<![CDATA[NBC Chicago - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/5-Chicago-Blue.png NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com en-us Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:14:15 -0500 Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:14:15 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Source: Eagles to Sign Tim Tebow]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 20:10:35 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/tim-tebow-easter-sermon-texas.jpg

Ready for Tim Tebow, Eagles fans?

The Eagles are expected to sign the quarterback Monday, a source told CSNPhilly.com's Geoff Mosher Sunday night.

FOXSports.com's Jay Glazer first reported the news.

Tebow, 27, hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game since 2012 with the New York Jets, where he was Mark Sanchez's backup. Sanchez was re-signed by the Eagles earlier this offseason to a two-year deal.

The former Heisman Trophy winner at Florida saw extensive action in 2011 with the Broncos, leading Denver to the playoffs. He threw 12 touchdown passes and rushed for six more, but completed just 46.5 percent of his passes. His career QB rating is 75.3.

Tebow spent the past season as a college football analyst.

News of the Tebow signing led to a huge reaction on social media. Check out some of the best twitter responses below.

Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Three Stars: Saad Shines as Blackhawks Triumph ]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:25:36 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks+three+stars.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks needed some great individual performances to succeed against the Nashville Predators on Sunday, and that’s exactly what they got as they picked up a 4-2 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

We’ll have plenty of reaction to Game 3 on Monday here, but for now, we’ll focus on our "Three Stars" of the game.

Third Star: Marian Hossa

There have been times this season when the Blackhawks have been accused of taking things too lightly and not putting forth maximum effort, but if there was a player on the ice Sunday that took those ideas and put them firmly on their ear, it was Marian Hossa.

Hossa came out of the gate firing and never stopped in the game, racking up six shots on goal, dishing out two assists and registering two hits and two takeaways in 15:37 of ice time.

While the highlight reel play of the day from Hossa was his give-and-go with Jonathan Toews in the offensive zone prior to the captain’s second period goal, his stretch pass to Andrew Desjardins in the first period was perhaps even more impressive. With Nashville on a line change, Hossa saw an open seam through the neutral zone, and he put the pass right on the tape of Desjardins, who ultimately scored and gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the series.

Second Star: Brandon Saad

Speaking of players who had something to prove on Sunday, Saad came into the game with only one point in his last six games, but he quickly changed that in this contest as he scored what ultimately was the game-winning goal early in the second period.

On the play, Saad used a combination of smart stick work and raw speed to beat his opponents. Grabbing the puck in the defensive zone, Saad made a great play to work around Seth Jones at the blue line, and from there he was off to the races. Roman Josi eventually cut over to try to force Saad to shoot from a bad angle, but his speed and hands made the play happen as he ripped a shot past Pekka Rinne to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

If Saad is going to stay on the top line for the remainder of the postseason, then he is going to need to turn his opportunities into goals, and that’s exactly what he did on this excellent play.

First Star: Andrew Desjardins

There was some criticism before the game of Joel Quenneville’s decision to bench Teuvo Teravainen for Game 3, but the player who skated in his spot acquitted himself beautifully, as Desjardin racked up four shots on goal and scored his first goal as a Blackhawk in the victory.

While Desjardins’ quick follow-up to his first period shot resulted in a goal, he played a critical role in the Blackhawks’ late second period goal. On a possession that seemed like it lasted for hours, the Blackhawks poked and prodded at the Predators’ defense, and eventually they scored on a Brent Seabrook shot from the slot. The whole play was kicked off by a great play by Desjardins, who was upended as he came into the zone but still managed to control the puck and dish it off to a teammate before Nashville could clear it.

The goal he scored will get a lot of attention, but his strength on the puck and ability to keep plays alive really helped the Hawks in this instance, and it was great to see the team’s trade deadline acquisition have such a big impact on the game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[White Sox Call Up Pitching Prospect Carlos Rodon]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 17:23:55 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/carlos+rodon+getty.jpg

The Chicago White Sox initially opted to send pitcher Carlos Rodon down to the minors so he could work on his change-up this spring, but on Sunday afternoon the team reversed course as they called up their top pitching prospect to the big league roster.

Rodon, who was selected with the third overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, will start out in the bullpen for the White Sox according to reports, and the idea is that he will eventually join the starting rotation at some point in the near future, much like Mark Buehrle and Chris Sale did when they were first summoned to the big league club.

Rodon has only pitched in two games so far this season for the triple-A Charlotte Knights, posting a 3.60 ERA in 10 innings pitched. He has 13 strikeouts and just four walks so far on the campaign, and he has a 1-0 record in those starts.

The White Sox bullpen has been one of their weak points over the past few seasons, and even with some new names in the mix this year, they can still use some reinforcements. Pitchers like Zach Duke and Dan Jennings are still trying to find their form, but others like David Robertson have looked right at home on the South Side.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video: Corgan, Noah Discuss Kris Bryant's Call-Up]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 14:48:44 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/kris+bryant+getty+2.jpg

Chicago Cubs phenom Kris Bryant reached base five times and collected the first two hits of his major league career on Saturday afternoon against the San Diego Padres, but as he played at Wrigley Field, one could be forgiven for reflecting on his journey to the historic ballpark.

