Word on the Street: Sideshow Bobrovsky?

Word on the Street: Sideshow Bobrovsky?

Monday, April 11, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Sideshow Bobrovsky unveils new Simpsons-inspired mask

Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has found a new way to show off for the playoffs. The rookie netminder unveiled his new mask just in time for playoffs.

And his inspiration was Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons.

On the other side of the helmet, Philadelphia icon Rocky Balboa in front of the US flag raises his arms like the champion he is. (Pro Hockey Talk)

Crains Chicago Business interviews Bulls exec Steve Schanwald

Ed Sherman from Crains Chicago Business recently conducted a three-part Business of Sports video interview with Chicago Bulls Executive Vice President-Business Operations Steve Schanwald. Among the topics Sherman discusses with Schanwald include Bulls superstarNBA MVP candidate Derrick Rose, the teams on-going domination in overall league attendance, the Jordan effect and more. Plus Sherman also posted a pair articles focusing on Comcast SportsNets extremely busy spring season, along with the hyper-serving goal of SportsNet Central. (Crain's Chicago Business)
Bulls finish No. 1 in NBA Power Rankings

The Bulls clinched their 60th win of the season yesterday, and in doing so secured the top position in NBC Sports NBA Power Rankings.

They have repeatedly won with a strong defense, and have improved on the offensive end. Pro Basketball Talk believes Derrick Rose's decision-making has improved across the board. The blog also insists that the team is "legit." (Pro Basketball Talk)

Wild fire head coach

Just hours after he lead his team to a victory over the Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild head coach Todd Richards was fired. Richards was with the team for two years.

"Without question you look back, and there's always hindsight," Richards said. "Would you do some things differently? Absolutely there are some things I'd do differently, but for the most part there's not too many things I would change."

The Wild defeated the Stars 4-3 in their last regular season NHL game, boosting the Chicago Blackhawks into the playoffs. (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Father of Bulls' Noah receives death threats

The father of Bulls' center Joakim Noah, Yannick, said he was the target of death threats and racial slurs from neo-Nazis before playing a concert in France.

According to a French newspaper, the former tennis star turned singer received the threats in a theater in Roanne, and immediately contacted the police.

A local extremist group called Phinehas sent the threatening messages. (Chicago Sun-Times)

Chicago Sky select Gonzaga point guard

In the 2011 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected Courtney Vandersloot from Gonzaga University. The point guard was the first ever Division I player (man or woman) to notch more than 2000 points and 1000 assists in a career.

Some of her career highlights include being named All-West Coast Conference three times, West Coast Conference Player of the Year twice, and West Coast Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player twice.

In her senior season, Vandersloot averaged 18.6 points, 10.2 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. (WNBA.comSky)

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

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USA TODAY

Expansion of the College Football Playoff field continues to seem inevitable

There were six teams deserving of reaching the College Football Playoff this season. But there were only four spots.

But what if there were more spots?

An expansion of the Playoff field to eight teams has seemed inevitable from the day the four-team system was announced. Four more Playoff games means oodles more TV viewers, which means oodles more dollars.

And then we wouldn't be having all these arguments, either — but that's nonsense because of course we would, trying to figure out who got snubbed from the expanded bracket.

But this season's emphasis on the conference-champion debate might kick the efforts to expand the Playoff into high gear. Just take it from NCAA president Mark Emmert.

Now, technically speaking, there are 10 FBS conferences, each of which crowns a champion at the end of every football season. Emmert is obviously referring to the Power Five conferences: the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Pac-12 and SEC. He might want to pick his words a bit more carefully, considering he represents the other five conferences — the American, Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West and the Sun Belt — too, but his point remains understood.

This season has sparked a ton of controversy as the Playoff selection committee opted for the first time to include a team that did not win its conference, Ohio State, and it picked the Buckeyes over the Big Ten champs, Penn State. Plus, Big 12 champion Oklahoma was passed over in favor of non-champion Ohio State, too, actually falling behind another non-champion from the Big Ten, Michigan, in the final Playoff rankings.

With that decision brought the reasonable question of how much a conference championship should matter in getting a team into the final four and competing for a national championship.

The Playoff committee's mission is to pick the country's four best teams, and there aren't many people out there that will argue that Ohio State isn't one of the country's four best teams. But there's something to be said for winning a conference championship because if the Buckeyes can waltz into the Playoff without even playing in the Big Ten title game, why even have a conference championship game — besides, obviously, earning one more night of big-time TV money.

And so the call for an expanded Playoff bracket has reached perhaps its greatest volume in the short time the Playoff has existed. The obvious solution to Power Five conference champions continually being boxed out is to lock in five spots on the bracket for the five conference champions. Then, guarantee a spot for the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, and you're left with two "at-large" spots that this season would've gone to Ohio State and Michigan, two of the highest-profile programs in the country sure to drive TV viewership in battles against conference-champion Alabama, Clemson, Washington, Penn State and Oklahoma teams. And P.J. Fleck's undefeated Western Michigan squad takes the final slot.

That's quite the field. But if you think it would've solved all this year's problems, you're wrong. Still there would've been outcry that red-hot USC didn't make the field. The Trojans are playing so well that they could very well win the whole thing, despite their three early season losses. That debate over snubs will exist forever, no matter the size of the field, something we see play out each and every season in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

Also, what a damper an expanded bracket would put on the final few weeks of the regular season. Ohio State's game against Michigan, the highest-rated game of the college football season with more than 16 million people watching, would've been effectively meaningless. No matter who won or lost, both teams would've made that eight-team field, right?

Additionally, another round of Playoff football would expand the season to 16 games for some teams. That means more physical demands on student-athletes and a season cutting deep into January, which would impact their educational and time demands.

But again, an expansion of the Playoff bracket has always seemed inevitable. There's too much money to be made, and at the same time fans seem to be all about that idea. People love the postseason for good reason, and the win-or-go-home nature of the NFL playoffs make those games the most-watched sporting events of the year.

Now the NCAA president is chiming in with hopes of an expanded field. So really isn't it just a matter of time?

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

Road Ahead: Blackhawks dealing with rash of injuries

CSN's Chris Boden and Tracey Myers have the latest on the Blackhawks in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

From an injury standpoint, it's been a tough few weeks for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are down two key players in captain Jonathan Toews and goaltender Corey Crawford, and now may be without defenseman Brent Seabrook who sustained an upper-body injury in Tuesday's victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

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While the Blackhawks haven't had much luck on the injury front, their upcoming two opponents are in the same boat.

"You look at the New York Rangers, a very talented team, but this is what every team goes through every season. Your depth gets tested," Myers said.

Check out what else Boden and Myers had to say about the team's upcoming matchups in this week's Honda Road Ahead