Blackhawks

Tiger Woods' coach responds to the critics

713736.jpg

Tiger Woods' coach responds to the critics

From Comcast SportsNetORLANDO, Florida(AP) --Tiger Woods' swing coach says criticism of his client is getting out of hand."I know everyone has a job to do, and I get it," Foley said this week on "Fairways of Life," a radio show hosted by Matt Adams on XM Sirius. "But if it is about the game of golf, Tiger Woods is an extremely important part of the game, and I think everyone understands that. It has just gotten to the point where the tearing down of Tiger as a person and a golfer has become just too much. I think it is just out of hand."Woods has been under more scrutiny than any other golfer since he turned pro in 1996 when he was 20 and won twice in seven starts on the PGA Tour. The criticism has sharpened in the two years since Woods was exposed for extramarital affairs that cost him his marriage and impeccable image.He tied for 40th at the Masters, yet most of the attention was on how Woods kicked his golf club after missing a tee shot on the 16th hole of the second round. He said the next day, "I'm frustrated at times and I apologize if I offended anybody that that."Foley began working with Woods at the 2010 PGA Championship, and Woods has shown signs of getting back toward the top of his game. He won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill last month for his first PGA Tour win since the scandal in his personal life unfolded the night of Thanksgiving 2009.Foley has gone through his share of criticism, too, especially in the early stages of Woods learning a new swing."I realize it is 2012 and we have dotcoms, and you have to write five articles a day, and you run out of things to write about," Foley said. "But we should be in a position where we are trying to help and lift up and support a player like Tiger Woods instead of tearing him down, because everyone in the golf industry is better off because of his existence."Foley's comments came at the end of a 20-minute interview, and he raised the issue without prompting."That is basically one thing I want to get out," Foley said. "Tiger is a wonderful person, and he is a good dude, and he lives a complex life. I think things have got to slow down, and it has got to stop, the daily referendums and the criticism."Woods' performance in the Masters has kept him in conversations, however. It was his highest finish in a major as a pro -- except for the three times he has missed the cut -- and kicking his 9-iron became a lasting image of his week at Augusta National.A few days after the Masters, former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said on Sirius XM Mad Dog Radio that Woods' antics were an "embarrassment to the game, to the membership at Augusta." The comments were startling because Azinger has long been a supporter of Woods."I was really disappointed to see him carry on that way," Azinger said. "He's not trying to endear himself to anybody. And after he won Bay Hill, I thought, Here we go again, this is going to be Tiger just kicking butt and taking names.' I don't know. I thought he acted like the south end of a northbound mule."Jack Nicklaus was asked Tuesday about Woods' game and said he didn't know what was going on."I don't know what goes (on) between his ears," Nicklaus said. "That's really the X factor. His golf game and his golf swing looks pretty similar to what I've been looking at and he hits a lot of great shots. But you never know what's going on in somebody's head."

Why fixing penalty kill is crucial for Blackhawks in 2019-20

Why fixing penalty kill is crucial for Blackhawks in 2019-20

Just how important is special teams in the NHL?

Of the 16 teams that qualified for the postseason, 14 clubs had at least one special teams unit that was ranked in the top half of the league and 12 teams had at least one unit ranked in the top 10.

The Blackhawks finished the season with the 15th-ranked power play and 31st-ranked penalty kill. The Blackhawks' 72.7 percent kill rate is the lowest the league has seen in 30 years.

“The penalty kill is something that clearly has to be better," GM Stan Bowman said. "That was a big disappointment this year, no question about that. So we have to devote some resources to that. Some of it might be players, if we get some players that have that kind of experience or have a history. Part of it is tactically can we find ways to be better. We have a lot of time now to study it and put a lot of our focus on that.”

Jeremy Colliton did not rule out getting external help to improve the PK.

“We’re going to look at everything, for sure," he said. "We’re going to look at obviously tactically and we’re going to look at the personnel and how we’re using guys and try to put them in the best situation we can. And maybe that’s new, different guys who weren’t getting the opportunity. Or maybe that’s someone from outside.”

The Blackhawks did manage to fix their power play issues this past season. When Colliton became head coach on Nov. 6, the Blackhawks power play was near the bottom of the league. By December, the man advantage was dead last, cashing in on fewer than 12 percent of their power plays.

Colliton made Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Alex DeBrincat, Dylan Strome and Erik Gustafsson his top power play unit and from Dec. 20 till the end of February they were the league's best unit, converting on 35.2 percent of their power plays.  

Gustafsson’s addition to the power play was a major factor in the unit's improvement.

"A big part of our power play progression and transformation from being at the bottom to being in the top group," Bowman said of Gustafsson. "I was really pleased with that and we're going to need him next year for sure.”

If the Blackhawks penalty kill can make strides like the power play did, Colliton’s crew will likely be playing at this time next season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.

ICYMI: David Bote with another walk-off; White Sox battle in Detroit

bote-contreras-421.jpg
USA TODAY

ICYMI: David Bote with another walk-off; White Sox battle in Detroit

David Bote had another walk-off hit to give the Cubs a series win against the Diamondbacks while the White Sox lost two out of three in Detroit. Here are some of the Chicago sports stories you may have missed from the weekend.

Cubs

After beating the Diamondbacks in the series opener on Friday, the Cubs were shut out on Saturday. With the game not really being worth talking about, plenty of other news came out that day. For one, Kris Bryant's bat will play a big role on how well the Cubs do in 2019. Is he pointed in the right direction? Similarly, Yu Darvish is still searching for his best, although he says he's still on the cusp.

Brandon Morrow got shut down after suffering a set back as works his way back from injury. The news is better regarding Jon Lester. Lester is part of a number of reinforcements coming back to the Cubs pitching staff.

As for Sunday's game, David Bote did it again. Another walk-off hit for the third baseman. It was also a rare good start from Tyler Chatwood.

White Sox

The baseball world is still reacting to Tim Anderson's bat flip and the ensuing suspensions, but the team went out to Detroit for a series. The White Sox evened the series on Friday, with Yoan Moncada again playing a starring role.

After Saturday's game was rained out, the Tigers took the rubber game on Sunday.

In the minors, prospects Zack Burdi and Luis Alexander Basabe are set to start rehab stints on Monday while the hot-hitting Luis Robert is day-to-day.