Tag Archives: Chicago

CSWonline | Question of the Day 4/29

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Alex Brard– Hey man, how do you feel about derrick rose, and how will the franchise be if he doesn’t play next year?

CSWonline– Well, a torn ACL is an injury which requires a minimum of six to nine months of recovery/rehab, which means Rose will miss time into next season, probably coming back around the All-Star break if everything goes smoothly. In terms of the Bulls chances to succeed without him now, I think they have a legitimate shot to get past Boston in the second round, considering how much preparation guys like John Lucas III and Ronnie Brewer have had in Rose’s absence this season. Against the Heat, it is a whole other story. Although the Bulls tied the season series against the Heat during the regular season, this is the playoffs, and everything is on the line. Even with Rose on the floor, I still don’t think the Bulls had a chance, due to the fact that Rose’s still wasn’t in game shape from the x-number of injuries he suffered during the shortened season. Looking to next year, I think the Bulls will be fine for the regular season, but once again the Bulls playoff hopes rest on the shoulders of the leagues reigning MVP. If he can’t recover in time to at least play post All-Star break, there is no chance the Bulls make another run at a championship.

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It Ain’t the Year…Again

by Brad Shulkin (ChicagoSportsWeekly)

God, there is so much to make of the Cubs this season. Will they be contenders in a Central Division that lacks a lot of power, especially with two of the best hitters in baseball, Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, leaving their respective teams to get more money? It’s very hard to say at this point in time, but I would’t bet on it. The Cubs are young, but not rebuilding, with guys like Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd filling holes in the outfield until the younger guys can make the move up to the big leagues. Actually, on second thought, they are the holes, especially Soriano and his glove, which I am convinced has a giant hole right in the middle of it. But Cubs fans, don’t worry, he has shown great promise this Spring. Didn’t that happen last year as well?

Let me take some time to point out something that needs to be pointed out. For the first time since I was born, a little over 18 years ago, the line “THIS IS THE YEAR” has yet to be used. Maybe it’s Epstein’s aura in Chicago, or maybe Cubs fans finally realize that any team with Alfonso Soriano just can’t win. Or maybe it’s Carlos Zambrano, whose move to Miami sparked huge expectations for a championship this year. God, I always knew Carlos was special. Being a fan for all my life, I still can’t fully understand the makeup of a Cubs fan, sitting at Wrigley day in and day out, rooting for their team that no matter what, will still continue to lose.

Over the past few years, I have really seen first hand at what the Cubs organization is all about. But when the Ricketts family was forced to bring in the all-star crew of Epstein and Jed Hoyer, I knew that it was bad. It says a lot about an organization when the top headlines for the year surround all-star front office men, and not all-star talent on the field. I absolutely won’t be betting on the Cubs to even make the playoffs, even with the new rule, which sends two wildcard teams to the post season.

Now lets get serious.  I really like what the Cubs are doing on the player development side. I have said this for years, but until the Cubs revamp their minor league system and start from scratch, they will never win a World Series. Up until this year, they had one of the worst player development systems in the league, destroying young talent by sending them up to the big leagues to early in their careers. But now under the management of Theo, the system is starting to take shape. Ultimately structure was lacking, and I give the Ricketts family a lot of credit for bringing in the best guy to fix the problem.

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First Baseman Anthony Rizzo

In terms of the Cubs ability to compete on the field this year, I would say not a chance. A lot of this year will be dedicated towards experimentation to see which players are at the level to play in the big leagues. Although Theo and Jed have said that they are not in a rebuilding mode numerous times, I still can’t buy it 100 percent. I think that to create a proven winner that will contend for numerous years to come, they need to experiment with the players they have and see which ones are big league ready.

One guy I would watch out for this year is Anthony Rizzo. The Cubs recently just sent him down to the minor leagues, but we all know at some point in the season, he will be back up. The cubs acquired Rizzo in a trade with San Diego, with the goal of making him their first baseman of the future. He has the potential to be a big force in the big leagues, but hasn’t shown it quite yet. Although his big spring did help his cause, hitting .364 including five hits in 10 at-bats against lefties, he has to prove that he can do this on a consistent basis. If Bryan LaHair should struggle in the big leagues, Rizzo will absolutely get the call later in the year.

