Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Hawks Come Out Firing

Some people thought that the Blackhawks would come out strong, but no one could imagine the way they've stormed out of the gates. Starting the season 6-0, the Hawks look like the 2010 Cup team in more ways than one. They're killing penalties, they're scoring on the power play, they're getting good goaltending, and the entire team seems to be getting in on it. They've done it in style, beating up on a large chunk of the upper echelon of the Western Conference. In the first 6 games alone, the Hawks have beaten the Kings, the Coyotes, the Blues, and most recently, the Red Wings. Most importantly, though, the way the Hawks are winning shows that they can continue that success throughout the season.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

2012-2013 Blackhawks Preview: Striving for Consistency in an Unpredictable Season

All we wanted was some hockey back, and all would be forgiven. The months and months of turmoil, bickering like school children, back stabbing, and mostly just rendering the sport irrelevant to casual fans is finally over. Us fans are ready to welcome the NHL and the Blackhawks back, but what league are we coming back to? In this 48 game season, with no preseason, what will the NHL, and most importantly, the Hawks, look like? The Hawks are a team capable of high offensive output, albeit with some questions on the backend. Is this going to be a season where defense struggles, and thus the best offensive team wins the cup? Or the opposite - will defense reign supreme over rusty offense? I think in either fashion, the Hawks can come out on top.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Relapse of Illinois Basketball

As we see it right now, after a drubbing at the hands of a woeful Northwestern team at home, after a beating of epic proportions at Wisconsin, which followed a terrible loss to Minnesota, it is clear that the "new era" many (including myself) thought had arrived for Illinois basketball has not. It turns out, after all, that the Bruce Weber era of basketball, that of the slow, dull, uninspired, weak, and underachieving sort, was simply in remission. Sure, John Groce may yet succeed at Illinois. Hell, he made this group start the season 12-0. But it is obvious to anyone watching now that the downtrodden Weber years have not, in some recognizable fashion, left Champaign.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Emery and Bears Turn to the Offensive-Minded Trestman

Phil Emery finally has his man. After weeks of searching, canvassing seemingly every corner of the football universe, and interviewing a wide range of candidates far and wide, the Bears GM has hired Montreal Alouette's (them of the Canadian Football League) head coach Marc Trestman to replace Lovie Smith. Trestman brings a highly respected offensive pedigree, having served in various capacities aroudn the NFL for years. When Emery began this search, he explained in his long, brilliant press conference that his new coach had to be someone who he worked well with, but more importantly, could take the Chicago Bears' stagnant offense and make it one that can succeed at the upper levels of the NFL. From all accounts, he nails this with Trestman, a man who has respect from all corners of the NFL universe and has a resume that suggests he can be the one to turn around the Bears offensive woes. But all of that notwithstanding, this is still an out of the box hire for the Bears, one that still leaves us with some questions and will probably ruffle some Bears fans' feathers. No matter what, though, the uncharacteristic hire from the Bears suggests that George McCaskey and Phil Emery are leading this franchise into a new era.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Checking in with the Bulls

Thibs gets the most out of his team
After last night's trouncing of the Atlanta Hawks, a win the likes of which I haven't seen from the Bulls since they pummeled the Jazz in the 1998 NBA Finals, the Derrick Rose-less Bulls find themselves only 1 game back in the Central Division and only 3 games back in the Eastern Conference. It's crazy to think that this team, which many expected to barely keep their head above water while Derrick Rose was out injured, is only games away from the number 1 seed in the conference. When you consider how poorly they've played at home, and how truly bipolar these Bulls are, it's a testament to the leadership on the team, the coaching of Tom Thibodeau, and the ability of the Bulls (even with their new players) to work together on both ends of the court to play well enough to position themselves for a great sprint to the finish once Rose returns.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kelly's Decision to Stay Ends Tumultuous Week for Irish

What a week, perhaps the biggest in recent Notre Dame history. On one hand, you had the BCS National Championship game, a game in which Notre Dame had not appeared since 1988. On the other, you had a crazy couple days where the Notre Dame faithful sputtered in limbo as the man who brought the Irish back from the depths decided both his future and the future of the program. In the end, losing one (the National Championship game) was not nearly as important as coming out on top of the other (retaining Kelly).