensively, any Pirates runs could have proved critical on Saturday. Instead, Lester worked out of every jam, stymying the Pirates bats to an 0-for-12 line with RISP.

Winning Saturday’s game was obviously important for the Cubs, as it puts them a game ahead of the Cardinals in the win column (pending the outcome of St. Louis's game against the Reds later Saturday). But it was equally important for Lester, who called himself the “weakest link” in the Cubs starting rotation after that tough outing against the A’s.

The beautiful thing about baseball is that the regular season is 162 games long. Each day presents teams with a new slate, a chance to forget about what happened in the previous game and move forward.  If Saturday’s start shows anything, it’s that Lester and the Cubs are more than capable of putting a tough game in the rearview mirror and keep moving forward.

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