Rees pleased with Golson, even if it means less playing time

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Rees pleased with Golson, even if it means less playing time

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Three months ago, Tommy Rees had to be ready to enter games on a whim in case Everett Golson looked lost in Notre Dame's offense. He came in three times for the redshirt freshman, leading a game-winning scoring drive against Purdue and playing more than half of Notre Dame's 13-6 win over Michigan.
In early November, Rees once again replaced Golson for performance reasons late in the first half of Notre Dames tilt with Pittsburgh. But Golson came back in to that game, and thanks to his efforts plus a little luck, the Irish staved off an upset.
Golson hasn't looked back since Nov. 3. He's earned the trust of Brian Kelly and Chuck Martin to play through whatever struggles may arise.
But that doesn't mean Rees can take his helmet off and loiter around the sidelines, thanks to a rule that makes a player who had his helmet knocked off during a play sit out the following down.
"Thats come up on some third downs here, luckily been successful in a couple of them," Rees smirked. "Yeah, its another way that Everett manages for me to get thrown in there, but its been a fun run."
That run began in August, when Rees' one-game suspension for a May arrest knocked him out Notre Dame's fall camp quarterback battle before it even started. But while Rees didn't make an impact on the field, he was universally praised by the participants of the summer competition.
"He's been such a positive influence on all three of the younger guys," Andrew Hendrix said in August. "Having Tommy back there at all times is really an invaluable resource that we have."
For Golson, Rees was accessible for more than just quick questions on the field. The pair roomed together during camp, with the seasoned Rees serving as support for the relatively green Golson.
"Oh man, thered be a couple late night discussions," Rees explained. "Hed ask me what I thought he needed to improve on, you know, dont hold anything back.
"And I told him the truth sometimes -- I told him the truth all the time, sometimes it wasnt what he wanted to hear," Rees quickly corrected with a laugh. "But any way I could help, and Ive had a lot of fun working with him."
When Golson was named Notre Dame's starting quarterback in mid-August, it was tough to imagine him holding that role for a team that'll play for a title in early January. Even Golson himself couldn't have envisioned that.
"Id like to say I did, but really, I couldn't," Golson said. "Me being so young, you dont think about that, you kind of think about the smaller things -- whats going to happen on this play. You worry about the little things, you definitely dont want to mess up the little details."
Golson has reached the point where he feels he has the science of the position, to borrow a term used by Kelly plenty of times leading up to the season, down pretty well. The redshirt freshman is growing into a leader on the offense, too, a role that'll become more important with the departures of Braxston Cave, Tyler Eifert and Theo Riddick (and potentially Zack Martin) after the season ends.
Rees, though, has one more year of eligibility left at Notre Dame, and is firmly entrenched in a backup role. But he doesn't necessarily seem unhappy with it, which makes sense given teammates have projected him as a great coach someday.
Hes already showcased that talent, to some extent, by taking Golson under his wing.
"Hes an extremely talented player, and he had some growth but its been exciting to watch him grow on the field and off the field this year, Rees lauded. Hes a tremendous young man and young player, and its been a lot of fun working with him.

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Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

Five Things from Blackhawks-Canucks: Corey Crawford rebounds

The Blackhawks’ starts have been all over the map this season but their finishes have usually been strong. That was the case again on Sunday night as the Blackhawks took a lead, lost a lead and regained a lead for good in their 4-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

This one featured a little bit of everything. So let’s just get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ victory over Vancouver.

1. Jonathan Toews breaks through. If the Blackhawks captain’s confidence was a little shaken with his lack of scoring this season, it should’ve gotten a boost with his Sunday outing. Toews’ goal and three assists were as big for him as they were the Blackhawks, who needed every bit of it late against the Canucks. In his last 12 games Toews has three goals and eight assists. He’s getting there. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “it seems like he was around the puck way more and when he does that, usually good things happen.”

2. Great start. This hasn’t been written very often but it was more than evident on Sunday night. If this wasn’t the Blackhawks’ best opening period of the season it was pretty close, as they broke out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks. The Blackhawks, outside of a 3 ½-minute sequence without a shot on goal, were tenacious and ready to shoot, taking an 18-9 shots-on-goal edge in that first.

3. Corey Crawford rebounds. Quenneville considered Scott Darling for this game, an understandable thought with Darling coming off a 30-stop shutout. But he wanted Crawford to get back to where he was prior to his appendectomy, and Crawford took a step in that direction on Sunday night. In stopping 25 of 27 shots Crawford got his 18th victory of the season and 200th of his career. Quenneville said Crawford “looked like he was in control.”

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4. Michal Kempny’s tough stretch. When Kempny has been good this season he’s been very good. When he’s been bad... The defenseman was in the penalty box when the Canucks scored their first goal and he was beaten by Bo Horvat on the Canucks’ second goal. Kempny didn’t play the final 14 minutes of the game. Quenneville, who liked what Kempny brought on the team’s road trip, said Kempny just has to work through some things. “Coverage with awareness and knowing sometimes it’s man coverage, sometimes it’s playing the puck and clearing the loose stuff,” Quenneville said. “Defenseman is a tough position as you’re growing and learning it, but the more you play the better you play and I still think he’s making progress.”

5. Brian Campbell gets to keep No. 500 this time. Campbell thought he had his 500th point against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night but it was taken away. Well he got it back on Sunday night, setting up Richard Panik’s 11th goal of the season in the first period.