In a video released Saturday, we see what Bryant was up to earlier in the season before the Cubs called him up. Celebrities like Billy Corgan and Joakim Noah make appearances as they discuss the expectations that Bryant is carrying with him in the big leagues:

Bryant was called up on Friday by the Cubs on the first day the team could do so while also gaining an extra year of service time before he can hit free agency.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Vermette in for Blackhawks vs. Predators Sunday]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 12:48:40 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/antoine+vermette+getty.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks will have at least one new face in the lineup on Sunday afternoon as center Antoine Vermette will make his first appearance of the postseason against the Nashville Predators.

Vermette, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Arizona Coyotes, hasn’t played all that well for the Hawks so far in his tenure, but he could end up playing a pivotal role in Sunday’s contest. The Blackhawks are looking to get their offense going after only scoring two goals in a 6-2 loss to the Predators on Friday, and adding Vermette into the mix should mean more won face-offs and, ideally, more puck possession time for the home side.

The Blackhawks could also dress Andrew Desjardins for the game, but Joel Quenneville refused to confirm whether or not he would be in the lineup. He also wouldn’t say which player(s) would be removed from the lineup for the game, but the safe money at this point is that either Joakim Nordstrom or Teuvo Teravainen could be sitting out.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Three Keys to Game 3 Victory for Blackhawks]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 11:49:11 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks+team+2+getty.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks will return to home ice for the first time this postseason as they take on the Nashville Predators Sunday afternoon, and there is a lot at stake in the game as both teams look to grab control of the series.

For the Predators, they will have to contend with the loss of their top defenseman, Shea Weber, who didn’t make the trip to Chicago for the game. They are also dealing with injuries at the center position, as Mike Fisher continues to struggle with an ailment. Both of those factors could leave them facing some tough obstacles in the game.

Even with those injuries, the Predators are a dangerous team that just knocked off the Blackhawks in emphatic fashion, so we’re taking a look at three Hawks players that need to step up in order for the team to win and wrest control of the series back from the Preds.

Duncan Keith

Keith has played well all season despite having to skate with players like Michal Rozsival, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on how he plays Sunday afternoon. He’s been playing a ton of difficult minutes so far in this series, and fatigue could end up playing a factor in his performance Sunday if Joel Quenneville continues to deploy his defensemen like he has so far in this series.

Brandon Saad

One game after the top two lines struggled for the Blackhawks, the top six forwards seemed to get things together well on Friday night as they combined to be a plus-39 in the Corsi statistic. Saad contributed with a plus-4 in the category, and even though he didn’t appear on the scoresheet, he still had a solid game overall.

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, solid play from their top line won’t get the job done on Sunday. They’ll need their star forwards to take advantage of home ice, and that means making sure to take advantage of line matchups that will favor them for the first time in the series. Saad had only one point in his last six games, and he’ll need to up that total in order for Chicago to win.

Teuvo Teravainen

Teravainen is a player that has generally been a positive possession player even in limited time on the fourth line in recent weeks, but he had an off-game on Friday night, finishing with negative Corsi and Fenwick numbers. He didn’t even crack 11 minutes played in the contest.

If Teravainen is going to be at his best, he needs to play with more confidence and enthusiasm in this game. He is a player that has the skillset to make defenders miss and create scoring opportunities, and he’ll have to do that for the Hawks Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cubs Fan Catches Foul Ball in Beer Cup, Then Chugs Beer]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 15:04:39 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/cubs+fan+beer+catch.jpg

A Chicago woman proved her Cubs fandom during Saturday's game when she caught a foul ball in her beer... and then chugged the beer with the ball still inside.

Krista Dotzenrod was caught on camera by Comcast Sportsnet catching a foul ball and holding it up to the sky before chugging her beer.

Dotzenrod told the Chicago Sun-Times she was drinking a Goose Island Green Line beer.

The Cubs were playing against the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field. When Dotzenrod caught the foul ball, they were ahead 6-2. The Padres surged to a tie later in the game, but the Cubs ultimately prevailed with a final score of 7-6.

Photo Credit: Comcast Sportsnet
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[IceHogs Announce 2014-15 Award Winners]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 10:02:32 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/Ice+Hogs+Jersey+p1.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks are still active in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but their AHL team finished up its regular season on Saturday as the Rockford IceHogs fell to the Toronto Marlies by a 3-1 margin.

The IceHogs will be competing in the Calder Cup Playoffs, which begin next week, but on Saturday night the team announced their award winners for the 2014-15 season.

Team MVP honors went to goaltender Michael Leighton, who had five shutouts and racked up a 22-13-4 record for the team this season. He also had a 2.26 goals against average on the season, and he had a .921 save percentage on the year.

