Blackhawks

Proviso East wins Schaumburg sectional

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Proviso East wins Schaumburg sectional

By George M. Wilcox
YourSeason.com
Strong starts are becoming a habit for No. 2 Proviso East.The Pirates led by 16 points at the end of the first quarter and hammered host Schaumburg 78-39 Friday night at the Class 4A Schaumburg Sectional final. Top-seeded Proviso East (30-0) did it with defense and 6-foot-4 junior Sterling Brown (six rebounds), who scored 14 of his team-high 18 points in the first half. Keith Carter added 13 points for Proviso, which will play West Aurora (25-5) in the Hinsdale Central Supersectional at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.We played well. We like to jump out on teams, Brown said. We like to get out quick and dont want to give teams a chance to get back in the game.Browns eight points in the first quarter was twice as many as Schaumburgs entire team. Proviso scored 10 consecutive points to open a 12-3 lead and led 20-4 at the end of the first quarter.Thats been our M.O. all year is to get out fast, said first-year Pirates coach Donnie Boyce. Our effort was nice. I thought everyone was locked in tonight. Everyone stayed within the game.Kyle Bolger led No. 21 and third-seeded Schaumburg (24-6) with 20 points. The Saxons lost in a sectional final for the third consecutive time in coach Matt Walshs third year.Senior Christian Spandiary was limited to only six points and played his final game for the Mid-Suburban League West champion Saxons after a standout three-year varsity career.We didnt execute. We didnt play hard, Spandiary said. But Im proud of us. I dont care about the score. We tried our hardest. Thats all I care about.As the days go by, what weve done this year is going to be all-time point of pride, Walsh said.The Proviso defense held Schaumburg without a basket for over seven minutes in the first half and then another nine minutes midway through the game. The Saxons shot 1-of-5 from the floor in the first quarter, 3 of 12 in the first half.They turned the ball over the first couple of plays. We kind of knew we had them, the Saint Louis-bound Carter said.Proviso scored the first nine points Tuesday night in the sectional semifinal win over Lake Park and led 20-5 at the end of the first quarter in that game.The Pirates have won 30 games for the fourth time in school history and the first time since the 1992 team went undefeated. Proviso won its 14th sectional title, the first since 2006.This was probably our best game, said Boyce, a member of the 1991 state title team. I have pushed the guys hard this week. Obviously, they were not happy about that, but I like the end result.

5 things we have learned after the Blackhawks first 5 games

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USA TODAY

5 things we have learned after the Blackhawks first 5 games

The Blackhawks hahve played five games, all five went to over time, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane each have five goals.

So here are five things we've learned from the Blackhawks first five games.

1.    Blackhawks have a flair for the dramatic:

They are the first team in NHL history with 5 straight overtime games to begin a season. According to Elias, It also has never happened in the history of MLB, NBA or NFL. Not only have they not lost a game in regulation, but they have rallied in the third period in four of their five games. No final period rally was more dramatic than the home opener, when Patrick Kane & Auston Matthews had a three goal trade-off in a :56 second span, complete with a celly battle.

2.    Toews looks like a different player:

Or should I say, he looks like the guy who played a huge role in three Stanley Cups. The captain is faster, hard on the puck and making plays that we haven’t seen in the last few years. His nine points are tied with line-mate Alex DeBrincat for the team lead and amongst the top point getters in the league. Toews said before the season that he was humbled by missing the playoffs and it’s clear he heard the criticism about his lack of offensive production. Hard work this summer and solid chemistry with DeBrincat and Dominik Kahun have paid off in the first two weeks. Toews said he wanted to get back to having fun and so far, he’s had plenty to smile about.

3.    Power Play still needs to be fixed:

It was a major issue last season(ranked 28th) and it’s still a concern this year. They have only cashed in on 2 of 18 power plays, which ranks them 23rd in the NHL. I like the 1-3-1 set up and top unit that includes Kane, Toews, Schmaltz, DeBrincat and Jokiharju. They made a tweak last game, putting DeBrincat at the top of the slot and Schmaltz at the left circle. They are hoping to take advantage of Cat’s quick and accurate shot. The other concern on the power play is the entries. They continue to use the drop pass as their primary way to enter the zone. It’s not been very successful this season. They may need to install one more option on the entry. The bottom line, they won’t make the playoffs if their power play ranks in the bottom third of the league.

4.    Blackhawks blue line is still a work in progress:

Henri Jokiharju has been a tremendous addition to a group that was a major question mark entering the season. Jokiharju is the second best defenseman on the team right now and with Duncan Keith, they are a legit top 4 pairing. The problem with the other two pairs are major inconsistencies. You will see a stretch of solid play, but it’s inevitably followed by a crucial turnover or defensive breakdown. In this loaded central division, a handful of defensive miscues could be the difference in making the playoffs or being on the golf course in April.

5.    Cam isn’t Crow:

Cam Ward has been solid in his first 5 games as a Blackhawk. It’s actually incredible the Hawks are 3-0-2 when you consider Ward has a .879 Sv% and 4.07 GAA. Unlike last season’s fill-ins, Ward has been able to avoid the dreaded soft goal. It still looks like Corey Crawford could return Thursday against Arizona, or this weekend at the latest, when they play back-to-back tilts. Everyone is crossing their fingers that Crow will not experience any setbacks when he returns to the crease. Joel Quenneville said the team doesn’t like to carry 3 goalies, but they may be forced to do that, with uncertainty surrounding Crawford and Anton Forsberg having to pass through waivers before being sent to Rockford. Goaltending is everything in the NHL and in all likelihood the Blackhawks postseason chances still hinge on Crawford returning to the form we’ve seen the last several years.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!