5 Questions with...CSN's Chris Boden

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5 Questions with...CSN's Chris Boden

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

March 10, 2010

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeka veteran Chicago sports broadcaster and one of the biggest Blackhawks fans in townhes the host of Comcast SportsNets Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live and Smirnoff Vodka Blackhawks Post Game Live who hopes to be covering a Stanley Cup championship ticker-tape parade in Chicago this Junehere are 5 Questions withCHRIS BODEN!

BIO: Chris Boden joined Comcast SportsNets SportsNite on-air team in 2007 and hosts the network's Blackhawks studio coverage on Chevy Blackhawks Pre-Game Live, as well as Smirnoff Vodka Blackhawks Post Game Live following all CSN Blackhawks telecasts this season. Covering the Chicago sports scene for over 20 years, Boden joined Comcast SportsNet from WMVP-AM (ESPN Radio) where he served as an anchor, reporter and fill-in host since 2003. Boden has also held local sports casting positions with WFLD-TV (Fox) and CLTV in Chicago, IL, along with national work on the NFL Network. Previously, Boden was a sports reporteranchor for WBBM-TV (CBS) in Chicago, IL (1998-2003). Prior to joining WBBM-TV, Boden was at WBBM-AM (1990-1998), first as a sports anchorreporter and then as sports director. Before working at WBBM-AM, he was a sportscaster for Tribune Radio Networks (now Illinois News Networks) from 1987-1990. Boden, who grew up in the Chicago southwestern suburb of Burbank, IL, and attended Luther South H.S., where he played football, ran cross country and track, and was a member of the 1980 Class A state basketball championship team. He graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College in Chicago, IL in 1985, where he ran the sports department at the student radio station, while working at Sports Phone.

1) CSNChicago.com: Chris, the Blackhawks are poised to make a deep run in this years Stanley Cup Playoffs. For as much talent they have on the ice, one aspect of their success seems to be forgotten at times with the fans: Coaching. Joel Quenneville and his staff have disciplined this team into believing there is not a team out there that can challenge them. How much will that mindset benefit the Blackhawks come playoff time?

Boden: The talent and potential on this team combined with the experience of Joel and his staff of Mike Haviland, John Torchetti, and Stephane Waite seems to be a perfect fit. It's easy to see the strides and growth they've made over the past two seasons, and a lot of it has to do with the fact this guy's one of the NHL's all-time winningest coaches.

He's gotten exactly what's been expected of this team, maybe more. You can't argue a whole lot with how the team has responded to whatever messages he sends and buttons he pushes. On the outside, with the media, he's a calm, steadying influence. Overall, he's the same way within the locker room, while his record and over 500 victories speaks for itself in earning the players' respect. That said, he knows the real test lies ahead in how this team responds to a post-season where they won't necessarily sneak up on anybody. And like all but three players on his roster, he has something he wants to prove in becoming a Stanley Cup-winning head coach.

2) CSNChicago.com: Fan favorite Adam Burish is due back with the team in the very near future after being out the entire regular season with a torn ACL suffered back in preseason. What will his return to the line-up mean for this team for the remainder of the regular season and during the playoffs?

Boden: Great sound bites!! Seriously, the Chatty Badger - besides quality opinion and commentary for those of us in the media - supplies a dose of energy on the ice that matches his engaging personality off of it. When he went down with that injury in the preseason, everyone figured the team had enough depth to get by during the regular season, which isn't to say what he brings to the table wasn't missed. But if there's ever a time to add that, it's now, when the team has to dig deep in that energy reservoir despite the Olympic break. When emotions run high in the playoffs and the Hawks need a guy to get under an opponent's skin, the appropriately-nicknamed "Bur" will be there. But he'll also be there to handle himself in the face-off circle when necessary, and let's not forget he scored three goals in the playoffs last spring and every goal during that time of year is big. On top of that, just about every locker room can use a guy with his sense of humor, and perspective, when the pressure's on.

3) CSNChicago.com: The Winter Olympic tournament created a huge buzz throughout the country, culminating in Canada's gold medal-winning, overtime victory over the United States. Will all the positives of that experience outweigh the one potential negative for the six Blackhawks involved?

Boden: There's no question that the four who wound up in that thrilling finale have played an unprecedented, frantic, condensed schedule. The good thing is none of them were injured, so the main concern is a physical wall one almost has to expect them to encounter. Their younger legs will hopefully help them bounce back, plus the other top teams in the West also had a number of players involved, who aren't as collectively young, and whose teams aren't as deep as the Hawks. So if Joel Quenneville feels a need to reduce their minutes leading up the playoffs, you'd think it would affect them less than a San Jose or Vancouver. Of course, the counterpoint to that argument was Detroit having a similar-size contingent in 2006, only to come back to the NHL, win the regular season conference crown, and get upset in the first round of the playoffs. The coaching staff will manage a way not to wear down the batteries of those players. All of us knew those guys well already. Now, the entire country - and a few others around the world - are aware of Toews, Keith, Seabrook and Kane.

4) CSNChicago.com: For many older Chicagoans, SportsPhone was THE source at the time for any breaking sports stories. Two-part question: remind us of some of your fellow colleagues who worked with you at Sports Phone back in the day and do you still remember that phone number?

Boden: 976-1313! Now how could I forget that after having to repeat it so many times! I knew it better than my own number, and some other numbers that were a lot more important. What a different time it was then, when you consider everything fans have available at their fingertips now. But it was obviously a service that the public wanted and needed. And if we weren't fortunate enough to be employed by a radio station back then, that was the next best thing.

SportsPhone was a stepping stone for a lot of us. Les Grobstein and Pat Benkowski were among the first group, along with Fred Huebner and David Schuster, who were still there when I came in kind of a "second wave." Brian Wheeler has gone on to become the radio play-by-play voice of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jeff Joniak came in after me, and look at him now, as the voice of the Bears. Tom Kelley and Joe Mazzone primarily handled the horse racing hotlines, and they've gone on to prominent roles at Balmoral and Maywood Parks, respectively. Ed Vucinic is now the head soccer coach at St. Xavier but has kept his foot (pun intended) in soccer broadcasting. There are countless others that people may not be familiar with that I still consider friends to this day. We were all striving for that "next big gig," but kept each other sane, and laughing, along the way. Especially during those 6-to-8-hour shifts of "10-minute scoreboard updates" of sixty seconds each.

5) CSNChicago.com: If you and your fellow SportsNite team members Pat Boyle, Mark Schanowski and Luke Stuckmeyer went out to dinner, who would be least likely to reach into his wallet first to pay the bill (we promise we wont tell)?

Boden: Meas it should be. They make SOOOO much more money than I do!

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Chris? The floor is yours!

Boden: Comcast SportsNet has allowed me to be lucky enough to emcee the annual Special Olympics Illinois Awards dinner each of the past two years. Nothing is quite as humbling as seeing how hard the people involved work to organize events, and bring smiles to the faces of athletes who face much greater challenges than the ones we at CSN cover on a daily basis. It's the devoted volunteers and parents and family members who deserve that night to be recognized, and that's just scratching the surface of what goes on throughout the state and the country. As is the case with anyone giving time to those who are challenged or less fortunate, it's a wakeup call to me and everyone else who are blessed, should there ever a time we are feeling sorry for ourselves.

As for what we might be working on, I'll just say...I hope we get the opportunity to follow The Cup around this summer when Blackhawks players have their day with it!

Boden LINKS:

Chris BodenHawk Talk blog on CSNChicago.com

Jimmy Butler records triple-double as Bulls beat Cavaliers again without LeBron James

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AP

Jimmy Butler records triple-double as Bulls beat Cavaliers again without LeBron James

Winning a game against a LeBron James led team has proven to be an easier task than most for the Chicago Bulls in the last couple regular seasons.

And winning without James has proven to be a herculean task for the Cleveland Cavaliers since his return in 2014.

So putting those two events together seemed to produce an inevitable result at Quicken Loans Arena, with James out due to illness, as the Bulls pulled away from the Cavaliers 117-99 Saturday night.

The win marks the fourth straight for the Bulls, pulling them over .500 for the first time in nearly two months and they lead the season series 3-0 over the NBA Champions.

Of course, if James were healthy perhaps the Cavaliers would look more cohesive but without him, only Kyrie Irving was in double figures amongst the starters for most of the night. Irving was unguardable with 34 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

After the lead rose to 20, Irving went to work to get the Cavaliers back in it by scoring eight in the quarter and cutting the lead in half with 2:30 left. But without James, the Bulls were able to hold off the Cavaliers with baskets from 
Cristiano Felicio and Nikola Mirotic, who had his second straight big game with 14 points and 10 boards.

A third-quarter flurry from the Bulls gave them some breathing room after a back-and-forth 24 minutes. The Cavs threatened to blow the game open with a 65-59 lead to start the third but the Bulls quickly turned the tables, getting stops and leaking out for fast breaks.

Dwyane Wade corralled weak-side rebounds and popped it ahead to Butler and Bobby Portis for layups. 

Butler then hit two triples in succession to give the Bulls a 76-67 lead.

He struggled from the field but hit four triples on his way to 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and Wade was one rebound short—one Felicio rebound attempt with seconds remaining, from getting a triple-double with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes

But the 3-point shooting has been a welcome addition since the trade of Doug McDermott, their best 3-point shooter.

