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

Janarion Grant will return to Rutgers for fifth season in 2017

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USA TODAY

Janarion Grant will return to Rutgers for fifth season in 2017

One of the most explosive players in the Big Ten will be back for the 2017 season.

Rutgers announced Tuesday that do-it-all man Janarion Grant will be back on the field for the Scarlet Knights this fall. Grant suffered a leg injury in the team's fourth game of the season and missed the last eight games of the campaign.

"Fifth year, here I come! I'm excited about what I have been able to accomplish so far, but I look forward to getting out there and competing with my teammates again," Grant said in the announcement. "I thank coach (Chris) Ash and the staff as well as my family for their support through this process. Let's make this season special. Go Knights!"

Grant is tied for the all-time NCAA lead in kick-return touchdowns with eight. He's got five kickoff-return touchdowns and three punt-return touchdowns.

This past season, Grant got off to a lightning-quick start, scoring six total touchdowns. In just four games, he totaled 210 receiving yards, 195 kickoff-return yards and a kickoff-return touchdown, 138 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns, 21 passing yards and a passing touchdown and 112 punt-return yards and a punt-return touchdown.

Grant is Rutgers' all-time leader in kickoff-return yards with 2,606, and he ranks fourth in program history in all-purpose yards with 4,251.

The Knights were offensively challenged in Ash's first season as head coach, dead last in the conference with an average of 15.7 points per game and 283.2 yards per game. Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill was hired earlier this offseason as the team's new offensive coordinator.

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

As a sign of good things to come, three Bears were selected to the NFL's all-rookie teams. But there's a negative thread running through the honors of linebacker Leonard Floyd being named to the rookie defensive team, and the selections of center Cody Whitehair and running back Jordan Howard to the rookie offensive team.
 
The concern lies not in the players or the personnel department under GM Ryan Pace that designated them for drafting. It is in the fact that the position coaches for all three rookie standouts are all gone from the staff of coach John Fox.
 
Finding talent is difficult enough. Developing it is the crucial next step in the football process, and what was evident in the rookie years of Floyd, Whitehair and Howard was that each developed into NFL-grade players with some very solid coaching.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
 
Offensive line coach Dave Magazu was not brought back, reportedly in favor of former Miami Dolphins assistant offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, as reported by Sirius XM radio and Sporting News.
 
Stan Drayton, who coached Carlos Hyde and Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, then Howard this year, left for the University of Texas.

Outside linebackers coach Clint Hurtt appeared to be exiting for the New York Jets, although sources report that the deal may not go through.
 
Coaches can't create talent but they can certainly foster and maximize it. Replacing the mentors of their three top rookies from arguably the best draft class since 2004 (Tommie Harris, Tank Johnson, Bernard Berrian, Nathan Vasher) now becomes a talent search in its own right.