Bears

Will Hawks fans cheer for the Kings?

757162.png

Will Hawks fans cheer for the Kings?

After the Blackhawks were eliminated in Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Phoenix Coyotes, I couldn't help but notice the increasing number of Chicago fans cheering for the Los Angeles Kings.

Now, as the Kings head into the Western Conference finals, it looks like that number will continue to grow throughout the next series.

Here are a few reasons why many Chicago fans are on-board with Los Angeles:
Darryl Sutter: Sutter was brought into the Kings' organization on December 17, 2011 to replace former coach Terry Murray after the Kings were named the worst offensive team in the league. He coached the Kings to a 25-13-11 record, and they finished third in the Western Conference going into the playoffs.

Sutter has attracted plenty of Hawks fans on his own since he played his entire NHL career in Chicago from 1979-1987. He earned 279 points for the Blackhawks in his eight seasons in the Windy City.

Phoenix Coyotes: The Kings are now about to face the Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference finals, the same team that knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs.

Physicality: The Kings have had a dominant physical presence against both the Canucks and Blues, and they will continue that style of play throughout the postseason since it has earned them an 8-1 record against the first and third overall teams in the league.

After Raffi Torres' vicious hit on Marian Hossa, Blackhawks fans have even more reason to want Phoenix to lose. Although Torres is serving his 25-game suspension, the Kings, led by Dustin Brown, will not let up on the Phoenix roster, continuing to unleash continuous forechecking. Chicago should get plenty of pleasure out of that.

Colin Fraser: Fraser played in Chicago from 2006-2010, helping the Blackhawks to their Stanley Cup victory. This is Fraser's first season in Los Angeles.

For a team that seemed to have been forgotten during much of the regular season, they have quite a bit in common with Chicago, and hopefully, will make the Windy City proud.

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 7!

Walter's choices in Week 7 are a chance to go to Mardi Gras or a celebration of St. Patrick's day in Chicago. Bears fans should be excited about his decision in Week 7... and now we're all looking forward to St. Patrick's Day again!

The 12-week old dachshund was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. 

Now, Walter is ready to rumble between the well-manicured lines of Sweetness Field. He is NOW adoptable via onetail.org and has two adorable sisters named Martha and Millie, who are already adopted. 

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: www.onetail.org

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

kirby_dach_traverse_city.jpg
Detroit Red Wings

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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.