Cubs

Word on the Street: Bears must-see TV?

Word on the Street: Bears must-see TV?

Monday, Nov. 29, 2010CSNChicago.com

Bears-Eagles highest rated game of season

The rest of the country appears to be catching on to what Chicago fans already know; The white-hot Bears, winners of four straight, are must-see TV. SBNation Philly reports that Sunday afternoon's Bears-Eagles game at Soldier Field was the highest-rated game of the NFL season thus far. (SBNation Philly)

Maine South to be stripped of 8A title?

The head of the Illinois High School Association backed off the possibility that Maine South would be stripped of their Class 8A state football championship title it won on Saturday night in light of alleged violations.

Maine South is accused of printing extra, fraudulent, sideline passes as well as engaging in vulgar taunting.

"Our rules are very clear about how many passes schools get and who is to get them," IHSA executive director Marty Hickman said. "We are taking this matter very seriously. We are concerned that they used fraudulent passes to gain a competitive advantage having extra coaches, extra spotters and extra people not available to other folks. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Bears getting no respect?

Despite an impressive statement win over the explosive Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan still believes the Bears will miss the playoffs. Kirwan listed his his six playoff contenders from each league, as well as one extra seventh team - the team he believes is most likely to break in if one of the top six teams fall. The Bears were listed as No. 7 in the NFC behind the Packers, Eagles, and even the 5-6 Rams.

"Too close to leave out of the picture, especially since they currently sit in the No. 2 spot. The Bears defense is excellent, but the offense is inconsistent. They are hot right now with four straight wins, but they still have three road games and their two home games are against the Patriots and Jets," said Kirwan of the Bears. (NFL.com)

Boozer practices, could play Wednesday

Bulls top free agent acquisition Carlos Boozer said that he felt "pretty good" after taking part in his first contact practice as a bull on Monday. He said it was too early to know whether or not he will be able to play on Wednesday when the Bulls take on the Magic at the United Center, but several people associated with the team are reportedly cautiously optimistic that it will happen.

"I felt I had a pretty good day of practice," Boozer said. "My hand felt pretty good. There were a couple times it got hit, which was good to see how that felt. It was a little sore. But overall, it was a good day." (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Soldier Field death ruled accident

The death of a 23-year-old Woodstock man who fell from a ledge at Soldier Field during Sunday's Bears-Eagles game has been ruled an accident by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

The autopsy of Stuart Haverty, who fell at about 4:55 p.m. and was pronounced dead at Northwestern Memorial Hospital about a half hour later, concluded that he died of multiple injuries sustained during the fall. (CSNChicago.com)
Bears-Patriots start time moved

The start of the Dec. 12th Bears-Patriots game at Soldier Field has been moved from the Noon time slot to a 3:15 p.m. start in wake of yet another impressive win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon - a game that had also been moved up to 3:15 the week earlier. (Bears Goggles On)

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

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USA TODAY

Where Cubs stand in updated All-Star voting

The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.

Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.

MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.

For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.

The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.

The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.

But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.

If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base for the second time in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.

Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.

Rounding out the infield with Addison Russel at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.

In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.

Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.

Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

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USA TODAY

The next wave of Blackhawks defensemen is coming

It seems like yesterday the Blackhawks were scraping for young, impact defensemen prospects. Just one, even.

Oh, how that's changed significantly over the last 12 months.

In 2015 and 2016, the Blackhawks did not own a first-round pick. And before that, they hadn't drafted a defenseman in the first round since Dylan Olsen — 28th overall — in 2009. Luckily, they had already hit on Duncan Keith (second round in 2002) and Brent Seabrook (first round in 2003) in back-to-back drafts, and two years later on Niklas Hjalmarsson (fourth round in 2005).

That was a long time ago. Keith is turning 35 in July and Seabrook turned 33 in April. The Blackhawks have gotten that second wave of talent up front with Alex DeBrincat, Vinnie Hinostroza, Nick Schmaltz and Dylan Sikura. The same can't be said for the defense.

But it's coming.

Since last June, the Blackhawks have added defensemen Henri Jokiharju, Ian Mitchell, Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin to their pipeline and used each of their three first-round picks in the past two drafts to do it. Mitchell was the lone second-round pick, and he had an oustanding freshman season at Denver, meaning he could be ready sooner than later — probably after his sophomore campaign.

Despite the need for defensemen, the Blackhawks never wavered on their draft approach and the desire to add instant help didn't impact how they went about this past weekend. Draft the best player available and you can't go wrong.

The good news for the Blackhawks is, the players that were rated highest on their board when their picks rolled around were positional needs. How fitting.

"Coming into the draft, we're just looking for the best value players we have; guys ranked the highest at their spots," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said on drafting Boqvist and Beaudin. "It just so happened they're both defensemen, which is great because that's a very important position. I think they're the highest valued assets.

"Calling around this week about potential trades and looking for players and they're the hardest things to find. We didn't draft them just because they're defensemen. We like both of their style of play, their skill set. I think they both play the modern NHL game. Both have bright futures."

There are high hopes for all four of them.

Then you look deeper inside the organization and you'll find Gustav Forsling, who was once considered the Blackhawks' top defensive prospect and currently finds himself in the five-spot. Yet, he's the most NHL ready and could have a full-time role with the Blackhawks next season.

Peel the next layer and you'll see Blake Hillman, who showed promise and great situational defensive awareness in his brief stint last season. Dennis Gilbert, who brings size and physicality, offers a different element and will continue his developement with the Rockford IceHogs. And then there's Lucas Carlsson and Carl Dahlstrom, both of whom could make things interesting in training camp.

Suddenly, the Blackhawks are faced with having, what you would call, a good problem to have by putting together one of the best young defensive farm systems in the league.

Now, that's not to say that each of these guys are going to pan out the way the Blackhawks are hoping they will. But you're increasing your chances by collecting a number of players with high-end talent and creating competition.

The real question is when they'll all be ready.

While there may be temptation to push them along to help the Blackhawks in the short term, it's important to resist that because the future on the back end looks promising if they each grow at their own pace.

Boqvist has the potential to be Erik Karlsson as a best-case scenario. Even if he can be half of that, that's a win. Jokiharju's ceiling is whatever he wants it to be, and throwing Boqvist into the mix perhaps alleviates some pressure off his shoulders. Beaudin and Mitchell each have top-four potential and should develop as such.

Knowing what they could be capable of with proper development, there shouldn't be any reason to rush it. Just be excited they're on the way.