Putting the Playoff Pieces Together

The Chicago Bulls have been missing some key starters for quite a few months now, their “Bench Mob” has been holding their own on the court, but it looks like they may soon be full strength again, or at least a bit closer.

Hopefully we will be seeing ex-Piston Rip Hamilton suit up against Detroit during tonight’s game. After this morning’s shoot around practice coach Tom Thibodeau said Hamilton participated in the entire practice, that he would be a game time decision, but CSNChicago.com reported, “A source with knowledge of the situation told CSNChicago.com Friday afternoon that the 13-year pro, who last played in the opening minutes of a March 5 home win over Indiana, will return to the lineup Friday evening against the Pistons at the United Center.”

The real question is, when is our reigning MVP Derrick Rose going to be healthy again? Chicago obviously wants him completely recovered – no need to re-injure the nasty groin injury – but we also don’t want him coming off the bench cold turkey for the playoffs. After this morning’s shoot around he told Comcast Sportsnet Chicago, “There’s not too much to say. I’m trying to get better every day, just trying to get healthy. It’s coming along, so hopefully I’ll be out there soon,” he explained. “It’s killing me. Just being out, missing the action, some good games have been played, but really taking my injury into concern. I’m not trying to rush back, where if I do rush back too early, I could re-injure it, so just taking my time.” Rose participated in part of this morning’s shoot around practice.

Found this fun little statistical chart on CSNChicago.com. You have to give head coach Thibodeau major props for ingraining a suffocating defensive strategy. The Bulls are 13-5 without their star player. We will only get better with a healthy Hamilton and Rose.

Season Reigning MVP GM missed  Team W-L  Head Coach
 1993-94  Charles Barkley, PHX  17  8-9  Paul Westphal
 1994-95  Hakeem Olajuwon, HOU  10  3-7  Rudy Tomjanovich
 2001-02  Allen Iverson, PHI  22  7-15  Larry Brown
 2003-04  Tim Duncan, SA  13  6-7  Gregg Popovich
 2011-12  Derrick Rose, CHI  18  13-5  Tom Thibodeau

Sharp or Keith? Do We Really Have to Choose?

Well gosh, thanks for making it hard on us EA Sports! How are Blackhawks fans supposed to choose between Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith? You sure we can’t have both?

The two stars are vying for the spot to represent the Hawks in EA Sports’ fan voting contest, the winner will grace the cover of “NHL 13.” The voting will consist of two preliminary rounds, the first round has two members from each of the 30 NHL franchises (March 29-April 11), the second round is narrowed to 32 players – each winner from every team with two separate wild cards (April 12-22), and the final round is a 16-player bracket to produce a winner (April 12-22). The cover-contest champion will be announced June 20 at the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

VS

So who do Chicago fans choose? They’re both assistant captains, they were both apart of the Stanley Cup Championship team, they would both look fancy on the cover of a video game. If we’re basing this on looks alone, my heart belongs to Patrick Sharp – his face is perfection. However, I also think their is a certain demeanor NHL defensive players have (who doesn’t love watching a man slam another man into the boards?) which gives recently suspended Keith an upper hand – we all remember when he got his teeth knocked out and kept playing. The RedEye Chicago also pointed out that Keith has a Norris Trophy and an Olympic gold medal, Sharpie might not be considered as “prestigious” to some. This is going to take some serious consideration.

You can cast your vote by going to the Cover Vote page, by visiting the EA Sports NHL Facebook page or by tweeting your vote using the hashtag #NHL13Cover.

 

Big Three? Child, Please…

I don’t mean to live in the past, but this picture is awesome 🙂

Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher (now on the OKC Thunder) of the LA Lakers have nothing on the real big three. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman (we’re going to ignore his current status for the purposes of this article) circa the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty will forever resonate in my mind as the best trio in the NBA.

DePaul Interested in Building Arena in Chicago

DePaul University is trying to get back on the NCAA maps for men’s basketball, and the first step in their strategic plan is creating a new arena near the school’s campus in Lincoln Park. YEAAAA! Reverend Dennis Holtschneider (the school president) is making moves!

This plan requires approval from the university’s board of trustees and will be on the agenda for their May meeting. They currently have two rumored potential locations: the Finkl Steel property which is walking distance from the DePaul campus and the Morton Salt Company property on Elston Avenue near both the Kennedy Expressway and the Chicago River.

DePaul’s current contract with the All State Arena in Rosemont only runs through 2015, if approved, this project would move forward in a very timely manner. The new arena is part of the master plan to attract Chicago area basketball stars to choose DePaul for their collegiate careers. Chicago has plenty of talent in this city, but DePaul did not have much to offer in comparison to other universities around the area, “Come play at our school and take a 20-minute bus ride to your arena” – yea no thanks. From the late 1970’s through the mid 1990’s, DePaul was one of the nation’s top college programs and completely dominated the Chicago area, bringing back this success is the ultimate goal.