Defenseman Kyle Cumiskey, whom the Blackhawks recalled for the postseason run, won the team’s "Defenseman of the Year" award as he was recognized for his two goals and 18 assists on the campaign.

Here are the rest of the award winners for the IceHogs:

Rookie of the Year: Ville Pokka

Unsung Hero: Peter Regin

Heavy Hitter: Cody Bass

Most Improved Player: Phillip Danault

The IceHogs will open the postseason against the defending AHL champion Texas Stars on Friday in the Lone Star State. They will play Games 3, 4 and 5 of the series at the BMO Harris Bank Centre.

<![CDATA[What Lineup Changes Could Blackhawks Explore in Game 3? ]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 16:44:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/blackhawks+team+getty.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks were tied at 2-2 against the Nashville Predators on Friday night, but four unanswered goals ended up costing the Hawks dearly as they dropped a 6-2 decision at Bridgestone Arena and saw their series end up knotted at one game apiece.

With the meltdown in Nashville, it would not be surprising to see the Blackhawks make some changes to their lineup for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. The question becomes this: which players will be inserted into the lineup, and which ones will continue to find themselves on the outside looking in?

With that in mind, we will take a look at some of the players who could find themselves put into the lineup for the game, and which ones will find themselves relegated to the press box.

Kyle Cumiskey

With the Blackhawks’ defensive breakdowns over the last two games, it seems likely that at least one of the team’s blue liners will be replaced in the lineup. At this point, it would appear that Kimmo Timonen will be that guy, as he’s played limited shifts and hasn’t looked particularly fast so far in these playoffs, but Michal Rozsival could potentially see himself removed from the lineup, although Joel Quenneville seems very attached to him as a fifth blue liner in the rotation.

Andrew Desjardins

The Blackhawks could look to establish a bit more of a physical element to their game, and Desjardins would certainly fit the bill. He had a good end to the season with Chicago, but he’s been replaced in the lineup by Joakim Nordstrom in the first two games of this series. That could change in this one, but Nordstrom could also be replaced by another player if Quenneville chooses to remove him.

David Rundblad

If Quenneville opts not to put Cumiskey into the lineup, Rundblad could be the guy to replace Timonen or Rozsival in the bottom pairing. Rundblad saw more ice time with the Blackhawks this season, and even though he struggled in a big way down the stretch, Quenneville could potentially trust him more than Cumiskey at this point.

Antoine Vermette

If there’s any player who has a chance of cracking the lineup Sunday, it could be Vermette. The Blackhawks could look to solidify their defense up the middle of the ice, and Vermette could also add some face-off ability to the mix. If he does come into the lineup, expect him to slot in at either second or third line center, and Andrew Shaw would likely get pushed to the wing on the third or fourth line for the Blackhawks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Quenneville Picks Darling to Start Game 3 ]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 14:17:34 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP348432304881.jpg

After surrendering six goals in a blowout loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday night, Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford will watch Sunday’s Game 3 from the bench as Scott Darling will get the start at the United Center.

“It’s a tough decision for us,” head coach Joel Quenneville said of the choice to go with Darling. “Crow has done so much for us in the past and he’s had a tremendous year.”

Crawford, who won the William Jennings Trophy for helping the Blackhawks to the fewest goals against in the NHL this season, has struggled in a big way so far in this series. In four periods of play, he’s allowed nine goals, and he was visibly rattled down the stretch of Friday’s loss.

Darling, meanwhile, was excellent in relief in Game 1 of the series, stopping all 42 shots he faced as the Hawks notched a come-from-behind 4-3 victory in double overtime.

Quenneville said that he wasn’t the one to give Crawford the news (that falls on goaltending coach Jimmy Waite), but he did say that he expects the goaltender will be okay with the decision.

“I would expect Crow to handle it like a pro,” he said. “I think he’d be understanding.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Weber Won't Travel to Chicago, Out for Game 3 vs. Hawks]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 13:55:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/shea+weber+getty.jpg

The Nashville Predators will have to play at least one more game without their captain and defensive leader as the team announced Shea Weber will not travel to Chicago for Game 3 of their series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Weber, who had 15 goals and 30 assists for the Predators during the regular season, is a fixture all over the ice for the team as his slap shot makes him a terrifying power play weapon and his physical play makes him a really good penalty killer as well. He has been dealing with a lower body injury over the past several weeks, and he appeared to aggravate the ailment in a collision with Brandon Saad along the boards in Nashville’s 6-2 win on Friday night.

If there is one thing working in Nashville’s favor as they try to replace Weber for Game 3 (and potentially longer), it’s that the team’s roster is loaded with players who shoot from the right hand side on their blue line. Here’s Yahoo’s Josh Cooper to explain:

“Strangely, if there is one team that can withstand the loss of Weber specifically, it happens to be Nashville. Weber is a right-handed shot and the Predators are loaded with right-handed defensemen – between Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones and Cody Franson. And the Predators are solid on the left side between Roman Josi and advanced stat monster Mattias Ekholm.”

