Hawks need strong effort from Turco for fourth win

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Hawks need strong effort from Turco for fourth win

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
Updated 1:14 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wasnt happy with what he called the Blackhawks rubbing it in in their last matchup in Vancouver, and he wasnt backing down from that prior to tonights game at the United Center.

The Blackhawks were up 6-0 when they went on a 5-on-3 power play midway through their 7-1 victory on Nov. 20. Their on-ice personnel for that power play were Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Viktor Stalberg, Nick Boynton and Duncan Keith. Vigneault took exception to the Blackhawks putting on what he called their No. 1 power-play unit

I think its every teams right to do what they want, he said outside Vancouvers locker room this morning. We obviously werent very good, 5 on 3 you send Kane and Toews on the ice. They have every right to do that, they did it, and thats it.

The Canucks had a late power play in their 7-2 rout over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Vigneault said the Canucks fourth line was on that advantage, on which they did score.

The Blackhawks fourth line had just come off the ice prior to that sequence. Told that Boynton and Stalberg are not part of the teams top power-play unit, Vigneault said, come on. Be serious. Toews and Kane, its 6-0 going into the third, what do you think? Lets be serious.

The rivalry between these two has built over recent years, especially with the Blackhawks eliminating Vancouver in two consecutive playoffs. As far as that last game, the Blackhawks are downplaying the situation.

I dont think theres anything to it, to be honest, Troy Brouwer said. Some games teams just dont have it and that might have been their game. For us, Q was rolling four lines. Youre not just going to bench Toews line for the rest of the game. You roll four lines and they just happened to be out there.

Turcos turn

Marty Turco is ready to get back in net tonight against the Canucks, whom he took a 3-2 shootout decision over here earlier this season. For Turco, its all about being ready for that next start.

Its about positives. The best one is were winning and on a streak and thats all I want; and to get in there and play and make a difference, he said. Those are things that make my world to round. All I think about is what I can do every day to get better.
Briefly

Fernando Pisani did not skate again this morning and is out for tonights game.

Roberto Luongo will start for the Canucks tonight.

Jordan Hendry is looking like the healthy scratch again tonight.

Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

PITTSBURGH — The Cubs have so much going for them, all this blue-chip talent, a clubhouse mix of young players and grizzled veterans, arguably the best manager in the game, an impactful coaching staff and a front office that blends scouting and analytics as well as anyone.

So, no, John Lackey is not at all surprised by the way this clicked into place, 101 wins and counting for the machine built with October in mind.

“Not really,” Lackey said after Tuesday night’s 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I had some pretty good offers from other people, and I chose this one for a reason. It’s all here.”

But to win the World Series — and get the jewelry Lackey talks about — you still need some luck, good health and the guts to perform in those Big Boy Games. That reality of randomness and matchups made a pregame announcement some 250 miles away from PNC Park so telling.

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee, ending his MVP-caliber season. The National League East champions will lose a .307 hitter with 22-homer power from the middle of their lineup and a veteran presence for a playoff rotation that will likely be without injured ace Stephen Strasburg (right elbow) in the first round.

“That’s a tough one when you lose your catcher, a guy who’s that significant for the pitching staff,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Think about the pitching staff — it’s so different when you know the guy back there is your guy and he knows what’s going on. The communication’s different. The trust factor, all that stuff is different.”

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Within that big-picture context, the Cubs survived as Lackey limited the checked-out Pirates (77-80) to one run across five innings in his fifth start since recovering from a strained right shoulder and coming off the disabled list. Maddon then used six different relievers — staying away from Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman — during a three-hour, 49-minute game that felt more like the Cactus League.

After defecting from the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals team the Cubs bounced out of last year’s playoffs, Lackey finished the regular season at 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA and 188 1/3 innings.

“I’m going to get to 200,” Lackey said.

Beyond wins and losses, Lackey called this season his career best in terms of “those numbers that they’ve made up in the last few years” like WHIP (1.04) and opponents’ OPS (.646) and whatever. And, no, he doesn’t know his WAR, either: “Not even close.”

Yes, the Cubs got the old-school attitude they wanted when they signed Lackey to a two-year, $32 million deal before the winter meetings. For all the talk about the pitching deficit and the New York Mets after their young guns swept the Cubs out of last year’s NL Championship Series, the Cubs are getting their money’s worth with a guy who will turn 38 in October.

The amazing Mets have lost three of those frontline starters — Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (nerve damage in his right elbow) and Steven Matz (bone spur in his left elbow) — and are still holding onto the first wild-card spot, which says something about this playoff field.

This doesn’t guarantee anything in October, but the Cubs are just about as close to full strength as they could reasonably hope now. Instead of the silence that would have come with losing an irreplaceable player like Ramos, the sound system in the postgame clubhouse blasted Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Notorious B.I.G. after their 101st win.

“Yeah, we lost Dexter (Fowler) for a bit,” Maddon said. “We lost (Kyle) Schwarber all year. Otherwise, when a couple pitchers got banged up, whether you’re talking about Rondon or Strop, I don’t think that our injuries have been as magnified because we’ve covered them pretty well.

“We still had our moments, like everybody else has. But when you get to right now, we’re getting well, and hopefully that trend continues. But to lose somebody of that magnitude for them, that’s got to be difficult.”