Blackhawks breakdown: Michael Frolik

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Blackhawks breakdown: Michael Frolik

In his first full season with the Blackhawks, Michael Frolik played a little under 13 minutes per game in 63 games. He scored five goals with 10 assists and finished minus-10. Frolik played in four playoff games scoring a goal in Games 3 and 4 vs. Phoenix and picking up an assist in Game 5.

Boden's take: Aah, the Mystery of Michael Frolik. Even Frolik himself seemed mystified over his regular season disappearing act. A career-worst season included more healthy scratches (17) than points (15). For the second straight postseason, however, he was very good in the playoffs -- the saving grace to his year. That performance a year ago showed potential for which he was rewarded a three-year, 7 million deal that most Hawks fans liked when it was announced after that what he did in that 2011 Vancouver series (admit it, be honest now).

Myers' take: If only Frolik couldve taken his game from the 2011 playoffs and applied it to last season, he wouldve been terrific. Frolik came in with confidence, or at least he should have, based on his performance vs. Vancouver. But Frolik struggled out of the gate and was AWOL through most of the season. The guy who had two consecutive 21-goal seasons didnt get his first goal until Oct. 22. Frolik admitted his confidence was shaken, and it looked like it on the ice. Yes, he had a decent playoff series, again, but it was way too little, way too late.

2012-13 Expectations

Boden: So now it's about finding a way to be as effective over the six-month grind as he was in his four playoff games against Phoenix. For three of those games, he did it with Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell while Andrew Shaw was suspended. Is that where he should be? The bosses and fans sure wouldn't mind the 21-goal seasons he supplied Florida in his first two NHL seasons. He probably wouldn't either after totaling 16 the last two years.

It should be noted I've rarely seen anyone work harder trying to figure it out, consistently putting in extra time on the ice following practices. At this point, he has to earn it in training camp with a peek at the forwards on this roster. If the third line is the combo mentioned above, if Viktor Stalberg's somewhere on the first two lines and Jamal Mayers and Marcus Kruger are on the fourth -- there's Daniel Carcillo, Ben Smith, Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Saad and Jeremy Morin to out-perform.

Myers: Frolik has to be better, simple as that. Theres no doubt the talent and the drive is there. Froliks not afraid to crash the net, give everything he can on the ice. But he has to show the offense he had when he was with the Florida Panthers, or hes going to be watching more than participating this season.

How do you feel about this evaluation? As always, be sure to chime in with your thoughts by commenting below and check out highlights of Frolik above.

Up next: Marian Hossa

Bears' first round pick Leonard Floyd leaves practice with illness

Bears' first round pick Leonard Floyd leaves practice with illness

Leonard Floyd provided a scare on the first day of practice at Bears training camp, but the first round pick appears fine.

Head coach John Fox said Floyd, who left Thursday's practice on a cart, is simply battling an illness and was not injured.

The Bears moved up in April's NFL Draft to select Floyd with the ninth overall pick. The outside linebacker tallied 17 sacks at Georgia and was projected to be in the mix as an outside rusher in the Bears' 3-4 defense.

Bulls release 2016 preseason schedule

Bulls release 2016 preseason schedule

The Bulls announced their preseason schedule on Thursday that will feature five games aired on Comcast SportsNet.

The Bulls, who traded Derrick Rose and added Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade during a busy offseason, will debut their new-look roster on October 3 against the Milwaukee Bucks at the United Center. They'll also square off against the defending champion Cavaliers on October 14 and will play in Omaha against the Atlanta Hawks on October 20.

Bulls 2016 preseason schedule

Monday, October 3: vs. Milwaukee (7 p.m.)
Thursday, October 6: at Indiana (7 p.m.)
Friday, October 14: vs. Cleveland (7 p.m.)
Saturday, October 15: at Milwaukee (7:30 p.m.)
Monday, October 17: vs. Charlotte (7 p.m.)
Thursday, October 20: vs. Atlanta (7 p.m.)

Cubs: The Aroldis Chapman Show begins at Wrigley Field

Cubs: The Aroldis Chapman Show begins at Wrigley Field

Rage Against the Machine’s “Wake Up” blasted from the Wrigley Field sound system at 9:51 p.m. on Wednesday as Aroldis Chapman trotted toward the mound. Nothing would get lost in translation as the Cubs unleashed their new closer on the White Sox.

Chapman didn’t feel the full rush of adrenaline, because a revived offense scored five runs in the eighth inning, ending the save situation and any real suspense for the crowd of 41,166. The game within the game became looking up at the 3,990-square-foot LED video board in left field for the velocity reading after each pitch and listening to the oohs and aahs.

Chapman made it look easy against the middle of the White Sox lineup, with 13 of his 15 pitches clocked between 100 and 103 mph in the ninth inning of an 8-1 victory. That triple-digit default setting, fluid left-handed delivery and intimidating presence showed why the Cubs made a game-changing trade with the New York Yankees.

The first impressions from Tuesday’s press conference apparently bothered Chapman enough that he initially refused to speak to the reporters waiting around his locker after his debut. There had been questions about his 30-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, the off-the-field expectations from chairman Tom Ricketts and where the wires got crossed with coach/translator Henry Blanco.

After taking a shower – and listening to a few associates inside the clubhouse – Chapman agreed to two minutes of questions with catcher Miguel Montero acting as his translator.

“It happened,” Chapman said when asked about his portrayal in the Chicago media. “Don’t want to go further with it.”

The controversy will begin to fade after Chapman struck out Jose Abreu swinging at a 91-mph slider that almost scraped the dirt, forced Todd Frazier into a routine groundball and struck out pinch-hitter Avisail Garcia looking at a 103-mph fastball.

“It’s just entertaining to watch the gun, beyond everything else,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s a different kind of a pitcher. You don’t see that every 100 years or so. He’s just that good. Everybody talks about the fastball. How good is the slider? The slider is devastating.

“He was very calm in the moment. He was able to get through the last couple days to go out there. It was almost good it wasn’t a save situation just to get his feet on the ground.”

Picture the drama and the excitement when Chapman isn’t throwing with a seven-run lead and has to get the final three outs in a playoff game at Wrigley Field.

“I’m not impressed – I thought we were getting a guy that threw 105,” winning pitcher Jason Hammel joked. “I’ve never seen anything like it.

“It’s jaw-dropping. To see that type of velocity and command, it’s almost unfair to have a slider and offspeed pitches after that, too.”

This is what the Cubs envisioned when they decided to weather the media storms and absorb the PR hits, how Maddon could reimagine the entire bullpen and the whole team would sense the game-over feeling when the ball is in Chapman’s left hand.

“That’s a confidence-booster for us and it’s a morale kick for anybody out there,” Hammel said. “For the other side, it’s got to be black clouds: ‘Oh man, we can’t let the bullpen get in there.’”