The Predators’ ability to run deep with their defensive pairings has been one of their biggest strengths this season, but that depth takes a huge hit with Weber out of the lineup. The Predators were able to cope without him over the closing stages of Friday’s game, but with Game 3 in Chicago, Nashville loses the ability to dictate matchups and shield weaker pairings, and that gives the Blackhawks a strategic edge as the teams hit the ice on Sunday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crawford vs. Darling: Who Will Start Game 3? ]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 13:05:52 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/corey+crawford+scott+darling.jpg

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has made recovering from adversity a habit in his NHL career, but that talent of bouncing back was nowhere to be found on Friday night as he allowed six goals on 35 shots in a 6-2 loss to the Nashville Predators.

While the loss only tied things up in the series and still allowed the Blackhawks to maintain home ice advantage, it was a surprising setback for Crawford. Even during the times in Friday’s game that he wasn’t allowing goals, he still looked shaky in the crease, and when the tide turned in the third period and the Predators seemed to be scoring at will, he looked like a totally dejected and defeated goaltender.

All of that stood in stark contrast to the way he normally approaches his business in the postseason. Whether it was the Vancouver series in 2011, the Stanley Cup Final in 2013, or the series against the Minnesota Wild in 2014, Crawford has been a goaltender who responds wonderfully when challenges face him. This time around, there are some serious questions as to whether he can bounce back, or whether Quenneville should go to Scott Darling for Game 3 of the series on Sunday afternoon.

As it stands right now, there are three options for Quenneville to consider. The first option is to maintain status quo, saying that Crawford has been the starter and will continue to be the starter. This option is a slightly scary one with the way he’s been playing, but it also has the potential to work effectively, as Crawford may benefit in a big way from the change of scenery and snap out of whatever funk he’s been in.

Option No. 2 is to go with Crawford in Game 3, but to warn him that he is on a really short leash. That is hardly an ideal circumstance to go with as a goaltender is fighting through some issues in the crease, but it could also have the effect of focusing Crawford’s attention, and more importantly could inspire his teammates on the defensive side of the ice to really step up their games in order to help him.

The third option is to go back to Darling. This option raises some questions, such as what the Hawks will do if Darling starts struggling, but it also has the potential of snapping the team out of their lackadaisical approach to defense, and Darling looked excellent in Game 1 of the series, so there’s always the potential that he could maintain his hot streak of play.

Ultimately, the scenario that Quenneville seems most likely to pick is option No. 1, but not by a lot. He refused to commit to Crawford after Game 2, and there is definitely a possibility that he could go back to Darling for Game 3 of this series, but the coach is also well aware of what that would mean the rest of the way. If he puts Darling in net, he isn’t coming out. If he struggles, he will have to work through it. If he’s wildly successful, he’ll go the rest of the way.

If Quenneville does bench Crawford, fans will have to resist the temptation to draw broader conclusions about where it leaves the goaltender with the team. He is almost certainly going to be the starter next season (barring a cap-saving trade, which seems like an unlikely scenario), and just because he would be benched in a playoff game wouldn’t mean that there is a long-term goaltending controversy in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LA Kings' Stoll Arrested for Drugs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 03:08:33 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/179*120/460177104.jpg

It’s been a rough week for the Los Angeles Kings. Not only were the reigning Stanley Cup Champions eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, but now news has broken that their star center, Jarret Stoll, has been arrested in Las Vegas for possession of cocaine and MDMA.

Las Vegas Metro police arrested Stoll on Friday at the MGM Grand hotel for drug possession. The 32-year-old hockey player was relaxing at the Wet Republic pool when he was taken into custody for possession of cocaine and MDMA, a more pure form of the drug Ecstasy.

Stoll was released from jail on a $5,000 bond later in the evening and a hearing has been set for Saturday. According to the Clark County police, the NHL and the LA Kings have been made aware of the situation. When contacted regarding the incident, an LA Kings spokesperson said that they are aware of Stoll’s arrest and are “actively investigating” the matter and had no further comment.

Stoll completed the final year of his contract this season with the Kings and is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Off the ice, Stoll is the long time boyfriend of sportscaster and “Dancing with the Stars” host Erin Andrews. The pair have been dating since 2013, and recent reports had the couple engaged. No word yet on whether or not Andrews was with Stoll at the time of his arrest or if anybody else was with Stoll at the scene.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen]]>
<![CDATA[Predators Beat Blackhawks 6-2 ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 23:49:10 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Blackhawks-Predators-Hockey-17-April-2015.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks went into Game 2 against the Nashville Predators looking to take a stranglehold on the series, but the Predators had other ideas as they used four unanswered goals to grab a 6-2 victory on Friday night.

Craig Smith scored two goals and dished out an assist, and Filip Forsberg had a goal and assist as the Predators tied the series. Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp each added goals for the Hawks, but it wasn’t enough as Chicago lost in embarrassing fashion.

The Blackhawks got a great early chance in the game when Jonathan Toews’ shot was steered aside by Pekka Rinne, but Nashville responded with extreme malice and scored quickly. Skating with a power play, Colin Wilson got the puck along the boards, dribbled right past Johnny Oduya, and took advantage of Corey Crawford’s early descent into the butterfly position as he flipped a shot just underneath the crossbar to make it a 1-0 game.

Over the next ten minutes, the Predators continued to dominate the proceedings, and the Blackhawks couldn’t get a shot on goal to save their lives. Fortunately for the Hawks, Crawford made some big saves during that stretch, including one on Wilson to keep things close.

The Blackhawks started to turn things around near the end of the period, with Kane and Kris Versteeg each getting quality chances, but it took a delayed penalty on Nashville for the Hawks to score. After a scramble near the front of the net, Sharp managed to pick the puck up, spin around, and lift a shot past Rinne to tie things up at 1-1.

Things looked like they’d remain tied after the first period, but Roman Josi had other ideas. Breaking into the Hawks’ zone with a head full of steam, Josi blew past several Blackhawks’ defenders before taking advantage of a screen in front of Crawford as he fired a shot into the back of the net to give Nashville a 2-1 lead with just 3.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Blackhawks started out the second period in similar fashion to their Game 1 effort, but they didn’t get the same success early on. Sharp and Marcus Kruger did a nice job of getting scoring chances early, and then the Hawks got a power play as Michal Rozsival took a high stick, but nothing seemed to work out as the Predators retained their lead.

About halfway through the period, the Blackhawks took advantage of some neutral zone confusion and tied the game up. Kane jumped off the bench as Patrick Sharp and Bryan Bickell were held up near the barrier, and Brent Seabrook hammered a pass right onto Kane’s stick. Kane then fired a wrist shot past Rinne with ease, and the game was tied at 2-2.

With about five minutes to go in the frame, the Predators seized the lead back. With the puck laying in front of the goal, both Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith whiffed on clearing attempts, and Craig Smith took advantage as he wristed a shot past Crawford to give the Predators a 3-2 lead after two periods of play.

As the third period opened, it appeared that the Predators scored a goal, but the play was immediately waved off as Mike Santroelli was whistled for interfering with Crawford. Crawford made a big save on Wilson a few moments later, and the Blackhawks backed him up as they helped kill off a Jonathan Toews interference penalty to keep the game at a one-goal margin.

With about seven minutes to go in the game, everything began to unravel for Chicago. Craig Smith did a nice job to work his way around Rozsival, and he forced a shot on net. Crawford tried to push the rebound away with his blocker, but Filip Forsberg had other ideas as he scored and made it a 4-2 game.

Over the final minutes of the game, the Predators scored two more goals. Smith scored his second goal of the game with about five and a half minutes to go, and then Santorelli put a final nail in the Hawks’ coffin for the game, leaving Crawford dejected in the crease and the Predators celebrating a 6-2 victory.

The Blackhawks won’t have much time to lick their wounds, as they will be returning to the United Center for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is at 2 p.m., and the game will be televised on NBC 5 Chicago.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hawks Look to Take 2-0 Series Lead Over Predators ]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:11:13 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP43873623783_2_Blackhawks.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have an opportunity to put a huge dent in the Nashville Predators’ playoff hopes on Friday night as they look to take a 2-0 series lead in Game 2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

The Blackhawks certainly did not make things easy for themselves as they went down by a 3-0 margin after the first period of play in Game 1 Wednesday, but 42 saves by relief goaltender Scott Darling made a world of difference as they picked up a come-from-behind victory in double overtime thanks to Duncan Keith’s goal.

Now, they will be looking to play with house money as they try to take a strangehold on the series. The Predators have now lost seven games in a row thanks to their defeat in Game 1, and despite having home ice advantage and a huge lead in that contest, they will have to go into desperation mode in order to avoid a big series hole.

They can take some small bit of comfort out of the fact that they were the better team at even strength during Wednesday’s game. Three of the Blackhawks’ four goals came in situations that weren’t 5-on-5, and it was those kinds of mistakes that led to power plays and 4-on-4 time that really bit the Predators. If they are going to win Game 2, they will have to cut back on those errors and keep the Hawks at even strength.

For the Hawks, forcing the Predators into those types of errors is simply a matter of maintaining puck possession and withstanding the physical punishment that Nashville is capable of inflicting. The Predators clearly looked rattled as the Hawks made their comeback, and it was due in large part to the fact that the Blackhawks shut down the neutral zone and stifled a lot of offensive possessions for the home side.

The Blackhawks will also need to get improved performances out of their top six forwards. Guys like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane looked good in penalty killing situations, but all six players had negative Fenwick scores during the game, and the tale of the tape in the Corsi department wasn’t much better. Simply put, the team wasn’t generating enough scoring chances with their primary scorers on the ice, and that trend has got to change in Friday’s game.

