Bears

Saad working to stick with Blackhawks

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Saad working to stick with Blackhawks

PITTSBURGH Brandon Saad stood on the CONSOL Energy Center podium amid cheers from the hometown fans. The Blackhawks second-round selection from a summer ago, Saad announced the teams first-round pick this year as the applause for him grew.

It was a great moment for the Pittsburgh native who, in a year, went from a second-round pick to making the Blackhawks roster out of training camp to being called up for postseason games. And as Saad goes through his summer workouts, hes looking to make the Blackhawks roster again and stick around longer.

That was a goal last year, even though it was more lofty. And now, definitely the goal is to make the team, said Saad, who will be attending the Blackhawks prospect camp later this summer.

But it was training camp last fall where Saad surprised everyone. Coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw, and Saad kept earning preseason games. It paid off, as he started the season with the Blackhawks against the Dallas Stars before returning to the Saginaw Spirit. Saad tallied 34 goals and 76 points and earned the Spirits MVP award. And his work there got him recalled by the Blackhawks for two playoff games against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Quenneville said Saads potential should continue to grow.

He had a good start, and he showed at the end of the year that he was capable of playing in a playoff game. It looked like he was comfortable and ready to take off. I was talking to several people in the junior leagues; he had a dynamic year (with Saginaw) where he was arguably the top guy in the league. It looked like he progressed in size, strength and in hockey. His upside is exciting.

Saad said hes working on getting stronger and faster this offseason. Hes determined to get back and stick with the Blackhawks this season. Its been a heck of a year for the Pittsburgh native. Hes looking to continue the dream.

To be honest, it feels like yesterday I was getting drafted, he said. It was a huge year for me. It was awesome, to be honest, the experiences I got to go through.

Allen Robinson appears on latest 'Big Guys in a Benz'

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USA TODAY

Allen Robinson appears on latest 'Big Guys in a Benz'

New Bears wideout Allen Robinson appears on the latest episode of 'Big Guys in a Benz' hosted by Anthony Adams. In the episode, Robinson touches on a number of topics from growing up rooting for the Minnesota Vikings despite being from Detroit, his favorite Chicago baseball team and how he went about free agency.

When asked where the Bears were ranked when looking at teams in free agency, Robinson said the Bears were No. 1 on his list.

...especially once they hired coach Nagy, you know, I had been watching his work over the past couple of years and I know it's a system that I would definitely fit into and flourish in. 

As far as growing up a Vikings fan?

Bears fans can forgive Robinson as he grew up idolizing Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss. He went on to explain that once a year for his birthday he would get to go see the Vikings play in Detroit. Things came full-circle for Robinson when he was able to train for four weeks straight with Moss last summer, which Robinson said "took his game to the next level". 

When pressed to choose White Sox or Cubs, Robinson quickly responded "Cubs", making his allegiance to the North Siders known. 

And though the interview didn't touch on Robinson's ACL rehab, it did show how Robinson is quickly endearing himself to Bears fans as he prepares for a bounce-back season. 

38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North

38 Days to Kickoff - Glenbrook North

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting July 30, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 24.

School: Glenbrook North

Head coach: Bob Pieper

Assistant coaches: Matt Purdy, Dom Savino, Justin Weiner, Justin Georgacakis, Matt Miller, Brad Hokin, Ernie Brandt and Mike Nabolotny

How they fared in 2017: 5-4 (2-3 Central Suburban North Conference). Glenbrook North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2018 Regular Season Schedule:

Aug. 24 @ Wheeling

Sept. 1 vs Grant

Sept. 7 vs Hoffman Estates

Sept. 14 @ Elk Grove

Sept. 21 @ Maine West

Sept. 28 vs Highland Park

Oct. 5 @ Maine East

Oct. 12 vs Deerfield

Oct. 19 vs Vernon Hills

[MORE: 61 Days to Kickoff - Maine West]

Biggest storyline: Will the Spartans' growing pains from last season pay off come August?

Names to watch this season: DB Ben Kieffer and OL Nick Mantas

Biggest holes to fill: The Spartans welcome back an impressive 15 starters (eight offense, seven defense) this season. That said, who will be the main ball carrier this season for the Spartans?

EDGY's Early Take: Glenbrook North posted a winning record in 2017, but a low playoff point total kept the Spartans watching the playoffs at home. Look for a much more experienced team on both sides of the football this fall that will contend for the Central Suburban North conference title and a state playoff spot.