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Chicago Blackhawks President, CEO John McDonough reflects on career

Q: Where did you go to college and what kind of student were you?

A: “I went to Notre Dame High School in Niles, Illinois and St. Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. I was a bad student. I think my grade point average at Notre Dame was a 2.3, and I think I was 311 out of 356 in my class. When I went to college, I didn’t get much better.”

Q: What changed for you in between college and getting a job with the Cubs in terms of your life goals? What got you motivated to do something with your life?

A: “I had a conversation with my mom. She was very much into academics, and I didn’t do so well in either high school or college. She always preached courtesy, etiquette and relationships. I got a really good job out of college working for Avis Rent-a-Car in the corporate sponsorships and sales department. She said to me, ‘I hope you take your career seriously because I think you have a lot of potential.’ She really encouraged me to do something with my life.”

Q: If you could give yourself and the organization a grade for the past four years, what would it be?

A: “I would give our grade in the last four years an incomplete. We have a long, long way to go, but I think we’re heading in the right direction. Our goal is consistent excellence and in order to reinvigorate this franchise, we have to do everything we can to earn that commitment and allegiance from the fans. It is going to take time. It’s not going to happen in two years or three years. The fact that we’ve sold out 152 games in a row, we’ve won the Stanley Cup, all of our games are on television and we have a good, young team, I think has heightened the awareness and profile of our team.”

Q: Why did you ultimately decide to take the job with the Blackhawks?

A: “I think in the back of my mind, I did grow up a big Blackhawks fan, and I think this franchise needed improvement. I’ve always felt that this was a franchise that if I could play even a micro-fractional role in helping become relevant again, I’d like that challenge. And out of the blue, it just happened. I met with the owner of the Blackhawks, Rocky Wirtz, one Saturday afternoon about four years ago, and we had a conversation that lasted five hours long. Within half an hour, he said to me, ‘I’m going to lose all my leverage when I tell you this, but I want you to run the Blackhawks and I don’t have a plan B.’ His honesty and candor really peaked my interest. At the age of 54, I really wanted to figure out if I could reinvent myself. I had been with the Cubs for 24 years and that was something I never envisioned leaving. I absolutely envisioned retiring with the Cubs.”

Q: When you were with the Cubs, what did you think of the Blackhawks?

A: “The Blackhawks had really struggled on the ice and at the gate, and they weren’t doing well. They were more of an afterthought in the Chicago landscape. That was really troubling for me because I grew up a Blackhawks fan following Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita.”

Q: How did it make you feel when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup?

A: “It was a euphoric feeling that I never thought I would ever be able to feel. I wanted it so badly for it to happen with the Cubs, as I do now. It was a relief more than it was a celebration because I wasn’t sure if I would ever see it. For us to have a parade with two million people in attendance, you really sense how big this was. But, it wasn’t this fulfillment that now all our work is done. If anything else, you felt that the key was in the ignition, you started the engine and now lets go. I think more than anything else, we want our fans to be proud of the direction that we are headed and that we are committed to winning.” 

Q: When you first came over to the Blackhawks, what changes did you feel immediately had to be made?

A: “There was a meeting that I had after my introductory press conference, and the message that was sent to everybody was the pace is going to be swifter, the expectations are going to be higher and I need to have everybody on board. I could see in a number of people’s eyes right away that they were not going to be on board with this way of doing business. We needed to change the way that we were perceived, and we needed to change the way that we perceived ourselves. The Blackhawks is an Original Six franchise in the greatest sports city in the country and we needed to project that we were that. There had to be a seismic cultural change and at the same time, there had to be a lot of energy behind it.”

Q: How did it make you feel to be standing on that stage with two million people cheering for the Blackhawks?

A: “It felt like I was in a movie. I couldn’t believe it. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that two million people were there. It was the biggest sports parade in the history of Chicago. As far as you could see there were people cheering and chasing the bus. It was awe-inspiring, it was amazing and it was frightening. There will be times when I’ll be working out, or I’ll be at home or out to dinner, when it’s like, ‘Wow, we won the Stanley Cup.”

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