Bears

Shaw's status for Tuesday up in the air

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Shaw's status for Tuesday up in the air

GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Shaw stood in the Blackhawks locker room, fielding the obvious questions after his hit on Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith on Saturday night. Whether hell have to answer for it from the NHL remains to be seen.

Shaw was assessed a five-minute charging and a game misconduct for his hit on Smith, who was down for several moments and then popped up and finished the game in the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime victory over Phoenix. Smith was prone for a few moments, as Shaw was sent to the penalty box and, soon after, to the locker room.

Then Smith got up and told trainers that he could finish the game. Afterward, Smith, through the Coyotes media relations department, said, I feel fine. Im 100 percent.

And then, of course, there was the inevitable he saidhe said on what happened.

I went back to play the puck and I didnt see him coming, Smith said via Coyotes PR. I dont have eyes in the back of my head.

Coach Joel Quenneville said, I think (Shaw) was trying to avoid contact. Its a tough call. He was playing well again, too.

Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said the league will look at that. Obviously thats contact at the head and it doesnt matter if its a goaltender or a player. Thats blind-side contact to the head.

Shaw said he didnt mean to do it.

He went to play the puck and his stick came up toward my face so I tried to get out of the way of it. Unfortunately I made contact. I didnt try to hit him but unfortunately I did, Shaw said. Im just glad hes OK and he could finish the game.

When Smith was down, it looked like he wouldnt be able to keep playing. Backup goaltender Jason LaBarbera came out onto the ice and stretched, seemingly in preparation to relieve Smith. Nevertheless, Shaws night was over.

I dont know if it came down to whether the officials thought Smith was going to stay in the game or not. Obviously they thought he was done and thats probably why he got the 5-minute penalty, Jonathan Toews said. From what I saw, Shaw wasnt going in there trying to take his head off. From what I saw, he was trying to avoid contact and that was unfortunate that it happened.

Whether or not Shaw hears from the league on the hit is unknown right now. The Blackhawks dont play again until Tuesday, so if there is anything it doesnt have to be decidedbe announced until Monday.

I dont know. Well see what happens, Shaw said. Its just unfortunate. Im just glad hes OK.

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

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USA TODAY

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

The theme of the 2018-19 NBA season will be: “old faces in new places”. Like a season-long game of the NBA on TNT crew’s “Who he play for?” game, this year will be about fans trying to get used to the idea of LeBron James in purple (I won’t call it ‘Forum Blue’)-and-gold, DeMarcus Cousins being on a championship-contending franchise and Kawhi Leonard being the new face of Toronto.

The Warriors are still the easy favorite to make it four NBA championships in five years, but they will be tested perhaps more than any year before in a loaded Western Conference, where even the lowliest of teams (here’s to you Phoenix and Memphis!) made solid offseason moves geared towards winning games.

Over in the now-LeBron-less East, there is hope amongst at least four-to-five teams that they could actually have a shot to win the conference. The Pacers still have budding superstar Victor Oladipo, the Sixers still have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Raptors and Bucks made head coaching changes that could lead to deep playoff runs. But with the rest of the Eastern conference being stuck between lottery contention and middle of the pack, expect the half-experienced, half-youthful Celtics to takeover as East juggernaut.

But whether or not your favorite franchise is aiming for a high draft pick or a postseason berth, there is tons to be excited in a 2018-19 NBA season that will surely be an intriguing one. Check out Week 1 of our NBA Power Rankings right here.