Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Bogans to start in opener

Word on the Street: Bogans to start in opener

Monday, Oct. 25, 2010CSNChicago.com

Bogans to start in opener

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau announced his starter's for Wednesday's regular-season opener in Oklahoma City and Keith Bogans will be the starting shooting guard to begin the season. Ronnie Brewer, who was expected to win the starting SG job, has been slowed by a sore hamstring and will begin the season coming off the bench.

"He's just been solid," Thibodeau said of Bogans. "He's a very good defensive player. He spreads the floor, can shoot the 3. He's a tough competitor. He's earned it." (ChicagoBreakingSports)
Duncan, Big Mac coming back to StL

Pitching coach Dave Duncan and hitting coach Mark McGwire will return to the St. Louis Cardinals bench alongside Tony LaRussa for the 2011 season. The team announced Monday that McGwire had agreed to a one-year deal and Duncan to a deal of the two-year variety. Terms were not disclosed in regards to either deal. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Favre's record streak to end?

It looks like Vikings' QB Brett Favre's luck isn't getting any better. Still immersed in the embarrassing conversation regarding his alleged harrassment of Jenn Sterger, Favre's 2010 season was dealt another blow Sunday as he suffered yet another ankle injury during the Vikings' Sunday night game against the Green Bay Packers.

This injury is likely the most serious threat to Favre's streak of 291 consecutive starts to date, but Vikings coach Brad Childress hasn't ruled Favre out of Sunday's game yet.

"Once he's functional, he can play,"Childress said. "As you know he's had ankle and heel problems for a long time so that walking boot makes him a little bit more comfortable and I wouldn't rule anything out in terms of the end of the week. Don't really have a time-frame work on it. (Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune)

Iverson to sign with Turkish team

Allen Iverson has agreed in principle to a two-year deal with Beskitas of the Turkish professional league. The incentive-laden contract is said to be worth about 4 million in total. Iverson, 35, plans to sign the contract this week and will likely report to Beskitas sometime during the week of Oct. 31. (Yahoo! Sports)

Bulls pick up options on Rose, Gibson, Johnson

As expected, the Bulls exercised team options Monday on Derrick Rose, Taj Gibson, and James Johnson. It was a foregone conclusion that the Bulls would pick up the options on Rose and Gibson, but there was some doubt as to the future of Johnson. After his strong preseason, though, the Bulls decided to pick up his option as well. All three players are now under contract through the 2011-2012 season. (ChicagoBreakingSports)

Losing confidence in Singletary?

Former Chicago Bears great, and current San Francisco 49ers head coach,Mike Singletary may be falling out of favor with the 49ers ownership after a disappointing 1-6 start to the season. According to CSNBayArea.com, members of the team's "inner circle" expressed displeasure with the job Singletary has done as coach. When team president Jed York was directly asked about Singletary's job security, however, York replied "Mike's our coach." (CSNBayArea.com)

Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

Was Dennis Gilbert's Sunday scrap the right move for Blackhawks?

When Blackhawks defenseman Dennis Gilbert skated after Jason Demers, hitting him into the boards, challenging him to fight and beating the doors off him in the second period with Chicago leading 3-2, he was sticking up for a teammate and trying to give the Hawks some life, but it cost them a puck in their own net.

So was it the right move?

"It is if we kill it," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said of the Hawks being forced to kill Gilbert's instigator penalty. "And I think it sends a good message to the rest of the players that we're in this together and we're going to take care of each other. 

"But I would have liked us to react better the rest of the game after that and that's what we should do to protect each other. I thought that the penalty kill, we were looking for goals at times and when we had the chance to get the puck 200 feet down the ice, we didn't always do that. And I'm not against scoring goals, but let's be smart about it. It cost us."

Gilbert was responding to Demers' hit on Alex DeBrincat in front of the Coyotes' bench near center ice that caused DeBrincat to fall hard into the wall.

"Well, I think it was [a] pretty blatant [penalty] that was missed," Hawks defenseman Calvin de Haan said. "Alex's head went right off the boards. I don't know how they didn't call that one. But good on Dennis to step up and sometimes it takes a big set of cajones to do that. 

"He tried to get a spark for us and I think trying to stick up for your teammates is still part of the game, especially on a hit like that. Kudos to him and I think it was a key time in the game for us and he tried to turn the tables for us."

Gilbert received the instigator for going after Demers, which resulted in a Coyotes' power-play goal from Carl Soderberg. It was Gilbert's second fight in two games. 

"I think it fires us up," DeBrincat said. "I think he’s protecting me. I think he obviously thought it was a dirty hit and takes control of the play. 

"I think it makes a good play for me. I like that he does that. Obviously, at the same time we get a penalty out of it which is not always the best. 

"I think our bench can roll with that and try to kill that off. Unfortunately, we didn’t. Any other penalty we can probably kill off from that one."

Sticking up for a teammate in that fashion goes a long way. The Hawks have been missing a player that makes the opposition answer for their sins the way Gilbert does. You'd like to avoid taking an instigator, but the Blackhawks had an issue with a dangerous hit not being penalized.

It's up to the penalty kill to make that a good penalty. Unfortunately for Gilbert and company, they didn't get the job done. 

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Blackhawks are who we think they are: 'We're inconsistent'

blackhawks_ap.jpg
AP

Blackhawks are who we think they are: 'We're inconsistent'

Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton has always preached focusing on the performance and letting the results take care of itself. Over time, water eventually finds its level.

The Blackhawks are a hard team to figure out.

When they're clicking, the Blackhawks look like a group that can compete with anyone because they can outscore any opponent and win the goaltending battle with either Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner between the pipes. When they're not, they look like a team that's closer to the basement of the NHL than the playoff bubble.

Take the past four games as an example.

The Blackhawks outshot the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues 38-30 but lost 4-0 in a game that didn't feel very close. Then they went to Boston, where they knocked off the NHL's best team 4-3 in overtime despite squandering a three-goal lead in the third period.

Next up was New Jersey, where the Blackhawks and lowly Devils looked to be on the same playing field before the visiting team won 2-1 in a shootout. And on Sunday, the Blackhawks led 30-24 in even-strength scoring chances but racked up 27 penalty minutes and it proved to be the difference in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes, who are now tied for the Pacific Division lead.

It's challenging to evaluate who the Blackhawks are as a team because it changes on a nightly basis. So who are they?

"Well for now that is what we are," Colliton said. "We're inconsistent. And it's up to us to commit to doing the things shift-to-shift that will allow us to turn into something more. Simple as that." 

The good news for the Blackhawks is only six points separate themselves from the second wildcard spot and last place in the Western Conference. The bad news is the numbers show they're exactly where they should be.

As of Sunday, the Blackhawks have a PDO — a metric that combines on-ice shooting percentage and save percentage — of 100.7 during 5-on-5 play, according to Natural Stat Trick. The league average is 100, which suggests this is who the Blackhawks are through 30 games.

"We've just got to keep building on it," Robin Lehner said. "We got a point today, this time we've just got to respond. Next game is the most important game of our season because we've got to keep getting points here now."

Sunday marked the start of another tough stretch where the Blackhawks play seven of the next eight games against teams currently sitting in a playoff spot, all of whom are in the Western Conference, which only heightens the importance of these games.

The Blackhawks will take it one game at a time, but which team shows up for each of them is anybody's guess.

"They're all big," Colliton said of the next game. "It is important how we respond. Because we've had this up and down with our game and we can't expect to get where we want to go if that continues. ... You can have off nights, but then it's how you respond. So we got to respond."

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