Random News of the Day: Byfuglien, Thibodeau

Random News of the Day: Byfuglien, Thibodeau

Thursday, June 24, 2010
4:24 PM

By Joe Collins

Random Thoughts And Observations

I HOPE THEY LIKE WAFFLE HOUSE: Talk about a reality check for Dustin Byfuglien, Ben Eager and Brent Sopel. Just two weeks ago, they were hoisting the Stanley Cup, sipping champagne and floating along in a victory parade with two million revelers. Now? Off to Atlanta-- a city with as much hockey buzz as the "one flag" segment of the "Six Flags" commercials. The Atlanta Thrashers ranked 28th out of 30 teams in attendance last year and have yet to win a playoff game in franchise history (dating back to 2005-06). Yikes.

JUST DON'T CALL HIM TIM TEBOW: New Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said all the right things at Wednesday's introductory press conference. What he said best though, and alluded to often, was his diligent work ethic: "I'm a serious-minded coach. I'm not going to apologize for it." And that's exactly what I would expect from a guy who has a Bachelor of Science degree and a master's degree in counseling. And good for the Bulls, you know? They get a tireless, defensive-minded Bill Nye the Science Guy-type who doesn't mess around and knows a thing or two about accountability. People have wondered about his offensive schematics, but will that really matter if (gulp) King James comes 'a calling?

GAME ON: What actual Milton Bradley game best represents the games that Milton Bradley played with the Cubs? I hate reopening the 'ol Milton Bradley wound but I couldn't resist this week, given that the Cubs are in Bradley's new stomping grounds-- Seattle. Here's my list:

Jenga (you know it's going to implode, it's just a matter of when)
Scattergories (emphasis on the "scatter" part)
Axis & Allies (Appropriate, as it was part of the "Gamemaster" series)
Splat! (A game of fallen expectations)

AND FINALLY: I like how the NHL Awards were in Las Vegas. In fact, shouldn't each of the "Big 4" (baseball, basketball, football and hockey) have a Vegas-based awards show? Think of the possibilities! Lady Gaga and Jerry Seinfeld could co-host the MLB Awards, with umpire Joe West serving as some kind of red carpet bouncer. Jack Nicholson presenting a lifetime achievement trophy at the NBA awards is a no-brainer. And heck, there's all this talk about how the Pro Bowl is lame and poorly attended by the star players themselves. Why not combine the Pro Bowl and an awards show in Vegas?'d have a line of NFL'ers stretching all the way to Henderson to get in on the action. Somebody get Wayne Newton on the phone...

Or something like that.

Coming Monday: Yellow Cards, Red Cards & Man Cards

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona


Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

All of the good graces Bill Belichick may have won on Tuesday afternoon -- when he compared the Bears' offense to Kansas City's -- are officially gone. 

Today, when talking to reporters, a Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison came up. Belichick, who coached LT as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, was NOT having it: 

"Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in (LT’s) class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor."

A bit harsh, Bill. 

For what it's worth, here's Khalil Mack's 2018 projection, assuming his latest ankle injury doesn't make him miss time: 

20 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries

That's .5 sacks less and four INTS, 16 FFs and 4 recoveries more than LT had in his 1986 MVP season. And yeah, maybe "they didn't record tackles/fumbles in 1986" and "16 forced fumbles would not only blow the current record (10) out of the water but is just plain unrealistic" but whatever, we're just sayin'. 

UPDATE: shocker, LT agrees: