Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Cards offer low-ball deal to Pujols

Word on the Street: Cards offer low-ball deal to Pujols

Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Cardinals offer 'shocking' low-ball offer

The deadline that Albert Pujols set for the cutoff of negotiations with the Cardinals has past. So where does Pujols go from here?

According to Craig Calcaterra of the NBC Sports blog Hard Ball Talk, "spring training has begun for Pujols and El Hombre will not negotiate during spring training." Calcaterra believes a trade is not a real possibility and that Pujols will definitely play out the season with St. Louis.

He calls the deadline that just passed a "soft" one, saying that there will be, at some point between now and next October, real discussions between the Cardinals and Pujols.

The final offer that the Cardinals made to Pujols was "pretty shocking." According to reports, St. Louis wouldn't go to 10 years and proposed an annual salary that would make Pujols around the 10th-highest salary in baseball bringing home between 19 million and 21 million a season. But last spring the Phillies and Yankees each made deals that paid Ryan Howard and Mark Teixeira 25 million and 22.5 million respectively. (NBC Sports)

Moreland to replace Santo

CSNChicago.com's Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney reports that the Cubs and WGN Radio announced that Keith Moreland will follow the legendary broadcaster Ron Santo in the press box high atop Wrigley Field.

Moreland played six seasons for the Cubs (1982-87) and has extensive experience as an analyst. He knows that it will be strange for fans to hear someone else calling the action for the Cubs this summer.

"Nobody's going to replace Ron Santo," Moreland said. "All I can do is keep the seat warm." (CSNChicago.com)

Podsednik signs minor deal with Blue Jays after turning down 2 mil from Dodgers

Scott Podsednik was offered a 2 million mutual option with the Dodgers back in November, but the former White Sox slugger declined his side of the option and chose free agency.

Four months later and still without a major-league deal, Podsednik signed a minor-league contract with the Blue Jays. That means he's not even guaranteed a spot on the Opening Day roster. (NBC Sports)

Weeks and Brewers agree to extension

It looks like Rickie Weeks will be playing in Milwaukee for many years to come. Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported that Weeks and the Brewers agreed to a five-year deal worth 50 million.

The Brewers can void that fifth year if Weeks "is not an everyday player in 2013 and 2014."

Last year Weeks hit .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS. (NBC Sports)

Quade mum on Pujols questions

Albert Pujols' deadline to re-sign with the Cardinals has passed, but Cubs manager Mike Quade didn't have much interest in commenting on the story. He said that saga is the Cardinals' deal, and that he's more interested in welcoming Carlos Pena to camp on Friday.

"I'm looking forward to seeing Carlos Pena knock the daylights out of the ball," he said. "That's all that really matters to me right now." (Chicago Breaking Sports)

10 Keys to get Bears to Super Bowl

The Chicago Bears have to do just ten things in order to lock a trip to the Super Bowl next year, according to the Bleacher Report.

On the top of the list? The Bears will have to improve the O-line. The Bears line gave up the most sacks in the NFL last season. This is an area that can be addressed in both the draft and free agency.

Jay Cutler's consistency, minimizing Hester as a wide receiver, and keeping the offensive coaching staff were also among the 10 keys that the Bears need to do to ensure success next season. (Bleacher Report)

Illini FB coach gets a raise

It seems a 7-6 record is good enough for a hefty raise. Illinois head football coach Ron Zook will get a 250,000-a-year raise.

Illini Athletic Director Ron Guenther made the announcement, saying that the change in salary has to be approved by university trustees.

Guenther also said that Zook's entire staff will get raises, too. (Chicago Tribune)

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

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AP

Four takeaways: Blackhawks on wrong side of history in loss to Lightning

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center on Sunday:

1. Blackhawks on wrong side of history 

Earlier this year the Blackhawks made history by appearing in five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team in NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB history has ever done.

But Sunday they found themselves on the wrong side of it after allowing 33 shots on goal in the second period alone. It tied a franchise high for most given up in a single period — March 4, 1941 vs. Boston — and is the most an NHL team has allowed since 1997-98 when shots by period became an official stat.

"It's pretty rare to be seeing that much work in a period," said Cam Ward, who had a season-high 49 saves. "But oh man, I don't even know what to say to be honest. It's tough. We know that we need to be better especially in our home building, too. And play with some pride and passion. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was lacking at times tonight. The old cliche you lose as a team and overall as a team we weren't good enough tonight."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "That was a tough, tough period in all aspects. I don’t think we touched the puck at all and that was the part that was disturbing, against a good hockey team."

2. Alexandre Fortin is on the board

After thinking he scored his first career NHL goal in Columbus only to realize his shot went off Marcus Kruger's shin-pad, Fortin made up for it one night later and knows there wasn't any question about this one.

The 21-year-old undrafted forward, playing in his his fifth career game, sprung loose for a breakaway early in the first period and received a terrific stretch pass by Jan Rutta from his own goal line to Fortin, who slid it underneath Louis Domingue for his first in the big leagues. It's his second straight game appearing on the scoresheet after recording an assist against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"It's fun," Fortin said. "I think it would be a little bit more fun to get your first goal [while getting] two points for your team, but I think we ... just have to [turn the page to the] next chapter and just play and be ready for next game."

3. Brandon Saad's most noticeable game?

There weren't many positives to take away from this game, but Saad was certainly one of them. He had arguably his best game of the season, recording seven shot attempts (three on goal) with two of them hitting the post (one while the Blackhawks were shorthanded).

He was on the ice for 11 shot attempts for and five against at 5-on-5, which was by far the best on his team.

"He started OK and got way better," Quenneville said of Saad. "Had the puck way more, took it to the net a couple of times, shorthanded."

4. Special teams still a work in progress

The Blackhawks entered Sunday with the 29th-ranked power play and 25th-ranked penalty kill, and are still working to get out from the bottom of the league in both departments. In an effort to change up their fortunes with the man advantage, the Blackhawks split up their two units for more balance.

They had four power-play opportunities against Tampa Bay and cashed in on one of them, but it didn't matter as it was too little, too late in the third period — although they did become the first team to score a power-play goal against the Lightning this season (29 chances).

"Whether we're looking for balance or we're just looking for one to get hot, I think our power play has been ordinary so far," Quenneville said before the game. "We need it to be more of a threat."

Four more minor penalties were committed by the Blackhawks, giving them eight in the past two games. That's one way they can shore up the penalty kill, by cutting back on taking them.

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks tie franchise record for shots on goal allowed in one period

Well, things could be going better for the Blackhawks during Sunday's game against the Lightning.

In the second period Sunday, the Blackhawks surrendered 33 shots on goal, tying a franchise record for most in a single period. The previous instance occurred March 4, 1941 against the Boston Bruins, a game that the Blackhawks lost 3-2.

While the Blackhawks tied a franchise record for shots on goal allowed, they actually set an NHL record at the same time. The NHL did not begin recording shots on goal as an "official" statistic until the 1997-98 season.

Consequentially, Sunday's 33 shots on goal allowed in the second period is the "official" record, even though the Blackhawks accomplished the "feat" nearly 80 years ago. Confusing, huh? 

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they also surrendered three goals and scored zero in addition to the plethora of shots on goal allowed. They recorded just six shots on goal in the second period themselves, trailing 4-1 by the time the third period started.