Dark horse Trestman now the man for Bears

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Dark horse Trestman now the man for Bears

Bears fans: You wanted an offensive fix? You got it. At least until they kick things off in September.

Marc Trestman, the dark horse from north of the border who emerged in the Bears head coaching search is the man who succeeds Lovie Smith as the 14th man to lead the league's charter franchise.

MORE: After long search, Bears name Trestman head coach

When he's introduced Thursday at 11 a.m. (the press conference can be seen on Comcast SportsNet and CSNChicago.com), it'll be a circuitous route to say the least. You need two hands to count the stops as the NFL's "Next Big Thing" until he apparently got tired of the waiting game to get the big break he's now realized. An eight-year "exile" to the Canadian Football League has now come full circle and we anxiously await Phil Emery's explanation as the guy no one gave two thoughts to back on New Year's Day becomes the man he'll hang his reputation on.

There's a brief path-crossing with Jay Cutler between Vanderbilt and the NFL, and that's where this decision will weight heaviest from this point forward. How will the two communicate? Will they be on the same page? In Trestman we'll see quickly if the two are on the same page, can co-exist and flourish together. If they can't -- figure Trestman has the longer leash.

RELATED: Marc Trestman career timeline

CSN's Kip Lewis learned Tuesday evening the bulk of the Bears' defensive coaching staff will be brought back. If Bob Babich and Rod Marinelli are too loyal to Smith, look at Jon Hoke to figure more prominently. It's one less thing for Trestman to concern himself with as he tackles this team's greater concern.

While one of the league's top defenses has been overlooked in this search, this hire is about the offense. It's about how the league has changed, and how Trestman -- out of the NFL for eight years -- can keep up, and stay a step ahead, of the NFL as we now know it. That's a whole lot different than even just eight years ago.

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Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks host Lightning tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Grab the first goal.

The Blackhawks have scored the game's first goal in seven of the last eight games, and of those seven, they've won six of them. Meanwhile, the Lightning have scored the first goal only 17 times in 48 games this season, and are 12-5-1 in those games. They're 9-17-4 when they allow the first goal, so getting out to a lead first will be important against a struggling Lightning team looking for signs of life.

2. Will the floodgates open for Jonathan Toews?

After a four-point game in a 4-2 win over Vancouver, the Blackhawks captain matched his point total over his previous nine games. He's up to 26 points on the season, which is now fifth among Chicago forwards. When Toews has offensive droughts, they usually last longer than they should. But when he gets hot, he gets extremely hot. Perhaps we'll see the floodgates open offensively.

3. A chance for the team lead in scoring.

With an empty-net goal on Sunday, Marian Hossa tied Artem Anisimov for the team-lead with 18 goals. Artemi Panarin is right behind with 17, and Patrick Kane isn't far either at 15. The Blackhawks had four 20-goal scorers last season, and haven't had more than that since the 2013-14 season. They're definitely on pace to hit four, but could they surprass that? Richard Panik, who scored another goal Sunday as well, is fifth with 11 goals while Ryan Hartman has 10. Toews is at eight, but a flurry after a drought could make things interesting.

4. The triplets reunited?

In an effort to jumpstart a struggling offense, Lightning coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat that was so successful during their 2015 playoff run in their latest game, a 5-3 loss to Arizona. It's unclear whether they will begin tonight's game on the same line, but if not, it's worth watching throughout the game whether they do. The Blackhawks have been coming at opponents in waves lately, so Cooper could look to separate the three to distribute the scoring.

5. Take advantage on special teams.

The Lightning have racked up the fifth-most penalty minutes in the league, and own a bottom-10 penalty kill unit at 80.1 percent. The Blackhawks are the second-least penalized team, and have converted on 17.9 percent of their power plays, which sits at 16th. But they haven't scored one on the man advantage in five straight games, going 0-for-9 during that span. Here's a chance to change that.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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