Blackhawks

Smit's Walk-A-Thon Leads To Mesa Loss

Smit's Walk-A-Thon Leads To Mesa Loss

Thursday Oct. 21, 2010
Posted: 8:15 a.m.
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
ARIZONA FALL LEAGUEMesa Solar Sox Cubs
Kyle Smit had his worst outing as a member of the Cubs on Wednesday night, taking the loss as Scottsdale downed Mesa, 6-3.

Smit gave up two runs on two hits in 1 13 innings. He also walked four in what was his wildest outing since he walked four on April 29, 2009 while pitching for Great Lakes in the Midwest League. Smit had walked only four in 18 13 innings for Double-A Tennessee since coming over from the Dodgers in a July deadline deal.

Chris Carpenter also pitched, throwing 1 23 scoreless innings while striking out a pair.

Josh Vitters had a pair of hits, including a double, for the second consecutive day to push his batting average to .308. Ryan Flaherty was 0-for-4.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

What adjustments Blackhawks could make against Oilers for Game 3

What adjustments Blackhawks could make against Oilers for Game 3

The Blackhawks set the tone in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers by dominating at even strength and potting three power-play goals against the second-ranked penalty kill.

The Edmonton Oilers flipped the script and made the correct adjustments in Game 2, scoring 19 seconds into the game and never giving up control of it.

It's the Blackhawks' turn to counter in Game 3.

As the home team for Games 3 and 4, head coach Jeremy Colliton and his staff will have the luxury of last line change. That means the Blackhawks can decide which trio goes up against Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, who netted a hat trick on Monday.

But before getting into lineup adjustments, the first emphasis for the Blackhawks should be scoring the first goal. Well, it always should be.

"I'm pretty sure it's important to score the first goal no matter what, who you're playing," Duncan Keith said after practice on Tuesday. "That would help to try and win the game." 

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In Game 1, the Blackhawks fell behind 1-0 just 2:34 into the opening frame. In Game 2, they trailed 2-0 in the first 4:05. 

Only two teams had more wins during the regular season when scoring first than the Oilers (29). On the contrary, the Oilers had the sixth-worst points percentage (.250) when giving up the first goal. 

Scoring first is always crucial, but it feels even more significant against a high-powered offense like the Oilers.

"It’s two games in a row where we have to come from behind," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It’s not a position we want to be in. I think we had a good start in Game 1, they score on the power play. Big difference from our start in Game 2.

"From our perspective we want to do the right things right from the puck drop. Sometimes a bounce goes for or against you but more so it’s how we perform shift to shift that gives us a chance to win the game. Hopefully results in the first goal, but if it doesn’t, we have a high level of play we’ve got to believe we’ll come back."

The Blackhawks were without Drake Caggiula in Game 2 after an illegal check to the head on Oilers forward Tyler Ennis in Game 1 resulted in a one-game suspension. John Quenneville took his spot in the lineup, but the Blackhawks were ultimately forced to double-shift Patrick Kane throughout the course of the game after falling behind quickly, which disrupted the line flow.

The Blackhawks will likely go back to their Game 1 rotation, and they should, even though things clicked immediately when Kane was put on a line with Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat. But it will be interesting to see how Colliton matches his group against the Oilers.

In Game 1, Dave Tippett and his staff tried exploiting the Blackhawks' fourth line of Ryan Carpenter, David Kampf and Matthew Highmore by making them defend McDavid, who was a non-factor at even strength. Leon Draisaitl's line, mainly, went up against the Blackhawks' third line of Caggiula, Dach and DeBrincat.

Will the Blackhawks try freeing up Kane and Jonathan Toews offensively by using the same tactic or does it make more sense to match the first two lines against Edmonton’s top guns as much as possible? There's a case to be made for both sides.

Exactly one week before the NHL put its season on pause, the Blackhawks played the Oilers at the United Center and beat them 4-3. Toews' line drew the McDavid matchup and Kane's line went up against Draisaitl, so perhaps we could see that again, at least to start.

It’s a game of chess, and the Blackhawks must use having the last move to their advantage.

NFC North: Lions issue statement on Matthew Stafford, COVID-19 test

NFC North: Lions issue statement on Matthew Stafford, COVID-19 test

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was removed from the team's COVID-IR list on Tuesday, the team announced via Twitter, after the 12-year pro tested negative three times for the novel coronavirus.

Stafford can now report to training camp, take his physical and begin preparing for the 2020 season with his teammates. 

MMQB's Albert Breer reported Monday that Stafford tested positive for COVID-19 but was asymptomatic. The Lions insist Stafford never had the virus but instead had a false-positive result. 

This is obviously great news for the Lions but is also a stark reminder of how volatile the COVID-19 testing process will be during the 2020 season. It's also a warning for teams to have a plan in place in the event their starting quarterback contracts the virus. Detroit signed Chase Daniel this offseason to serve as Stafford's primary backup. He served in that capacity for the Bears over the last two seasons and was serviceable in his role.

Chicago has a full-blown quarterback battle underway in training camp between Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky, which means there's no choice but to have both players in somewhat close-ish proximity to each other. As a result, the risk of quarterback-to-quarterback transmission of COVID-19 is high. The Bears may have no choice but to keep Tyler Bray, who's currently listed as the team's QB3, in bubble wrap, as our JJ Stankevitz suggested here.

Stafford won't be the last high-profile player to register a false-positive result this summer. The NFL must make sure their testing protocols are sound enough to get this right, otherwise, the 2020 season will implode.