As a DePaul alumna, this idea is thrilling. DePaul students do not want to get on a bus, sit in traffic on the Kennedy Expressway for over an hour (I had a few bathroom scares during that trip – it’s so long), and go all the way out to Rosemont to cheer on their Blue Demons. There is a true disconnect having the stadium so far away from the actual school, it definitely didn’t help promote school spirit. I also have a little theory, the two programs that currently house their stadiums on campus, Women’s Basketball and Women’s Softball, are DePaul’s most successful programs…I say, bring on the new stadium! I would love to one day get the chance to cheer on my alma mater during March Madness!

Keith Suspended 5 Games

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith was suspended Friday after elbowing Canucks star Daniel Sedin during Wednesday night’s game at the United Center. Keith’s suspension will be five games with no pay – his cheap shot will cost him $149,688 reports ESPN Chicago.

“I respect (the suspension) and I’m going to serve five games and I’m looking forward to getting back,” Keith said. “I’m not going to sit here and question things or wonder how they came to the decision. I respect what they decided was fair and I’ll serve my time.”

If you ask me, Sedin deserved it. The Canucks are absolutely one of the dirtiest teams in hockey and just minutes before Sedin hard checked Keith into the boards, but his hit went unpenalized. The league would not comment publicly if the referees should have called a penalty, but spokesman Gary Meagher simply said: “It did not rise to the level of needing supplemental discipline.” Yea…uh huh. The Sedin brothers need to get shaken up every once in a while. Sedin missed the Canucks’ Thursday victory against the Stars because of a suspected concussion, his injury played a big part in Keith’s suspension as well.

Hopefully the Blackhawks can tough it out without Keith tonight against the Nashville Predators. Blackhawks have won five consecutive games, a win tonight would be their longest winning streak since last season.

Holy Hot Dog!

This ain’t no Oscar Mayer wiener, this is a monster wiener. The Texas Rangers have confirmed they will be selling this 2-foot, 1-pound weenie at their ballpark this upcoming season. It’s said to serve three to four fans and will cost $26 – that’s one expensive and heavy weenie.

“It has to be a tremendous wiener. And then we’re getting some kind of exotic bread flown in from France. And I don’t know what kind of condiments you put on that. But I do want to look at it,” said team president Nolan Ryan.

The dog is a Coney Island-style wiener that will be topped with shredded cheese, chili and sautéed onions. Not to mention the bun, apparently made of “exotic bread flown in from France.”

Apparently they’re having a difficult time determining a consistent name for this ginormous hot dog. Depending on where you purchase it in the park there are two different names. If you dine at the Captain Morgan Club, it’s a “Champion Dog.” However, concession stands throughout Rangers Ballpark will also be selling the schnitzel, and will call it the “Boomstick.”

This hot dog reminds me of the “Victory Knot” at the United Center – most expensive ($15) and delicious 2-pound soft pretzel around. I mean at least they give you three different kinds of dipping sauces, and yes I’ve eaten one.

The saying holds true, everything really is bigger in Texas. I do wonder how this hotdog makes the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine feel. They’re the ones responsible for putting up this lovely billboard on Chicago’s Eisenhower expressway:

For the sake of Ranger’s fans or any baseball fan, lets hope this billboard is just a publicity stunt.

Forte Feelin’ Disrespected?

Chicago Bears have made yet another move to improve their roster by signing running back Michael Bush to a four year deal this morning. Who knew things at Halas Hall would be so lively? Chicagoans aren’t used to such activity!

The Bears snatched Bush from the Oakland Raiders, now securing a more than able back-up if anything serious ever happened to Pro Bowler Matt Forte. Earlier this winter, the Bears slapped Fore with a franchise tag (strike one), and this move most likely prolongs negotiations with Matt Forte on a long-term deal, some analysts stating this situation causes major flux on his total value to the franchise (strike two).

Bush’s deal is worth 14 million over the four years, with $7 of that guaranteed money. The pickup of Bush almost assures the departure of Marion Barber before or during training camp (I’m not sure the two fumbles in Denver last season were ever forgiven, falling into the trap of Tebowmania), but Chicago’s star running back is the player who has been most vocal about this deal.

A perfect example of the beauty of twitter, tell us how you really feel Forte:

Ouch. I think he means – nice guys finish last – but it’s okay buddy, we get your point. To be fair, Forte doesn’t call out the Bears or the franchise, but he did happen to retweet Greg Olsen’s “If u have a studd 3 down guy like @MattForte22 why keep paying backups big $ every yr? Crazy!! Matt deserves better” comment and then tweet this gem an hour later. Is Forte seeing a lack of respect from the Bears organization?