Blackhawks

Word on the Street: Urlacher fined; gingerbread Cubs

Word on the Street: Urlacher fined; gingerbread Cubs

Friday, Dec. 24, 2010
CSNChicago.com

Cubs on losing end of gingerbread game

In 1965, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Now, 45 years later, a group of Koufax admirers in Toronto chose to pay tribute to the historic event. And given the holiday season, decided to do so by building a gingerbread stadium and players.

The project began in August and required 20 pounds of sugar and nearly 10 pounds of flour to complete. The stadium is 30 by 40 inches complete with concession stand, scoreboard, players and fans. The human imitations are made of Gummy Bears and chocolate Santas. (thestar.com)
Rose, Bulls excited to be featured on Christmas

While one NBA superstar, LeBron James, was critical of the NBA for scheduling Christmas Day games while other sports take the holiday off, the Bulls are grateful to be playing on the holiday.

"I'm going to miss my family, and I hate being away from home," Derrick Rose said, "but this is my job and it's an honor to be playing on Christmas. People will see us all around the world. And we're playing in like the best arena in the league."

The Bulls have not played on Christmas since winning, 90-80, over the Miami Heat at the United Center back in 1997.

"It's for the fans," Carlos Boozer said. "We take great pride in being one of the teams that's featured." (chicagobreakingsports.com)

NFL fines Urlacher 10,000

Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher was fined 10,000 for hitting a defenseless receiver in the headneck area during Monday night's game vs. the Vikings in Minnesota.

Urlacher hit Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe too high during the Bears 40-14 victory and the league noted that it was his second offense this season.

In addition, safety Major Wright was fined 10,000 for leading with his helmet against Vikings QB Joe Webb and Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams received a 7,500 fine for a late hit on Jay Cutler. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

New York Jets QB Mark Sanchez will start vs. Bears...

...barring any late setbacks to his right shoulder. Sanchez has a slight cartilage tear in his throwing shoulder but took all of the first-team snaps in practice Friday. While Sanchez was confident he would start all week, Jets head coach Rex Ryan wasn't exactly sure on Thursday.

Of course, if Brett Favre can go from being listed as "out" on the injury report roughly five hours before kickoff to starting the game, anything is possible.

If Sanchez cannot play, veteran lefty Mark Brunell would start in his place. (nydailynews.com)

Clausen already out in Carolina?

Former Notre Dame and current Panthers quarterback is 1-8 as a starter in his rookie season and shows no signs of improvement as his first NFL campaign winds down. In Thursday night's 27-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Clausen went 10 of 23 for 72 yards with one interception and a passing rating of 33.2.

The Panthers will have one of the top-3 picks in the NFL Draft and a quarterback such as Stanford's Andrew Luck or Washington's Jake Locker might be too good to pass up. This certainly isn't the way Clausen and many Fighting Irish fans envisioned his career starting. (chicagobreakingsports.com)

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

saad_usa_today.jpg
USA TODAY

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Brandon Saad's breakout game

After turning in one of his best efforts of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks rewarded Saad with a promotion to the top-six again. And he took advantage of that opportunity.

In the first period alone, Saad recorded four shots on goal, scored his first of the season on the power play, drew a penalty and had a takeaway in 7:42 of ice time, which led all forwards. He finished with nine shot attempts (a season-high seven on goal) and 18:56 of ice time.

On his power-play goal, Saad battled for position in front of the net, called for the puck and scored on his second effort. He did all the right things and got rewarded, including on the empty-netter that sealed the victory.

"I've had some chances, especially as of late," Saad said. "But it's definitely nice for them to get in and get a win on top of that."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "He was excellent tonight. ... I thought he had great speed all over the ice, had the puck way more. We’re happy for him. Big factor in the win."

2. Erik Gustafsson's slap-pass becoming a thing

For the second time this season, Gustafsson contributed to a game-winning goal that involved a fake shot and slap-pass from the point. Patrick Kane was the recipient of the cross-ice pass and buried home the one-timer from the right faceoff circle

"I can’t score by myself, so it’s better to pass it," Gustafsson joked. "No, I know Kaner is out there. He’s always getting open when someone else has the puck so it’s easy to find him and there was one guy in front of me so I wanted to pass it."

3. Blackhawks cut down on high-danger chances

On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks allowed 25 high-danger chances at even strength. It put them at the very bottom of the league for most on average per game, ironically falling below Anaheim.

Through two periods on Tuesday, the Blackhawks allowed zero and only five at 5-on-5 for the entire game. Certainly a 180 from two nights ago, and an area they will continue to build upon.

"We just took away those quality chances," said Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves and picked up his first win at home since Dec. 17, 2017. "I don't think they really had too many where they had time in front of the net to really think about where they wanted to shoot and our guys were on the right away in the middle of the ice and that'll give you a great chance to win a hockey game."

4. Special teams battle

There were a total of 20 penalty minutes (10 for Anaheim, 10 for Chicago), which meant lots of power play opportunities and not as much even-strength time.

The Blackhawks had four of them in the first period, and converted on the second try when Saad scored his first of the season. The penalty killed went 4-for-4, allowing a combined eight combined shots on goal but limiting the quality chances.

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.