Cubs

Word on the Street: Buehrle Gold Glove winner?

Word on the Street: Buehrle Gold Glove winner?

Monday, Nov. 8, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Buehrle wins second Gold Glove award?

The Gold Glove awards are scheduled to be announced Tuesday, but a well-placed source reported that White Sox ace Mark Buehrle will win his second consecutive award for his exceptional defense.

According to a Facebook post Monday, Jamie Buehrle expressed her happiness for her husband's honor.

"So proud of my husband," Jamie Buehrle posted Monday. "He is now a TWO time gold glove winner!!!" (ChicagoBreakingSports.com)

Bennett OK after car accident

Bears receiver Earl Bennett is OK after being involved in an early-morning accident Monday that totaled his car, multiple sources confirmed.

According to entries on Bennett's Twitter account, Bennett said he was OK but his car, which he refers to as "Ole Skool," wasn't as fortunate.

"Thanking God I'm alive!!!!," Bennett tweeted. "Drunk guy ran into back of my ole skool we smashed into wall ole skool done!!! But I'm alive that's all that matters," (ChicagoBreakingSports).

Comcast SportsNet earns two Emmy Awards
Comcast SportsNet was the recipient of two Emmy Awards from the ChicagoMidwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The 52nd annual ceremony was held in Chicago on Saturday, November 6, (CSNChicago.com).
Nuggets' Anthony: Chicago a 'top 3' NBA City
Carmelo Anthony had a lot to say after the Nuggets' shootaround at Moody Bible Institute. Amongst his comments, Anthony praised Chicago and the Bulls, saying Chicago is in the top 3 of NBA cities, (ChicagoBreakingSports).

White Sox lose Triple-A Charlotte manager

The White Sox recently lost Triple-A Charlotte manager Chris Chambliss, who was hired by Seattle to be the Mariners' hitting coach.

But the Sox might receive some minor consolation, as former major league catcher Tim Laker is expected to join their minor league staff. Laker, 40, managed the past two seasons for the Mariners' Double-A West Tenn affiliate. A Seattle source confirmed that Laker is no longer with the organization.

Laker was a catcher for parts of 11 seasons with seven major league teams, (ChicagoBreakingSports).
Should NHL Hall of Fame voting be made public?

The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto welcomes its newest class today, with former Minnesota North Stars great Dino Ciccarelli; women's stars Cammi Granato and Angela James; and builders Jimmy Devellano of the Detroit Red Wings and the late Daryl Seaman, who founded what's now the Calgary Flames.

As with any year, there are annoying controversies that linger during the celebration. This year's class debates:

That the voting for the Hockey Hall of Fame should be made public.

The question is: Would making those totals, andor those voters' decisions, public do anything to improve the process?

Or is this simply another case of fans and media craving another debate topic, another argument to wage over the airwaves?

Vote totals in the NHL aren't exactly state secrets. The League began real-time All-Star Game voting a few seasons ago, where fans could reload a page and see the numbers climb. The NHL Awards vote totals are released the night of the show; if players are red-faced about it, they've not made a stink over them. (Despite the fact that Alex Ovechkin(notes) had more first-place votes for defensive player of the year than Patrick Marleau in 2009-10.)

The Hall of Fame obviously isn't an NHL property, and thus keeps its vote totals close to the suit jacket. The Baseball Hall of Fame isn't an MLB property either, but releases vote totals for players so fans and media can see who came closest to meeting the necessary threshold of support for induction, (Puck Daddy, Yahoo! Sports).

Blackhawks score two Emmys

The Blackhawks are doing some winning -- off the ice. They took home Emmy Awards from the ChicagoMidwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday night for their ''One Goal'' advertisements with coach Joel Quenneville and defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, and for the ''Blackhawks TV'' television program, (Chicago Sun-Times).

Derrek Lee has surgery

Former Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee recently underwent surgery on his right thumb to repair a torn ligament that he suffered during the Cubs regular season opener. Lee, who is a free agent heading into the 2011 season, is expected to recover in time for spring training. Assuming he is healthy, Lee will join a talented list of free agent first basemen that includes Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman and others. (Yahoo! Sports)
Cubs interested in Adrian Gonzalez?

CSNPhilly recently posted a report that the San Diego Padres are open to trading All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez before the start of the 2011 season. Gonzalez, who will turn 29 in May, is a two time gold glove winner who hit .298 with a .393 on base percentage and 31 home runs in 2010. The Padres would prefer to keep their star first basemen, but Gonzalez' agent recently informed the team that his client would be seeking a contract on par with other star first baseman such as Ryan Howard (five years, 125 million) and Mark Teixeira (eight years, 180 million). A contract of that size is likely far out of the price range of a small-market club such as the Padres. Additionally, ESPNChicago.com recently suggested that the Cubs may be interested in acquiring Gonzalez. (CSNPhilly.com)

Willson Contreras, Jon Lester carry Cubs to eventful win in the first game of the series with Atlanta

Willson Contreras, Jon Lester carry Cubs to eventful win in the first game of the series with Atlanta

The Cubs and Braves got through roughly one inning of Stranger Things Night at Wrigley Field before Willson Contreras made the evening his own. 

The catcher went 2-4 with three RBI, and provided the most notable moment from the game: a 2nd inning solo homer that caused both benches to clear. Contreras had taken issue with a few of the called strikes earlier in the at-bat, and said something to home plate umpire John Tumpane about it. Contreras continued to make his feelings known as he left the box, drawing the ire of Braves catcher Tyler Flowers.

