Bulls

Shanahan addresses Stanley Cup playoff violence

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Shanahan addresses Stanley Cup playoff violence

The NHL's head disciplinarian, Brendan Shanahan, chose to defend his suspension decisions in Monday's USA Today.

Specifically, Shanahan fully disagrees with the theory many have put forward as the reasoning for such a violent 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs thus far. In Game 1 of the postseason between the Predators and Red Wings, Nashville's Shea Weber grabbed Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg and rammed it into the glass as time expired. Weber was not suspended and fined 2,500.

Shanahan doesn't believe that his decision not to suspend Weber has been a catalyst for the postseason issues, saying "Did you ever sit in a dressing room in the playoffs, and say, I was going to play this one straight tonight, but Shea Weber didnt get suspended so Im going to go to a completely different planet and go off the rails?

He even cites the Andrew Shaw hit on Mike Smith in his explanation:

I dont think Andrew Shaw decided to run a goalie because of Shea Weber. I dont think he woke up that day and said, I think that decision means I can run goalies.

Do you agree with Shanahan's comments? Is each just an isolated incident or did the light punishment for Weber contribute to the problems?

Did Lauri Markkanen just troll the Timberwolves and their current state of dysfunction?

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USA TODAY

Did Lauri Markkanen just troll the Timberwolves and their current state of dysfunction?

The NBA Almanac will forever say that Lauri Markkanen was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Officially, he was. NBA draft-night trades, for whatever reason, don't officially process until later in the night.

So on June 22, 2017, with the Timberwolves on the clock - though the trade between the Bulls and Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler had been agreed upon - they "selected" Markkanen.

The 7-foot Finnish sharpshooter walked across the stage to Adam Silver donning a Timberwolves hat, all the while knowing he was headed to Chicago.

Well, just 15 months later that same Timberwolves team is in a current state of dysfunction and it appears Markkanen is having some fun with it all.

To recap, Butler wants out of Minnesota (and prefers the Clippers, Nets or Knicks as a destination) before cashing in during free agency next summer.

Andrew Wiggins' brother took to Twitter shortly after to express how happy he was with a quote tweet that said "Hallelujah!"

Butler then posted a video on his Instagram of himself working out where, at the very end, he yells "Hallelujah!"

Stephen Jackson and Wiggins' brother then went at it on Instagram and, well, you get the picture. The Timberwolves franchise is in a state of panic and the whole thing could blow up in Tom Thibodeau's face.

And here's Lauri, trolling with the best of 'em through it all.

Home run ball continues to sting Cubs' starting pitching

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AP

Home run ball continues to sting Cubs' starting pitching

Cubs' starting pitchers have been on a roll recently, anchoring the team during its 30-day stretch without a day off. Over each of their last six starts (entering Wednesday), Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks and José Quintana have been flat-out dominant.

Mike Montgomery has been stellar lately as well, allowing two runs or less in five of his last six starts. One common trend, though, is that Cubs' starting pitchers have been susceptible to the long ball as of late.

Hamels has allowed five home runs total in his last three starts, including two Wednesday night. The veteran left-hander surrendered a three-run blast in the first inning as well as a two-run shot in the sixth inning.

Lester has not allowed a home run since Aug. 27 against the Mets, but Hendricks has allowed one in two of his last three starts. Quintana allowed two solo homers in Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Reds, while Montgomery has given up one in each of his last two starts.

Home runs by the oppposition haven't hurt the Cubs much recently, as they are 18-11 in their last 29 games. The pitching staff has been excellent down the stretch, outside of Wednesday's 9-0 loss.

Even then, though, the offense scored zero runs on one hit, so the three home runs that the pitching staff allowed ultimately did not matter.

Come October, though, it could be something to look out for, when one swing of the bat could change a game or series instantly.