Bowman targeting D-man, center via trade

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Bowman targeting D-man, center via trade

PHILADELPHIA -- Chicago Blackhawks general manger Stan Bowman is always looking at the potential trade landscape, and wouldnt mind adding a solid defenseman or center.

Only thing is, he wont be alone in that.

Bowman and the Blackhawks have a pretty little bundle of salary-cap cash to use if or when they decide to add pieces to this team. Bowman said hes been watching the landscape for a while, but hes willing to wait for the right move.

And defenseman and center are at the top of the wish list.

I think you can never have enough defensemen. I think last year Vancouver used 10 or 11? Up front, I think you can make the same argument for a centerman, Bowman said. But if you talk to the other GMs, and Ive talked to a lot recently, theyre looking for center and defense as well. Those are the positions most in demand. Were probably not unique that way.

Bowman said right now it was hard to say if the Blackhawks could pull off a big deal.

All we can do is keep in touch with (teams), and if theyre ready to start making trades, well talk and see if theres a fit there, he said. You cant force them. We talk and we let them know the players we like. When we get around to it, we keep on top of it. But it takes two to tango.

The Blackhawks can afford to wait. They entered Thursday nights game in Philadelphia second in the Western Conference, one point behind the Vancouver Canucks. They enjoyed health through most of this season, with injuries just cropping up recently (Steve Montador and Marcus Kruger are on injured reserve, and Daniel Carcillo may face rehab or surgery for his injury).

But while Bowman mulls potential moves, he and the Blackhawks have taken advantage of their deep resources in Rockford. Several IceHogs have had opportunities with the big club this season, and forwards Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw along with defenseman Dylan Olsen are getting theirs now. Hayes has two goals in as many games, while Shaw scored his first-career NHL goal Thursday in Philadelphia.

If nothing else, its a good audition for those young guys.

They never know if theyre going to get another game, so theyll try to put their best foot forward. Its exciting for them. Its their dream to play in the NHL, Bowman said. It gives us a good opportunity to see how these players are progressing. We can assess where theyre at and go from there.

Cubs enjoy 'Anchorman' road trip after big home stand: '60 percent of the time, it works every time'

Cubs enjoy 'Anchorman' road trip after big home stand: '60 percent of the time, it works every time'

Win or lose, the Cubs were always going to leave Wrigley Field on a good note Thursday evening.

Joe Maddon made sure of that.

The Cubs left "The Friendly Confines" dressed in "Anchorman" attire for Maddon's themed road trip that included Kyle Schwarber dressed as fictional sportscaster Champ Kind, right down to the gallon-size hat.

"Champ's my guy," Schwarber said.

John Lackey also got in the spirit of Champ Kind

Maddon thought Schwarber was the perfect fit for Champ Kind.

"Of course he should be," Maddon said. "Isn't that a [John] Lackey kinda look, also?

"I just love that they're into it. It would've been perfect going to San Diego first, but I'll take it."

The Cubs are shipping out to Los Angeles for a weekend series beginning Friday before heading to San Diego — the site of Ron Burgandy's affection — from there.

The Cubs apparently even have some "Sex Panther" on board, the cologne that Paul Rudd's character used that smelled...shall we say...awful.

"Sex Panther's on board," Maddon said before Thursday's game. "I'm hearing a lot of good things about Sex Panther. 'Sixty percent of the time, [it works every time].' I wanna know who wrote that. That's brilliant.

"Of course, a win always makes it better, but even after a loss, it's a good way to just let 'er go. But I think everybody's embraced the 'Anchorman' very well."

Of course, the Cubs did win, beating the San Francisco Giants 5-1 to close out a 7-2 home stand.

Check out some of the best photos as the Cubs exited Wrigley Field on Thursday:

Cubs slug their way to impressive homestand

Cubs slug their way to impressive homestand

For the third straight year, the Cubs' season could hinge on an important series with the San Francisco Giants.

In August of 2015, the Cubs swept the Giants in a four-game set at Wrigley Field and they built off that momentum to win 97 games and make it all the way to the National League Championship Series.

Last fall, the Cubs rallied to beat the Giants in an epic comeback in Game 4 of the NLDS, essentially winning the World Series in that game, by Joe Maddon's opinion.

The 2017 Cubs have spent all year hovering around .500 before winning three of four against the Giants this week at Wrigley, looking more and more like the defending champs.

Thursday's 5-1 win over the Giants was the icing on top of an impressive 7-2 homestand that also featured a sweep of the Cincinnati Reds and a split in a rain-shortened series with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs are now 14-11 at home and 25-21 overall, having caught up to the Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. 

They also flashed plenty of defense throughout the homestand, including Javy Baez's ridiculous play in the eighth inning of the series finale against the Giants:

Eddie Butler turned in another solid start, allowing just a run in five innings. Mike Montgomery faced one above the minimum in four innings of relief, inducing six outs on ground balls.

Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist delivered the offense with a solo homer each off former Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija. Bryant and Anthony Rizzo added insurance by both scoring on a wild pitch (and subsequent error) in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Heyward's blast was his fifth of the season. He didn't earn his fifth homer of 2016 until July 29.

On the nine-game homestand, the Cubs found their offense, scoring 59 runs — good for 6.56 runs per game.

They also smashed 20 home runs, which is nearly a third of their season total (62). On the homestand, 45.7 percent of the Cubs' runs came via the longball.