Finally, the Blackhawks will need to get a great performance out of Corey Crawford if they are going to be victorious in this one. Joel Quenneville made the right decision in sticking with his starting goaltender after he gave up three goals in just 12 shots in Wednesday’s victory, and with the opening night jitters out of the way, Crawford will have to be in top form as Nashville is sure to come out firing early and often in this one.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Announce 2015 Preseason Schedule]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:38:37 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/160*120/soldier-field-paint.jpg

Last week the Chicago Bears revealed their four opponents for the preseason schedule, but on Friday afternoon the team announced when they will be playing their four games to get ready for the regular season.

They will open the preseason schedule on Aug. 13 when they take on the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. They will then hit the road for two straight Saturday tilts as they take on the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, and they will wrap up the preseason on Thursday, Sept. 3 as they battle the Cleveland Browns.

The full schedule:

  • Thur., Aug. 13: vs. Miami Dolphins 7:00 p.m.
  • Sat., Aug. 22: at Indianapolis Colts 6:30 p.m.
  • Sat., Aug. 29: at Cincinnati Bengals 6:30 p.m.
  • Thur., Sept. 3: vs. Cleveland Browns 7:00 p.m.

All games will be broadcast on Fox 32 Chicago, according to the team. The NFL will announce the full regular season schedule some time next week. 

<![CDATA[Abdul-Jabbar Has Heart Surgery]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 20:09:07 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/173*120/AP120126058268.jpg

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery Thursday after being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with cardiovascular disease this week, Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement released by the University of California Los Angeles' Health Science Department.

The Basketball Hall of Fame member's surgery was a success and he was expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Richard Shermin, UCLA's chief of cardiac surgery, said in the statement.

Abdul-Jabbar thanked his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA and said he was "looking forward to getting back to normal activities soon."

He asked that support for him go toward people in the community who may also be suffering from various health issues.

No other information was available.

<![CDATA[Survey: Which Team Will Go Deeper in Their Playoffs?]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:21:02 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flash+survey+new.jpg


<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Player Strangled Cellmate: Coroner]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:38:28 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/lawrence-phillips-2005.jpg

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips killed his cellmate by strangling him, authorities said Thursday.

The Kern County Coroner released the new details in the homicide of Damion Soward, 37, at the Kern Valley State Prison. The coroner’s report states that Soward died of neck compression asphyxia.

Phillips, 39, is charged with Soward’s murder and is currently being held in a segregation unit at the prison.

Phillips is already serving a 31-year sentence for multiple charges, including spousal abuse and auto theft, officials said.

Phillips was once one of the nation's top college football players at Nebraska. He was drafted 6th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 1996 NFL Draft.

He only played in 25 games and scored 12 touchdowns for the Rams, but also had short stints with the Miami Dolphins and San Francisco 49ers.

In 2005, jurors convicted Phillips of choking a former girlfriend twice in San Diego, once into unconsciousness. He was also convicted of hitting three teenagers with his car in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 Archives]]>
<![CDATA[Kris Bryant to Be Called Up by Cubs: Report]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 00:01:12 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/180*120/4649647081.jpg

The Chicago Cubs have a farm system full of talented prospects, but none are more hotly anticipated than Kris Bryant, and according to reports, he will be joining the team this weekend.

Citing a source familiar with the situation, Comcast SportsNet Chicago reported Thursday the Cubs will be bringing Bryant up to the major league roster on Friday. With injuries to several players, including Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella, the Cubs were in desperate need of infield help, and Bryant fits that bill.

"Today I got to tell my family that my dream is coming true," Bryant posted on his personal Twitter account late Thursday night. "Can’t really put into words what that feels like. So excited for this journey!"

Taken with the second overall pick in the 2013, Bryant had an incredible spring training for the Cubs, slugging eight home runs in Cactus League play and adding fuel to the fire over the debate as to when Bryant should be called up.

The Cubs ended up making a business decision with Bryant, leaving him in the minors long enough that he wouldn't be able to accrue a full year of service time this season.

That delay will be enough to ensure that Bryant won't be able to hit free agency until after the 2021 season, thus giving the Cubs a full extra year of contractual control over the star prospect.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coach Q: Crawford Will Start Game 2 Vs. Predators]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:18:09 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/corey+crawford+getty.jpg

After pulling Corey Crawford from Wednesday night's 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators, there was some question as to whether or not he would get the start in Game 2 of the series.

On Thursday, Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville put that speculation to rest, saying that Crawford would get the start on Friday night, with Scott Darling returning to the back-up role.

"It was kind of a no-brainer," Quenneville told the media of the decision. "He's our starting goalie. He's been our strength all year."

The decision comes a day after Crawford was pulled following the first period of Game 1. In that frame, the goaltender gave up three goals, and Quenneville replaced him with Darling at the start of the second period.

Darling made 42 saves and allowed zero goals after coming in, and the Blackhawks stormed back for a 4-3 victory in double overtime to get the goaltender a victory in his Stanley Cup playoff debut.

Game 2 will take place at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Nashville. 


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Should Darling Start Over Crawford in Game 2? ]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:09:48 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP348432304881.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks got the postseason off to an appropriately zany start on Wednesday night, charging back from a 3-0 deficit and seizing a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the teams’ first round series.

