Bears waive Sanzenbacher: A bad sign for Conte, Forte?

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Bears waive Sanzenbacher: A bad sign for Conte, Forte?

The best indication of how severe a particular injury might be is usually in the steps the team takes in the hours after it occurs. So when the Bears released wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher on Monday after injuries to running back Matt Forte and safety Chris Conte, the focus went right to concern over whether one or both of those starters would be lost for the Detroit Lions game next Sunday.
Were evaluating still all of the players, coach Lovie Smith said. So we dont have any more information from yesterday.
Conte pulled a hamstring in the Bears 28-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals and was replaced by Anthony Walters. Conte went on injured reserve for the final two games last season with an ankle injury and could finish there again depending upon the true extent of injury.
Hamstrings typically do not heal in a week, as tackle Jonathan Scott and linebacker Brian Urlacher have shown in recent weeks.
The fact that Sanzenbacher was waived mildly suggests that the Bears may be leaning toward adding a player on offense to shore up running back. Harvey Unga is on the practice squad if Fortes injured right ankle does not respond quickly to treatment.
Whenever you have a limited amount of guys time this time of year anyways, and when you have a player that goes down, it makes you shuffle things, coach Lovie Smith said. Hopefully, Matt will be OK. And a lot of these were talking about, hopefully their injuries arent as bad as maybe as most of us think.

Long-snapper Patrick Mannelly already is long-tenured Patrick Mannelly. He is in his 15th season with the Bears and already has played in more career games (230) than any player in franchise history.
Now he can plan on adding to his record after the Bears agreed with him on a one-year extension through the 2013 season. It is the fourth extension the Bears have done with Mannelly, who was the Bears sixth-round pick in the 1998 draft, the last under Dave Wannstedt.
Mannelly most recently signed a six-year extension in 2005 and a two-year add-on on Dec. 27, 2010.

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Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Nick Schmaltz shines on 21st birthday

Quick Hits from Blackhawks-Coyotes: Nick Schmaltz shines on 21st birthday

The Blackhawks were finally getting healthy and now may be missing a key player once again. That depends on how Niklas Hjalmarsson feels after suffering an upper-body injury against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.

It was certainly the toughest part of the Blackhawks' victory, a 6-3 triumph that has the Blackhawks closing in on the Wild. We'll see what the Hjalmarsson update is over the weekend. Until then, let's look at the notables from this one.

What Worked: The offense. We'll give an honorable mention to the penalty kill, which snuffed out all of the Coyotes' chances including a double minor that overlapped the second and third periods. But the offense was just buzzing again. Here's another shocker: the top line is still working just fine. The trio got things started with Nick Schmaltz's goal just 37 seconds into the game (Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik assisted). And much like in their meeting with the Coyotes earlier this month, the Blackhawks needed just about every bit of that offense. While we're on this topic...

What Didn't Work: The first-period defense. The Blackhawks looked like they were in good shape up 3-1 but then they gave up two goals within a minute late in the period. Michal Rozsival had a rough start in his first game since Jan. 15, but overall, the Blackhawks' defense through that first period looked discombobulated. Obviously, it didn't help that the Blackhawks lost Hjalmarsson during the first, either.

[RELATED: Patrick Kane nets hat trick as Blackhawks cruise past Coyotes]

Star of the game: Patrick Kane. One game after Jonathan Toews recorded a hat trick Kane did the same, scoring his 21st, 22nd and 23rd goals of the season. On a night in which the Blackhawks dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, Kane got a little extra playing time. His first goal came on a first-period shift with Ryan Hartman and Tanner Kero, the second off a long pass from Brent Seabrook and the third with his usual line mates.

He Said It: "I didn't play much before I got hurt, then I missed four weeks with my injury. It wasn't easy but definitely the way the team's playing now, it made it easier for me. It felt like the first game of the season for me but glad we got the victory and glad I was back playing. I enjoyed it." — Michal Rozsival on returning to the Blackhawks' lineup. 

By the Numbers: 

6 – Number of times, in their last eight games, the Blackhawks have scored five or more goals.

342 – Assists for Jonathan Toews, who tied Dennis Hull for 12th all-time in franchise history in that category.

35 – Combined points for the Blackhawks' top liners Jonathan Toews, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik in their nine games together. The breakdown in those nine games: Toews has 16 points, Panik 10 and Schmaltz nine.

1997 – The last time the Blackhawks had hat tricks in back-to-back regular-season games. Alexei Zhamnov and Eric Daze had them on April 11 and April 13, 1997, respectively.