Denzel Valentine followed up his sterling showing Friday night with another competent and confident performance, hitting three triples to score 11 and at least competing on the defensive end.

Cameron Payne made his debut as a Bull and hit two triples in the first half, both passes off the ball as he hasn't had enough time to grasp the offense, only going through a morning walkthrough with the coaching staff after the team arrived in Cleveland.

All in all, the Bulls had their ninth game with 10 or more triples, hitting 15.

Northwestern's sluggish stretch continues with loss at Indiana, how does it affect NCAA tournament hopes?

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AP

Northwestern's sluggish stretch continues with loss at Indiana, how does it affect NCAA tournament hopes?

On the verge of being in the NCAA tournament isn't the same as being in the NCAA tournament.

Northwestern has fans sweating as what looked like a surefire first-time trip to the Big Dance is getting increasingly bubblicious with each game.

The Wildcats are in some kind of a rut at the worst possible time, with losses in five of their last seven games. It's a stretch that could potentially take them from what seemed to be "lock" status to the bouncy NCAA tournament bubble real quick.

The latest blow to Northwestern's chances came Saturday night in Bloomington, with Indiana stealing a 63-62 victory in an odd game.

The Cats looked good through the middle part of the first half, finally getting some offensive contributions from Scottie Lindsey in the leading scorer's third game back from a four-game absence. Lindsey scored nine first-half points, getting a pair of steals that turned into breakaway dunks and knocking down a 3-pointer. Everything seemed to be clicking for Northwestern, which built a 12-point lead, before Indiana exploded on a 22-0 run to close the first half. That stretch featured four 3-pointers, including Devonte Green's half-court, buzzer-beating heave that will make all the highlight shows.

The Cats, though, responded, dominating for much of the second half. A 10-point halftime deficit was long gone thanks to Northwestern outscoring Indiana by a 23-6 margin through the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Cats' defense kept the Hoosiers to just three made baskets during that time. Northwestern held onto its lead, though Indiana did start to chip away. Still the Cats were ahead by eight with three minutes to play thanks to a big Bryant McIntosh banked-in 3-pointer.

A McIntosh free throw with 93 seconds left made it a seven-point game, but the Hoosiers scored the next eight points, clamping down on the defensive end and taking advantage of the Cats' misses at the ends of uneventful possessions. James Blackmon Jr.'s 3-pointer made it a two-point game with 38 seconds left, and after another empty Northwestern possession, Thomas Bryant got a game-tying dunk at the other end. Lindsey fouled Bryant on the play, and the Indiana center got a fortunate bounce on the free throw, giving the Hoosiers a one-point lead with two seconds left. McIntosh's half-court shot hit the rim but didn't fall, and the Cats lost in agonizing fashion.

Northwestern held a nine-point scoring advantage after halftime, but it was just barely not enough. The Cats shot 39 percent from the field on the game and were 4-for-18 from 3-point range. Northwestern scored 16 points off 16 Indiana turnovers, but the Hoosiers won on the boards and had a 21-7 edge in bench scoring.

McIntosh finished with 22 points, though he was 8-for-18 from the field. Lindsey had 13 points but was 6-for-15. Dererk Pardon had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Vic Law again struggled, scoring just four points on 1-for-7 shooting.

Though not allowing that 22-0 run would have been the best way to avoid defeat, a lot of attention will be paid to Lindsey's mental error of fouling Bryant in the game's final seconds. Northwestern has talked all year long about this year being different, how this team has found a way to win — or perhaps a way not to lose — the close games they've lost in years past. But this looked more similar to that type of outcome, and it couldn't have come at a worse time.

There are just two games remaining on the regular-season schedule for the Cats: two home games against Michigan and Purdue. The Wolverines are hot, playing as well as just about anyone in the Big Ten right now after scoring a double-digit win over the Boilermakers on Saturday. The Boilers are still in first place in the conference standings. The next two games present an incredible challenge for a Northwestern team that's having trouble finding its footing at season's end.

Did Saturday's loss cost Northwestern a spot in the NCAA tournament field? According to the bracket-projection people, the Cats' spot has been secure since the win at Wisconsin. Even this week's loss at Illinois was followed by a video from ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi in which he assured Northwestern fans that the Cats would be going dancing.

But this has the potential to be a crash-and-burn finish to the regular season. Should games against Michigan and Purdue end in losses, Northwestern would be looking at a four-game losing streak with losses in seven of its last nine games. That would put an incredible amount of pressure on the team's trip to Washington for the Big Ten Tournament if the Cats are sitting on the bubble a week and a half from now.

Northwestern is still looking for its school-record 21st win. For a long while during the second half Saturday, it looked like it would come in Bloomington. Then it didn't.

For a long while, it's looked like Northwestern would get into the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, too.