Word on the Street: Hawks sign prospect Olsen

Word on the Street: Hawks sign prospect Olsen

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
CSNChicago.com
Blackhawks ink prospect

The Blackhawks signed defenseman Dylan Olsen to a three-year, two-way contract on Saturday.

Olsen was the No. 28 pick of the 2009 draft for the Blackhawks. Olsen is currently a sophomore at University of Minnesota-Duluth. He has 12 assists in 17 games this season.

Olsen is playing for Canada in the 2011 World Junior Championships. (CSNChicago.com)

Weis to be named Florida's offensive coordinator

Reports came out Saturday that former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator at the University of Florida.

Someone, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been formally announced, says it will be made public Monday.

Weis is expected to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs throughout the AFC playoffs. (Chicago Tribune)

Vikings sign Juaquin Iglesias off Bears' practice squad

According to an NFL source, the Vikings have signed WR Juaquin Iglesias off of the Bears' practice squad and on to their 53-man roster.

Today was the final day for teams to make a move and Iglesias will be on the Vikings' roster for their season finale in Detroit.

Iglesias was the 99th overall draft pick for the Bears in 2009 and spent the entire season on the practice squad.

With the loss of Iglesias, the Bears have now lost their top two picks of '09 draft. Second round pick Jarron Gilbert was released in August. (Chicago Tribune)
Bulls players hate day games?

Bulls players have complained that they don't like day games, and proved it on New Year's Eve by shooting 39 percent against the New Jersey Nets.

"We didn't start playing hard, really, until the end, guard Derrick Rose said after the contest. Usually, you're taking naps right now or getting ready, putting your clothes on, heading to the game. That's why it's the NBA. It's going to be a challenge.

Kurt Thomas added, "I've never been a morning person and I know that, You've just got to find a way to get yourself up and ready to go. Definitely for myself, it's tough getting a little bit older, but you just find a way."

The Bulls still survived the game, due in large part to Carlos Boozer's double-double. (Daily Herald)

White Sox eyeing Soriano

The White Sox seem to have interest in reliever Rafael Soriano, but they might not have enough cash left to pursue him.

Soriano is looking for Mariano Rivera type money. (30MM)

After losing closer Bobby Jenks to the Red Sox, the White Sox will need to free up some more cash if they want to be considered a legit suitor for the top closer on the market. (mlbtraderumors.com)

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.”