Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

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Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

Everett Golson went into a hostile environment for the first time in his collegiate career, and he came away with a clean sheet.

Fourteen completions on 32 passes may not look impressive. Same goes for Golson's 178 passing yards, and one touchdown to go with them. Nobody's confusing Golson for a Heisman candidate.

But he didn't turn the ball over on Saturday, allowing the Notre Dame defense to lock down on Michigan State's defense. Notre Dame's defense didn't have its back up against the wall at any point, and in turn were able to keep the Spartans out of the end zone.

Golson's only coughed the ball up twice this season. The first came when he missed a route and forced a pass to Tyler Eifert against Navy, which nearly resulted in a Midshipmen score until Stephon Tuitt scooped up a fumble and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown. The second was a fumble inside Notre Dame's red zone, and it resulted in Purdue tying things up late in the team's win Sept. 8.

That's not to say those have been Golson's only two mistakes. He threw two balls a week ago that Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson easily could've picked off. Maybe he'll throw a costly interception at some point, but if he does, it'll probably be an isolated incident.

Last year, Tommy Rees threw 14 interceptions, and in a lot of cases they weren't isolated. He threw two interceptions in three of Notre Dame's five losses, and combined with Andrew Hendrix to throw a pair of picks in another defeat.

So far, Golson has looked calm under pressure. Sure, he wasn't given the chance to perform under pressure against Purdue, but he didn't look rattled against a fearsome Michigan State defense in East Lansing.

Coach Brian Kelly still sees room for improvement with Golson, which is pretty obvious. Notre Dame's offensive potential is a whole lot higher than one that just needs to avoid turnovers.

"He did some really good things, but we've got a long way to go," Kelly said of Golson. "He needs to continue to stay on task, Everett, and continue to develop each and every week. There are a lot of things. We are so far from where we need to be offensively. I think a lot of it is just in the stuff that we're doing right now. We don't need to extend the playbook any deeper."

While the defense will be without senior safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was lost for the season with an Achilles injury, it's a strong, talented group. And it's shown to be one that's good enough to carry an offense that's still growing with Golson under center, at least in the first quarter of the season.

Kelly says Notre Dame's offense is nowhere where it needs to be. There's a chance the Irish won't reach that point in 2012. There will be bumps along the road between now and the end of November.

But maybe Notre Dame's offense won't need to reach its full potential for the team to have success -- that's if Golson continues what he's done in these three games. Limit turnovers, and the players around him may be good enough to keep racking up the wins.

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

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USA TODAY

Bill Dineen, father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passes away

Bill Dineen, former AHL and NHL coach and father of Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen, passed away on Saturday morning. He was 84.

Kevin Dineen was not at the Blackhawks’ practice on Saturday. Coach Joel Quenneville called Bill Dineen “a tremendous man.”

“Everyone who had the privilege to meet Bill and be around him loved the guy. He was probably one of the most liked people you’d ever want to meet. Great family man; the kids are just like the dad,” Quenneville said following Saturday’s practice. “We had a good time with him on the dad’s trip last time. Seeing him at that stage and being around hockey again, it was fun to be there.”

Bill Dineen played for the Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. He later was a head coach, mostly in the AHL. He was named the AHL’s outstanding coach twice and led the Adirondack Red Wings to the Calder Cup in 1986 and 1989. He also had an NHL coaching stint with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1992 to 1993, during which he coached Kevin.

AHL president David Andrews released a statement regarding Dineen’s passing.

“During his time as a player and coach, and in the values he instilled in his family, Bill Dineen created a legacy of greatness in the American Hockey League that still resonates today. Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Dineen family at this time.”

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook could return, but Jonathan Toews will miss ninth straight when Blackhawks play Stars

Brent Seabrook came onto the ice on Saturday morning, a welcome sight for a Blackhawks team that has dealt with a few injuries lately.

And while Seabrook's return seems imminent, Jonathan Toews’ status remains very much up in the air.

Seabrook (upper body) practiced on Saturday and could be available on Sunday when the Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars at the United Center. Toews (back) did not skate and will miss his ninth consecutive game. Corey Crawford (appendectomy) will also be out, with Scott Darling getting his fifth consecutive start.

Coach Joel Quenneville said he’ll see how Seabrook feels on Sunday morning before making a decision.

The defenseman said he felt good following Saturday’s practice.

“The lungs at the end were burning a little bit with Kitch,” said Seabrook, referring to assistant coach Mike Kitchen. “But just trying to get ready to roll.”

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Seabrook hasn’t missed many games in recent years — he played 81 of 82 games in 2015-16, all 82 in each of the two seasons prior to that and 47 of 48 in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

“It’s tough. You want to be out there and want to be playing. It’s tough not being out there with your teammates and helping them out and battling with them so I think we did a great job (Friday) night,” Seabrook said. “Had a great game, had a chance for two points in overtime there but got one, which is huge for our group. I think it’s good.”

As for Toews, Quenneville had hoped the captain would be skating by this weekend. He said following Saturday’s practice that Toews could skate on Sunday. Whether or not Toews accompanies the Blackhawks on their upcoming trip to New York depends on what happens on Sunday.

“If he skates tomorrow, we’ll have a better sense of that,” Quenneville said. “We have to do what’s right, long-term, and make sure he’s 100 percent and ready to go.”

Quenneville said he saw Crawford, who had his appendectomy on Dec. 2, Saturday at the rink.

“He’s doing all right,” Quenneville said. “Being away and then getting back on the ice, it’ll take some time to get him back to square one. He’s excited about getting back into equipment soon.”

Marian Hossa and Richard Panik did not practice on Saturday but were just taking rest days. Both are expected to play vs. the Stars.