Hawks still in the dark on Shaw's fate

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Hawks still in the dark on Shaw's fate

As the lengthy wait to find out Andrew Shaws status for tonights game continues, Phoenix goaltender Mike Smiths status is suddenly up in the air.

Smith is a game-time decision, according to Coyotes coach Dave Tippett, as the Blackhawks wait and see if they will or will not have Shaw in the lineup when they host Phoenix in Game 3 tonight.

Shaw had his hearing with the NHL on Monday afternoon, but the league still hasnt released anything official regarding a ruling. Both Shaw and Smith skated with their respective teams this morning, and in Smiths case, it appeared that meant he was good to go for tonight. But Tippett said he and Martin Hanzal are game-time decisions.

Most of the questions for Tippett revolved around Smith, who was not available for comment this morning due to extreme circumstances, according to Phoenix media relations. Smith also didnt practice on Monday in Scottsdale, but Tippett wouldnt say why he didnt.

Its just our prerogative, Tippett said. Whether its an injury or a rest day, we dont have to tell everyone why a player practices or doesnt.

As for his thoughts on the hit, Tippetts havent changed from what he said after the game.

Its a blatant hit to the head, there was no intent to miss the goalie, he said. Ive gone through a lot of these meeting with the NHL, and its the exact same hit theyre trying to take out of the game.

Still, he wasnt concerned about the ruling on Shaw.

The leagues dealing with that, he said. We know theres probably some long, hard thought to it. Were worried about getting our players up and going.

The Coyotes soon said they would take no more questions regarding Smith and Shaw, and the press conference ended shortly after.

Quenneville said the Blackhawks will make the necessary changes if Shaw is ruled out. He didnt know why the decision was still pending.

Theyre evaluating all the factors being considered right now and Im not part of all those factors, he said. Im not sure of all the scenarios. Every case is different.

Shaw said hes just waiting for the news. So are the rest of the Blackhawks, and some wonder why its taken this long.

There should be some kind of protocol, a deadline, said Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers. A guys got to prepare for a game and shouldnt have to worry about that. The decision should have been made last night. Let him have the time to get ready for the game.

If Shaw is out, the Blackhawks will miss what hes provided.

You lose a lot of energy (without him), Mayers said. Im sure the other team has to be aware where he is; hes not afraid to go to those tough areas. Hes been chipping in, in a lot of areas for us.

Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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Morning Update: Cubs pick up win No. 101, Sale leads White Sox past Rays

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John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

John Lackey sees Cubs lining up for World Series run: ‘It’s all here’

PITTSBURGH — The Cubs have so much going for them, all this blue-chip talent, a clubhouse mix of young players and grizzled veterans, arguably the best manager in the game, an impactful coaching staff and a front office that blends scouting and analytics as well as anyone.

So, no, John Lackey is not at all surprised by the way this clicked into place, 101 wins and counting for the machine built with October in mind.

“Not really,” Lackey said after Tuesday night’s 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. “I had some pretty good offers from other people, and I chose this one for a reason. It’s all here.”

But to win the World Series — and get the jewelry Lackey talks about — you still need some luck, good health and the guts to perform in those Big Boy Games. That reality of randomness and matchups made a pregame announcement some 250 miles away from PNC Park so telling.

Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos tore the ACL in his right knee, ending his MVP-caliber season. The National League East champions will lose a .307 hitter with 22-homer power from the middle of their lineup and a veteran presence for a playoff rotation that will likely be without injured ace Stephen Strasburg (right elbow) in the first round.

“That’s a tough one when you lose your catcher, a guy who’s that significant for the pitching staff,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “Think about the pitching staff — it’s so different when you know the guy back there is your guy and he knows what’s going on. The communication’s different. The trust factor, all that stuff is different.”

[SHOP CUBS: Get your NL Central champions gear right here]

Within that big-picture context, the Cubs survived as Lackey limited the checked-out Pirates (77-80) to one run across five innings in his fifth start since recovering from a strained right shoulder and coming off the disabled list. Maddon then used six different relievers — staying away from Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman — during a three-hour, 49-minute game that felt more like the Cactus League.

After defecting from the 100-win St. Louis Cardinals team the Cubs bounced out of last year’s playoffs, Lackey finished the regular season at 11-8 with a 3.35 ERA and 188 1/3 innings.

“I’m going to get to 200,” Lackey said.

Beyond wins and losses, Lackey called this season his career best in terms of “those numbers that they’ve made up in the last few years” like WHIP (1.04) and opponents’ OPS (.646) and whatever. And, no, he doesn’t know his WAR, either: “Not even close.”

Yes, the Cubs got the old-school attitude they wanted when they signed Lackey to a two-year, $32 million deal before the winter meetings. For all the talk about the pitching deficit and the New York Mets after their young guns swept the Cubs out of last year’s NL Championship Series, the Cubs are getting their money’s worth with a guy who will turn 38 in October.

The amazing Mets have lost three of those frontline starters — Matt Harvey (thoracic outlet syndrome), Jacob deGrom (nerve damage in his right elbow) and Steven Matz (bone spur in his left elbow) — and are still holding onto the first wild-card spot, which says something about this playoff field.

This doesn’t guarantee anything in October, but the Cubs are just about as close to full strength as they could reasonably hope now. Instead of the silence that would have come with losing an irreplaceable player like Ramos, the sound system in the postgame clubhouse blasted Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Notorious B.I.G. after their 101st win.

“Yeah, we lost Dexter (Fowler) for a bit,” Maddon said. “We lost (Kyle) Schwarber all year. Otherwise, when a couple pitchers got banged up, whether you’re talking about Rondon or Strop, I don’t think that our injuries have been as magnified because we’ve covered them pretty well.

“We still had our moments, like everybody else has. But when you get to right now, we’re getting well, and hopefully that trend continues. But to lose somebody of that magnitude for them, that’s got to be difficult.”