Ross looking to show Blackhawks what he's got

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Ross looking to show Blackhawks what he's got

Garret Ross name had barely been announced as a Chicago Blackhawks draftee when he got a call from his fellow Saginaw Spirit teammate Brandon Saad.

He actually called me no more than five minutes after, said Ross, who the Blackhawks took in the fifth round at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He was yelling into the phone. We were pretty excited.

Flash forward to this week, as Ross is teammates with Saad again as he participates in his first Blackhawks prospect camp at Johnnys IceHouse West. For Ross, its a chance to show the Blackhawks what hes got: a well-rounded game with some offense (54 points last season with Saginaw) and some sandpaper.

The 20-year-old Ross said being on a line with Saad for part of last season was a great experience.

The first couple of years it was mainly go out there and hit and try to fight. But this season me and Saad were together half a year. He brings the best out of you and hes great to play with, Ross said. I feel that Im a two-way guy. Ill play some offense and defense, bring some energy, make some hits and stick up for my teammates.

Saad said Ross wont back down from anyone.

He has that grittiness to him, Saad said. You should look forward to watching him this week.

And look forward to seeing Ross at training camp this fall, when hell be reunited with a former fighting foe: Andrew Shaw. Ross and Shaw had their share of bouts you can find at least two of them on the web when Shaw was with the Niagara IceDogs in the OHL.

Yeah, we went a couple of times, Ross said with a grin. I definitely dont mind dropping the gloves.

So there could be some sparring between the two come training camp?

Im sure you guys will see something, Ross said.

Ross plays with an edge and can also bring some offense. Hes reunited with his Saginaw teammate Saad, and Saads experience with the Blackhawks last season motivates Ross. Still, he knows he has to be himself to impress the Blackhawks brass.

Learning is the main thing. I just come out here and play my game, he said. Thats the reason why Im here, so Ill just stick to my game.

Badgers make it official: Linebacker Vince Biegel out for several weeks

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Badgers make it official: Linebacker Vince Biegel out for several weeks

After it was reported Thursday night that Vince Biegel would be sidelined while recovering from surgery on his foot, Wisconsin officially announced Friday afternoon that the senior linebacker will be out of action for several weeks.

"I really hate any time a player has to miss time due to an injury, especially a senior like Vince," head coach Paul Chryst said in the announcement. "Vince has such a passion for football and loves playing the game. This team is very important to him, and he is very important to our team. What you appreciate is that you know he will do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible."

Biegel's absence comes during the Badgers' toughest stretch of the season. After scoring a huge win last weekend over a top-10-ranked Michigan State team, Wisconsin is set to take on No. 4 Michigan on Saturday in Ann Arbor. After that comes games against second-ranked Ohio State and Big Ten West Division rivals Iowa and Nebraska.

Biegel has 156 tackles in 46 career games with 35.5 tackles for loss, 18.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. This season, he's made nine tackles with two tackles for loss and a sack in four games.

Wisconsin is beset by injuries ahead of this weekend's matchup with Michigan. Biegel will join fellow starting linebacker Chris Orr on the injured list, Orr out for the season. And just Thursday, the Badgers announced that kicker Rafael Gaglianone will miss the remainder of the season with a back injury. Week-to-week injuries have also affected a majority of the team's extremely deep running back corps.

Fire hope to damage rival Columbus' playoff hopes Saturday on CSN+

Fire hope to damage rival Columbus' playoff hopes Saturday on CSN+

The Chicago Fire’s current three-game road trip started with back-to-back losses and Saturday’s trip to Columbus represents the last chance to salvage something from the road trip.

To start the trip the Fire lost to New York City FC 4-1 and followed up with a 1-0 loss in Seattle. The Fire are trying to avoid the second 0-3 road trip of the season, following a similar cross-country trip in May.

Saturday’s match at the Columbus Crew will be televised on CSN+ (channel finder). Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.

Back on March 19, the third match of the season, the Fire hosted the Crew and the game was a goalless draw. The two teams also played in the U.S. Open Cup on June 28, a 2-1 Fire win.

Norwegian-born forward Ola Kamara has since emerged as one of the best goalscorers in Major League Soccer this season. The 26-year-old joined the Crew in the offseason, but made just three substitute appearances totaling 50 minutes in the team’s first nine matches. The trade of Kei Kamara, no relation, opened up a spot at forward and Ola Kamara took advantage.

Kamara has five goals in the past four matches and is up to 15 on the season despite starting just 19 matches. He did not play against the Fire in March, but started in the Open Cup loss to the Fire and was subbed off at halftime.

[SHOP: Get your own Fire home jersey here]

The Fire (6-15-9, 27 points) are freshly eliminated from playoff contention while Columbus (7-12-11, 32 points) is still holding onto hope, but barely. The Crew’s 3-0 loss at D.C. on Wednesday was a crippling blow to Columbus’ playoff chances.

After Saturday's match, which is also Columbus’ home finale, the teams will play again in the next match for both on Oct. 13 at Toyota Park. The international break will split up the matches, but the Fire will return home from the road trip to host the Crew for the third time in 2016.

Two Fire players will leave to join national teams during that break. David Accam will rejoin Ghana for its opening World Cup qualifier against Uganda on Oct. 7 and play at South Africa on Oct. 11. Collin Fernandez will join Peru’s U-20 team.

Injury wise, Matt Lampson is still out for the Fire. Cedrick Mabwati is out for the Crew and playmaker Federico Higuain has missed the last four games, but is listed as questionable.

Chicago Fire at Columbus Crew

TV: CSN+ (channel finder)

When: Coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live

Where: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio