Top 10 Chicago Sports Stories of 2013

From Derrick, to Kaner, to Jay and Josh, there was plenty to talk about on and off the field in the Chicago sports world.

11 photos
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Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup Trophy after defeating the Boston Bruins in Game Six of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2.
Sports Illustrated
High School Hoopers: Years from now, this period could go down as a golden age of Chicago prep hoopsters. Perspectives Charter School's Anthony Davis went No. 1 in the 2012 NBA draft, Simeon's Jabari Parker is turning heads at Duke and could be the No. 1 pick in 2014, and Whitney Young's Jahlil Okafor is already projected as the top pick in 2015 before even stepping foot on Duke's campus.
Manti Te'o's Catfish Saga: This goes down as the oddest sports moment of the year. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o was experiencing his own Hallmark made-for-TV moment when he overcame all odds and came up big on the field following the death of his grandmother and girlfriend. As it turned out, that online girlfriend didn't really exist, because he was a victim of a hoax by an so-called friend -- a story better suited to MTV than Lifetime.
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Bears Switch Coaches: The Bears decided to move in a different philosphical direction by firing Lovie Smith after a 10 win, non-playoff season. There were early doubts about Marc Trestman and his recent CFL pedigree, but the offense has thrived under his tutelage, even if the normally-stout defense has suddenly looked old.
Bad Baseball: You'd think a city with two baseball teams would provide something to cheer about, but it was a long summer on both the North and South Sides of the city. The White Sox suddenly looked old, finishing 63-99, the third worst record in the league and only the fifth time in team history they finished with 98 or more losses. The clearly rebuilding Cubs finished 71-91, and may have taken a step backward when the Theo regime determined manager Dale Sveum wasn't the right person to move the team forward.
Streaking Blackhawks: The Blackhawks slammed their foot on the gas to start the strike-shortened 2013 season and didn't let up, racking up an NHL-record 24 games without a loss, gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated as the "Franchise That Brought Hockey Back," captivating the city and kicking off an early buzz that would reach a crescendo a few short months later.
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Urlacher Retires: It wasn't supposed to be like this. One of the greatest linebackers in Chicago Bears history should have retired in a Bears uniform in a blaze of glory. Instead, Urlachar left bitter, insulted at the team's contract offer, and eventually retired after being unable to get a better deal elsewhere. Sometime down the road Urlacher will get the Soldier Field sendoff he deserves, but for now, it just smells and tastes bad.
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Bulls Playoff Run: Nobody would have blamed the Bulls if the team fell flat without Derrick Rose and didn't even make the playoffs. But behind some all-world performances by Nate Robinson, the team ousted the higher-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the first round, and put up a spirited fight against the eventual champion Miami Heat without the services of Luol Deng.
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Questioning the Quarterback: Jay or Josh? Bears fans weren't expecting a quarterback controversy this year, but that's exactly what transpired after Jay Cutler went down with two injuries and Josh McCown lit the football world on fire. According to the Bears brass, there is no controversy -- Jay is their guy -- but the #TeamJosh supporters aren't shy about letting their voices be heard.
Derrick Rose's Knees: Will he play or won't he? Derrick Rose's position as the most beloved, young athlete in the city took several hits this year due to the long, drawn-out drama over whether he would suit up for the 2012-2013 season. Bulls fans got over the grumbling and held out hope that a fully-healed Rose would take the team to the promised land this season. But an injury to Rose's other knee derailed those plans, sending the team and a basketball-mad city into an emotional free-fall.
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Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup: In sports, it comes down to championships, so the Blackhawks winning their second Stanley Cup since 2010 is easily the top local sports story of the year. The only doubt came in the second round, when the Hawks' arch-rival Detroit Red Wings took the series to seven games. It turned out to be the only legitimate scare, with the Hawks easily dispatching the previous two Stanley Cup champion LA Kings and Boston Bruins, and provoking serious discussions of a potential dynasty.
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