The game was started by Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford, but after conceding three goals on 12 shots, he was replaced by back-up netminder Scott Darling. Darling, who played in 14 games for the Blackhawks during the regular season, promptly came in and stopped the next 42 shots that he faced, leading the Blackhawks to the comeback victory.

After his wild success, which saw him make save after incredible save as he stymied the Predators, the question that inevitably is going to come up among Blackhawks’ fans is this: Should Darling start Game 2 of the series over Crawford?


The argument for such a move is simple. When the playoffs roll around, coaches tend to “go with the hot hand” when it comes to netminders. In Detroit for example, the Red Wings are going with Petr Mrazek over Jimmy Howard in net, as Howard has struggled mightily over the final weeks of the season. Jake Allen will also be starting in net for the St. Louis Blues, usurping regular starter Brian Elliott in the blue paint.

In the case of the Blackhawks, Darling didn’t just come in and mop up after Crawford left Wednesday’s game. He was forced to make some incredible saves during his time in the net, and he didn’t look fazed by the bright lights of the playoff stage. Making 42 saves against an offense that was working as effectively as the Predators’ was on Wednesday night is quite a feat, and it’s certainly one that will encourage debate.

All of that being said, it’s highly unlikely that Darling will get the start over Crawford, and that is the right way to go. “Hot hand” tactics are all well and good, but Crawford is coming off of arguably the best regular season of his career. One bad period that saw a slew of defensive breakdowns (the biggest one was Michal Rozsival’s defensive gaffe on the first goal) and a really trick deflection (Seth Jones’ shot from the point was deflected in by Colin Wilson in front) shouldn’t undo all of that work that he put in for six months during the season, and Crawford should be in net for Game 2.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Survey: Darling or Crawford For Hawks' Game 2?]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:51:00 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/flash+survey+new.jpg

Scott Darling had a stellar performance Wednesday night, lifting the Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Head Coach Joel Quenneville called it one of the greatest relief performances you'll ever see by a goaltender. 

Should Darling start over Corey Crawford in Game 2? Vote below.


<![CDATA[Calgary Flames Defeat Vancouver Canucks 2-1]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:22:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/469873146.jpg

Defenseman Kris Russell scored with just under 30 seconds remaining in the third period, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday night.

David Jones also scored for the Flames, who were down 1-0 entering the third period. Jonas Hiller stopped 29 shots in the Flames' first playoff game since 2009.

Bo Horvat opening the scoring for Vancouver midway in the second period. Jannik Hansen and Alexander Edler assisted on the play.

Vancouver hosts Game 2 on Friday night.

Russell's shot from the point found its way through traffic after a dominant shift by the Flames that had the Canucks hemmed in deep.

Eddie Lack made 28 saves for Vancouver, which is back in the postseason after missing out last spring for the first time in six years.

Horvat snapped a scoreless tie after Lack, in his first playoff start, made a couple of big saves at the other end. The 20-year-old rookie had his first shot blocked, but his follow-up on the backhand nicked off the skate of Calgary defenseman Dennis Wideman in front and past Hiller.

Calgary, which won 10 games when trailing after 40 minutes in the regular season and was tied for first in the NHL with 99 third-period goals, tied the game midway in the final session. After a soft play by the Canucks at their own blue line, the Flames broke in on a quick 3-on-2 in transition, with Jones roofing a shot over Lack.

The goal came on the heels of a pair of big saves by Hiller.

Notes: Vancouver has not won at home in the playoffs since Game 5 of the 2011 Stanley Cup final against Boston, a span of seven contests. The Canucks had also lost 10 of their last 11 playoff games overall dating back to Game 6 of the series with the Bruins. ... Calgary rookie Sam Bennett — playing in just his second professional game — had a strong chance after cutting out of the corner before being denied by Lack.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Best of the 2015 NHL Playoffs]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 22:05:16 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/AP710209314180.jpg The 2015 NHL playoffs are officially underway. Check out these photos highlighting the best teams in the league and their quest to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.]]> <![CDATA[Oh My Darling! Hawks Down Predators 4-3]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:27:25 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/204*120/469860366.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks went down early in Game 1 to the Nashville Predators, but four unanswered goals led them to a 4-3 victory in double overtime. 

Duncan Keith ended up securing the game-winner in the extra session, and Jonathan Toews, Niklas Hjalmarsson, and Patrick Sharp also added tallies as the Hawks grabbed victory on the road. 

The Blackhawks got off to a really solid start in the game, but the Predators ultimately wrested control of the tempo back, and they got on the board first. With Michal Rozsival drifting toward the middle of the ice, Wilson drove past him along the boards and fired a wicked wrist shot past Crawford to make it a 1-0 game.

Things nearly went from bad to worse for the Blackhawks as were sent to the penalty kill thanks to Andrew Shaw. In spite of some good chances from James Neal and Filip Forsberg, Nashville couldn’t quite pot a goal, and they remained ahead by just one tally.

