Sick bay: Latest on Urlacher, Jeffrey, Carimi


Sick bay: Latest on Urlacher, Jeffrey, Carimi

Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher already has been declared out of Sundays game against the Minnesota Vikings with his hamstring injury suffered in the Seattle game. But, for a change, the Bears are on track to get some good injury news.
Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was able to practice on a limited basis after missing the past two games following minor knee surgery. Given that he missed four games with a fractured hand and two with his knee injury and only played in one of the last seven, his return is being met with reservations.
Were excited to have him back, but I want to temper that by we havent had him for any length of time this year to get him really in a groove, said offensive coordinator Mike Tice. He is certainly a talent. Hes shown in the games he has played that he can be a talent for us and certainly a complement to Brandon Marshall.
So that really helps us because when they try to key on Brandon, we really have two go-to guys on the field at the same time...Lets just see how the week of practice goes and hopefully there are no setbacks.
Earl Bennett (concussion), Michael Bush (ribs), Tim Jennings (shoulder) and Stephen Paea (foot) were out of practice, and Marshall rested on coaches' orders.
Devin Hester (concussion) was limited in practice, as was Gabe Carimi with a sore hamstring. And while guard Chris Spencer (knee) also was limited, the plan remains to leave Carimi as the starter at right guard.
Right now, we dont anticipate any changes up front, Tice said. We felt like the line played solid football vs. Seattle. Certainly not great football, but solid football.
Anytime with a line, you want to have the same guys in there, so theres no sense at this point of the week making any drastic changes. Were just trying to keep building on some of the things weve done the last two weeks.
The Vikings were without defensive end Jared Allen (back, shoulder) and wide receiver Percy Harvin (ankle). Allen is expected to play but Harvin is likely out.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph (shoulder), linebacker Jasper Brinkley (shoulder), tackle Phil Loadholt (knee), center John Sullivan (ribs, knee) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee) were limited on Wednesday.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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