Word on the Street: Quentin on the trade block?

Word on the Street: Quentin on the trade block?

Friday, Dec. 10, 2010

Quentin on the trade block?

Amidst a flurry of moves, the White Sox are looking to continue their busy offseason by actively searching for takers for the services of veteran outfielder Carlos Quentin.

After signing Adam Dunn and re-signing team leaders Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski, the Sox are now searching for at least one reliever and dangling Quentin as trade bait. Philadelphia is said to be interested, but right now, the Sox are asking for too much according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. (MLBTradeRumors.com)

Pujols to the Cubs?

Maybe it's not as crazy as it seems. Kevin Baumer of Business Insider's Sports Page believes Albert Pujols signing with the Chicago Cubs is not out of the realm of possibility. If Pujols doesn't sign an extension, his contract will expire after the '11 season and in free agency, Baumer feels the Cubs have the best chance of throwing the most money at him. As he says, a lot of the big market teams (Boston, Yankees, White Sox, Phillies) each have extremely expensive options at first base locked in for a couple of years at least, which leaves the Cubs as one of the best suitors to give the superstar "Alex Rodriguez money". (BusinessInsider.com)
Buehrle a hero

Veteran White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle has agreed to pay all the veterinary costs for a dog found with an arrow through its abdomen Thursday in Alton, Ill. The dog's owners were tracked down, but they had no way of paying off the estimated 2,400 in veterinary bills. Buehrle, being the big dog lover that he is, caught wind of it and agreed to pay all expenses. (Riverfront Times)

Patriots without big tackler Sunday

The New England Patriots are already going to be playing the Chicago Bears in frigid and snowy conditions Sunday, conditions conducive for running the football. But, now they are going to have to try to defend one of the NFL's hottest teams without one of their leading tacklers.

Linebacker Brandon Spikes has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Spikes, a rookie, is the Patriots' second-leading tackler. (Chicago Tribune)

Crawford closing in on record

Blackhawks fans know goaltender Corey Crawford has been on a hot streak lately, but just how hot is almost shocking. The 25-year-old rookie has won seven consecutive decisions and one more would tie him with Denis DeJordy for the Blackhawks' longest win streak for a rookie goalie.

Crawford gets the start Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks. CSN's coverage begins at 9:30. (CSNChicago.com)

Lions end fined for hit on Cutler

Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril was fined 15,000 for his roughing the passer penalty on Jay Cutler in the Bears' win over the Lions on Sunday. (Chicago Tribune)

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

Morning Update: Bulls win season opener; World Series returns to Wrigley

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Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

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Together again: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane reunite on top line vs. Devils

Cubs 'can't imagine' what Wrigley Field atmosphere will be like for World Series

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

Bulls physicality a new wrinkle from last season

College teammates Jimmy Butler and Jae Crowder made plans to go to dinner after Thursday’s game in Chicago but for a few short moments they weren’t just competitors but unexpected combatants, getting tangled up in the second quarter.

There looked to be some harsh words exchanged after Butler took a charge on an unsuspecting Crowder near three-quarter court, with Crowder putting the basketball in Butler’s chest while Butler was still on the floor, causing players on both teams to convene for some tense moments.

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas got involved and then before Butler could blink, Bulls guard Rajon Rondo joined the proceedings, as pushing and shoving ensued before technical fouls were assessed to both teams after an officials’ review.

If one wondered whether these Bulls—a team that touts itself as young with so many players having three years or less professional experience—could play with some bark and bite, perhaps the season opener provided a bit of a positive preview for the next 81 games.

Nearby, an unbothered Dwyane Wade took a practice 3-point shot, much to the delight of the United Center crowd, as observers witnessed the first sign of tangible proof the Bulls have intentions on regaining a bit of an edge on the floor.

Wade joked and took it as a sign of respect between the two teams.

“It looked like it, right? Yeah. It was a little something out there,” said Wade when asked if there was some chippy play. “Every time we play them it’s gonna be like that. Two teams finding their way in the Eastern Conference. We know we gotta see each other a lot. They never give up. They can be down 30 with 15 seconds left and they’re still gonna fight.”

The Bulls have externally preached toughness from the start of camp. Although Wade didn’t participate in that meeting of the minds, he isn’t exactly running away from such matters.
And Rajon Rondo is competitively ornery enough to have his voice hard no matter the setting.

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

“It’s been a big theme of practice,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We want to play with physicality and toughness. I think it was evident on the glass tonight.”

Yes, the Bulls outrebounded the Celtics by 19, but that could’ve been a by-product of the Bulls’ crashing the offensive glass on a porous shooting night. And yes, the slightly tense moment between Butler and Crowder probably won’t be an expected occurrence.

But when’s the last time one had multiple examples to dissect to discern this team’s level of toughness—or lack thereof.

“That’s something to show that the guys are out there fighting for each other,” Hoiberg said. “That they were playing with an edge. It happens with this game. You have to be competitive.”

Competition boiled over slightly, but considering the NBA isn’t exactly UFC, one doesn’t have to do much to display a little physical resolve.

“The fact that nothing escalated was good,” Hoiberg said. “The fact that those guys are out there and playing for each other and have each other’s back, that’s a huge thing right now.”

Too many times last season, it seemed the Bulls would submit in situations like those. Not that they were particularly soft, but it didn’t appear they had the collective will to fight for one another if an altercation arose.

Half the time, they looked like they could barely stand to be in the room with each other.

“It’s people’s will to win. Not saying a bad thing about anybody from last year,” Butler said. “To tell you the truth, I study the game and put in a lot of work but Rondo studies the game a lot. Every time I’m in the gym, he’s in the gym. That lets me know, these (dudes) are going to war with you. Every day. When I hit that deck, Rondo was right there. I wanna play with guys that’s gonna play hard, that’s gonna fight.”

And it didn’t take long for Butler to realize he has at least a couple teammates willing to jump in the foxhole with him.