Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

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Hawks rookies excited for playoff debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. Andrew Shaw couldnt get any more excited about his first postseason game tonight. He thought about it last night before he went to bed, thought about it again when he woke up in the morning.

So, it was a restless nights sleep for the rookie?

No, I got lots of sleep. I wanted to go to bed at 10 last night, thats how tired I was, the Blackhawks forward said. So no nap for me today.

As excited as he and Brandon Bollig are to make their NHL playoff debuts tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes, it hasnt stopped them from getting their rest and going through their usual routines. And the way the rookies are handling the pomp and circumstance around the postseason should bode well for how they handle the games themselves.

Obviously Im pretty hyped up to keep going, but you have to take it as another game, said Bollig, who will be trying to make sure no one takes advantage of Jonathan Toews in his first game back from a concussion. You just want to keep your mind ready and stay well rested.

The energy and aggressiveness the two have brought the Blackhawks was pivotal down the regular-season stretch. Now, as they go into the playoffs, they want to keep that exuberance but avoid getting overzealous.

The first series, in particular, it can be physical with a lot of intensity. We want to make sure discipline is key, coach Joel Quenneville said. Thats our concentration no matter who we play. Careless, needless penalties can change things and turn games a certain way, so dont do it. We want to be hard to play against, go into the tough areas, and we dont want to take away from their strengths. But find that line and stay as close to it without pushing it.

Shaw said hes talked to some of the Blackhawks veterans, and understands what its going to take.

They say its a lot more energetic game and thats my game. They say everyone steps up now, he said. Its that much more exciting and physical out there. Im excited to get started.

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

Road Ahead: Blackhawks play three home games before All-Star break

CSN's Pat Boyle and Steve Konroyd preview the Blackhawks' three upcoming games in the Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Blackhawks have three home games before the NHL All-Star break, which takes place in Los Angeles.

The Blackhawks have dates between the Vancouver Canucks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Winnipeg Jets. All three opponents are out of the playoff picture, sand Steve Konroyd is looking for the Blackhawks to step up in a certain part of their game: scoring.

See what Boyle and Konroyd had to say in the video above.

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

Bears numbers don't indicate 3-13, yet still lie

In doing some post-season wrapping up of my Nerdy NFL Notebook as we begin turning the page to the 2017 season, part of it involves compiling where each team finished in big-picture team offensive and defensive categories: overall ranking (total yards), as well as team rushing and passing ranks on both sides of the ball.

So if the Bears wound up ranked 15th overall in total yards gained and allowed, they should've finished…oh, 8-8, right? It adds to the deception of some of the deeper issues that focus on a lack of playmakers, which tied into their inability to make plays when it matters most. In John Fox's 9-23 start, 18 of those games have been decided by six points or less. They've won just six of those games. 

Offensively, the Bears ranked higher in total offense than five playoff teams: Kansas City (20), Detroit (21), Miami (24), New York Giants (25) and Houston (29). They wound up 17th in rushing offense, better than four teams who advanced: Seattle (25), Green Bay (26), New York Giants (29) and Detroit (30). And their 14th-ranked passing offense ranked better than the Giants (17), Kansas City (19), Dallas (23), Miami (26), Houston (29).

On the other side of the ball, they'd be even better off before allowing 109 points over the final three losses. Their total defense ranked better than Detroit (18), Green Bay (22), Kansas City (24), Atlanta (25), Oakland (26) and Miami (29). After being gashed for 558 rushing yards the last three games, they fell to 27th in the NFL against the run (better than only 30th-ranked Miami). But the seventh-ranked pass defense, despite collecting a measly eight interceptions (among only 11 turnovers), was better than nine playoff teams: Miami (15), Pittsburgh (16), Kansas City (18), Detroit (19), the Giants (23), Oakland (24), Dallas (26), Atlanta (28) and Green Bay (31).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

What do all the hollow numbers indicate? A lack of complementary, opportunistic football, playmakers on both sides of the ball, a minus-20 turnover ratio, and a lack of quality and continuity at the quarterback position — to name a few. All of those playoff teams have more impact players (or kept more of their impact players healthy) than the Bears in 2016.

While some of the numbers aren't that bad to look at, and some even raise an eyebrow, there's still a deep climb from the most significant numbers: 3-13.