Blackhawks

Parise won't say yet, delays domino effect

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Parise won't say yet, delays domino effect

The Decision hasnt been made.

It gives us another day here at Comcast SportsNet to get a satellite truck up to Minnesota, hire Jim Gray, and sell advertising time.

On second thought.

But second thoughts are apparently what the Devils captain is having after a brief visit with reporters at the headquarters of his agents office in Toronto. Leaving the only NHL team hes known, and wears the C for, after just getting to the Stanley Cup Final has to be weighing on him.

Pittsburghs said to be a favorite and if the Blackhawks have worked their way into his consideration, theres talent galore to play with. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and James Neal with the Pens. Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp here.

Parise doesnt seem the type where wanting to be The Guy is a top priority. But whether or not thats the case he definitely would be if he lands with Detroit (sans Nicklas Lidstrom) or Minnesota (as a returning hero in his home state). It doesnt seem like hes in play any further west.

Reporters half-jokingly whine about the wait, but Parise whos also getting married soon cant be blamed for doing this. Its where hes playing for the rest of his career. But how about the rest of the free agent dominoes waiting to fall? As of late Monday afternoon, in tandem with Ryan Suter being in the same non-decision boat Matt Carle, Shane Doan, Alex Semin, Jaromir Jagr and Olli Jokinen sit and wait -- their phones a little less busy. Theyre probably even more antsy than the media and the fans.

I cannot see the Hawks landing both Parise and Suter - and this ever-growing middle-aged gut of mine still tells me we wont be having a Parise press conference at the United Center. But if we do, Stan Bowman would be forced to make other moves on what is already a very crowded roster.

Id imagine hed want to keep all that skill together, and if thats the case another forward or two down the depth chart could very well be shipped elsewhere. Or maybe hed swap a big gun with Parise on board to get another top-four defenseman or an upgrade in goal. Yet another possibility is making decisions on a couple of kids who have been groomed and would be candidates to otherwise stick on the roster. If he helps any defense-hungry teams who miss out on Suter and Carle, perhaps he finds takers on one or two of his own veteran defensemen.

There are dominoes league-wide waiting on this decision, and if Parise comes to Chicago, other roster dominoes would almost certainly have to fall.

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks looking for defensive improvement from everyone, not just defensemen

The Blackhawks were able to get away with their defensive lapses in the past solely because of Corey Crawford. When he went down with a concussion last December, those issues were magnified because he wasn't there to mask the flaws.

But it's reached the point where they can't rely on their goaltender to bail them out on a nightly basis, which is becoming another trend. Cam Ward allowed six goals to Tampa Bay on Sunday night, but made 49 saves — including 30 in the second period alone. He did everything he could to keep his team withing some sort of reaching distance and without his timely stops, the scoreboard could've looked much worse for the Blackhawks.

Something's got to change. 

When the Blackhawks talk about tightening things up defensively, they're not just putting it all on the defensemen. All five guys on the ice need to do their part and they're not doing it right now.

"I think we're trying to do too much and running around trying to do each other's job," Jonathan Toews said. "Sometimes we just need to simply and finish our checks and support each other."

No team has given up more even-strength high-danger chances through eight games than the Blackhawks at 110. That's 15.77 per 60 minutes. For reference, the New York Islanders finished worst in the league in that category last season and their number was at 12.96.

It didn't help that the Blackhawks spent nearly the entire second period in their own end on Sunday.

"We just couldn’t get it out of our zone, couldn’t get our stick on it, didn’t see pressure, didn’t feel pressure when we had it, were stripped," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Hence, we didn’t advance it. Kept looking like we were going up the ice and there were going to be some odd-man situations and then we’re the ones who were facing it."

That's one way to eliminate those high quality scoring chances, is getting the puck out of their own zone effectively or else it opens the door for Grade-A opportunities because of self-inflicted wounds. And it usually happens at the end of shifts when guys are tired, which often leads to goals.

"We have to learn how to play without the puck better and learn how to keep it," Quenneville said. "Whether it was our execution going up the ice, first pass poor and then we couldn’t change. A lot of things that happened yesterday were there tonight."

The Blackhawks weren't using three games in four nights as an excuse because Tampa Bay was in the same situation. It was an even playing field in that respect.

It's all about execution from everyone involved, forwards and defensemen. And the Blackhawks feel they're correctable issues.

"Of course," Toews said. "We've had some good periods this season so far. The first three, four, five games, everyone was excited and you guys are all talking to us much differently than you are right now. It's just getting back to playing that smart defensive game and playing with effort and letting our offense do the work. We know what's got to improve. It's right there in front of us."

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

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USA TODAY

White Sox sign Enoy Jimenez, the 17-year-old brother of Eloy Jimenez

One Jimenez just isn't enough for the White Sox.

The White Sox signed the younger brother of top prospect Eloy Jimenez this weekend. Enoy Jimenez is a 17-year-old infielder, and the 21-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 3 prospect in baseball was on hand for his brother's big moment.

Eloy figures to hit the big leagues early next season, though it will likely be a while longer before his teenage brother could do the same. Still, they're likely hoping for the chance to play together one day.

According to this pretty exhaustive list from MLB.com, four sets of brothers have played together on the White Sox: Homer and Ted Blankenship in the 1920s, Dick and Hank Allen in the 1970s, Roberto and Sandy Alomar in 2003 and 2004 and John and Jordan Danks in 2012.

Should we be getting ready for the fifth pair?