“To be honest, those pitches weren’t even close to the strike zone,” he said. “[Flowers] got mad because I was talking to the umpire about that, and he jumped into the conversation. 

Contreras then proceeded to shout in the direction of Atlanta’s dugout while rounding first base, and the two catchers exchanged more words as he crossed home plate. The benches quickly emptied, and after a few moments of posturing, returned to their dugouts. 

“It was a lot of emotions together,” he said after the game. “I was having a conversation with the umpire, and it ended up with [Flowers], so that’s all I can say. I just basically told him to do his job and I’ll do mine. I don’t know why he got pissed off because that’s all I said - you do your job and i’ll do mine.”

“I was kind of amused by the whole thing,” Joe Maddon added. “I don’t really know Mr. Flowers - we had a nice conversation, walked away, and it was over. It really wasn’t worth more than what happened.

The confrontation was just one of a few testy moments between these two teams. In the top of the 2nd inning, Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson was caught on cameras shushing the Cubs dugout: 

Two innings later, it was Javy Baez who returned serve by blowing the Braves a kiss after stealing second on Flowers: 

“It’s fun because they’re good,” Maddon said. “And we’re good - that’s the fun part. Monday night, at 7:05, to have that kind of attitude and atmosphere is outstanding. That’s what baseball needs.” 

On the mound, Jon Lester bounced back from a run of three straight underwhelming performances. June hasn’t been kind to Lester, as the lefty had allowed 14 runs over the last 23 IPs prior to Monday’s start, good for a 5.93 FIP. He threw 94 pitches against the Braves, lasting six innings while allowing two runs -- both unearned, though -- and striking out seven. He only threw 94 pitches, but his control (0 BB) was excellent. Lester spotted his strikeout pitch well all night, getting four of his six right-handed K’s on the low outside corner:

“I just tried to stay down there, and had the backdoor cutter to those guys,” Lester said. “We were able to kind of exploit that, and then when we felt that guys were reaching out there a little bit, I ran the cutter in on some guys too. I was just able to command both sides of the plate tonight, which is huge against an offense like that.” 

“Great job by Jon,” Maddon added, “Jon had great stuff. Coming off of [throwing 114 pitches], he’s been throwing a lot of pitches on regular rest, so I wanted to limit that tonight. He was lobbying to go back out, but I didn’t feel good about it based on the longevity of the season and we had a rested Kintzler.

“But Jon was really good, and really good against a tough lineup.”

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

What Olli Maatta and Calvin de Haan trades mean for future of Blackhawks defense

After finishing 30th in goals against average (3.55) and 31st in penalty kill percentage (72.7) this past season, the Blackhawks are clearly making it a priority to patch up their defense this summer. And that's been evident with the acquisitions of defensive-minded defensemen Calvin de Haan and Olli Maatta.

But it raises some interesting questions about the future of the Blackhawks blue line.

With the de Haan and Maatta additions, the Blackhawks now have five defensemen under contract through at least the 2021-22 season: Brent Seabrook ($6.875 million cap hit), Duncan Keith ($5.538 million), de Haan ($4.55 million), Maatta ($4.083 million) and Connor Murphy ($3.85 million). That's $24.8 million tied up to five guys.

The money isn't the primary concern, though. It's the limited amount of roster spots available. The Blackhawks don't have to immediately figure out how it's going to work a year from now and beyond, but it makes you wonder how the cards may eventually be shuffled.

Let's run through the situations:

— Erik Gustafsson had a breakout season and is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He's obviously not part of the five current players under contract after next season, putting the Blackhawks in a spot where they have to consider trading him or be comfortable with letting him walk for nothing if he isn't re-signed. (They could always trade his negotiating rights after next season and pull off a sign-and-trade as well, if it came to that).

And even if Gustafsson is re-signed, the Blackhawks would then have six players locked up for the 2020-21 season and on, and that's enough to submit a lineup.

— Henri Jokiharju, who was drafted No. 29 overall in 2017, is probably ready to take the next step and become an everyday player. Where does he fit into the long-term plans?

— Adam Boqvist, who was taken No. 8 overall in 2018, likely needs one more year in the OHL before making the jump to the NHL, which would put him on a timeline to become part of the Blackhawks next season. Does he occupy that sixth spot if another one isn't opened by then?

— Nicolas Beaudin, who was drafted No. 27 overall in 2018, is expected to start the upcoming season in Rockford after four years in the QMJHL but might be NHL-ready by the 2020-21 campaign.

— And then there's Ian Mitchell, who's returning to Denver for his junior season and will serve as the team's captain. He's said all along that he intends to sign with the Blackhawks once he's finished with college, but does the organization value him enough to create a spot for him when he's ready?

To make things a little more complicated, the Seattle expansion draft is set to occur in 2021 and the same rules will apply as Vegas in 2017.

The Blackhawks have the option to protect seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters and one goaltender. All players with no-movement clauses at the time of the expansion draft (and who decline to waive them) must be protected; Keith and Seabrook have a NMC. And all first- and second-year pros are exempt; Jokiharju would have to be protected.

As of this moment, the Blackhawks are likely to use the eight-skater option, but they will also have valuable forwards to protect. They're going to lose a good player one way or another, and it's probably going to come from the defensive group. All of this comes into play when weighing roster decisions for next season and beyond.

As stated above, the Blackhawks do not have to make an immediate decision on the future of their blue line corps. They can play out the 2019-20 season with the group as currently constructed. But the decisions the Blackhawks have to face next season could impact how Stan Bowman operates the rest of this summer and throughout the upcoming campaign.

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