With less than three minutes to go in the period, the Blackhawks conceded another goal. This time it was Crawford committing an egregious sin, as he came out of the net to play the puck and was unable to as it remained in the restricted area. Viktor Stalberg ended up stealing the puck and flicking a wraparound shot into the goal to make it a 2-0 game.

The disastrous period wasn’t over just yet for the Blackhawks however as Nashville scored again just before intermission. Seth Jones got the puck at the blue line as the Predators skated on a power play, and his slap shot was deflected by Wilson as he picked up his second goal of the contest and made it a 3-0 contest.

Darling came in for the beginning of the second period to relieve Crawford, and the change in mojo seemed to do the trick as the Blackhawks scored. Teuvo Teravainen got ahold of the puck behind the Hawks’ net on a 4-on-4 sequence, and Hjalmarsson made a brilliant play to push into the seam in the middle of the ice. Teravainen found the defenseman in stride, and Hjalmarsson muscled a shot past Pekka Rinne to put the Blackhawks on the board.

After a series of penalties to both teams, the Blackhawks eventually were able to get a 5-on-3 power play, and they converted almost immediately. Marian Hossa made a tremendous play to keep the puck in the zone along the boards, and eventually it worked its way to Patrick Kane. Kane ripped a pass across the zone, and although he was stopped on his first attempt, Sharp hammered home the rebound to cut the lead to 3-2.

After another Nashville penalty put the Blackhawks back on the power play, the visitors tied things up late in the second period. After some solid puck movement, Toews made a quick move inside along the goal line and jammed the puck into the net under Rinne’s leg pad, and as the game headed into the second intermission it was knotted up at 3-3.

The Blackhawks came out firing to start the third period as they looked to continue their momentum, but they couldn’t quite get anything home. A Mike Ribeiro penalty gave them a golden opportunity to score, but several shots skipped just wide of the cage as the Hawks dominated the pace of play.

The Predators got a power play of their own near the halfway mark of the period, and suddenly Darling was forced into the action in a big way. He made a couple of huge saves during the ensuing two minutes, including a post-to-post save on a shot by Ryan Ellis to keep things tied up.

As the third period rolled on, Darling made another series of saves to help force overtime. First it was Ribeiro feeling ripped off as Darling made a save at the near post, and a few moments later Roman Josi’s shot attempt was kicked out. Finally Shea Weber had a chance in the closing seconds of regulation to take the lead for Nashville, but Darling used his blocker to knock it away and force overtime.

The teams both got off to solid starts in the overtime period, with chances galore coming as soon as the puck dropped. Hossa skipped a shot just wide of the net early on, and then Darling made a great save on Forsberg. Versteeg then blew a 2-on-1 chance as his attempted pass across was smothered by the defense, and Darling made the score stick as he made another huge stop on Forsberg.

Over the last half of the overtime period, both teams got power play chances, but neither side could convert. There were more chances for both sides in those minutes, with Bryan Bickell and Patrick Kane each getting quality opportunities for the Hawks, but nothing would go in as the game remained tied after the first overtime period.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bulls Lock Up Third Seed With Win Over Hawks]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 21:51:49 -0500 http://media.nbcchicago.com/images/213*120/Bulls-Hawks-15-April-2015.jpg

 Aaron Brooks scored 23 points and the Chicago Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Atlanta Hawks 91-85 on Wednesday night in the regular-season finale.

The Bulls locked up the third seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks with their fourth straight win.

The Hawks, who won a franchise-record 60 games and earned the top seed, matched a season high with their third straight loss.

Brooks carried the Bulls in the second half with Rose watching from the sideline. He scored nine in the third quarter and pulled Chicago back into it after Atlanta went up by 18.

Jimmy Butler scored 21. Pau Gasol added 18 points and 13 rebounds for his 54th double-double, and the Bulls hit the 50-win mark even though Rose scored just two points in 10 minutes.

Joakim Noah (left hamstring tendinitis) sat out the game and Taj Gibson exited with a strained left shoulder.

Dennis Schroder came off the bench to score 21 points for Atlanta on 9-of-13 shooting. Al Horford added 14 points and seven rebounds. Paul Millsap scored five after missing five games because of a sprained right shoulder.

Chicago was leading 87-85 when Atlanta's Austin Daye missed a short turnaround jumper with 1:44 left. The Bulls controlled the rebound and Butler hit two free throws. He then stole the ball from Daye and fed Gasol for a running layup that made it 91-85 with 1:16 remaining.

Atlanta looked like it was ready to bury the Bulls with a 60-42 lead after scoring the first 11 points of the third quarter. But with Rose watching from the sideline, Brooks pulled Chicago back into it.

He scored nine in the quarter and drove for a layup in the closing seconds to cut it to 72-70.

With Atlanta leading 77-73 early in the fourth, the Bulls scored eight straight. Nazr Mohammed tied it with a layup. Jimmy Butler hit two free throws and Mike Dunleavy Jr. finished the run with a jumper to make it 81-77.

Photo Credit: AP]]>