Do Cubs fans have the patience to see this through?

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Do Cubs fans have the patience to see this through?

The Cubs are off to a 6-13 start and rank near the bottom of the MLB in most of the important categories, including ERA, runs scored and errors.

Dale Sveum has this team playing hard and fighting each day, but those are the simple facts. Right now, this is not a championship-caliber team.

That's not to say they won't be next year or in 2014 or even at the end of this season. Nineteen games is hardly a large sample size.

Given the slow start and the 71-91 finish in 2011, some fans are already growing restless, however.

When Theo Epstein was hired, he made it clear from Day 1 that there would be no quick fixes. Everybody was on board right away, but this isn't the way some people pictured it. Some fans certainly wanted a quick fix, and it's hard to blame them after more than a century without a World Series title.

Everybody wondered how long Theo's honeymoon phase would last with the fans. Would the Wrigley Faithful be patient with their rock star executive?

I posed this question to CSN analyst and 12-year MLB veteran Todd Hollandsworth earlier this season.

"I don't expect them to be patient," Hollandsworth said. "When you're with your brothers and sisters that attend games, you might get a little mad at them for not sticking it out through the growing process.

"But I absolutely believe we will see that when they turn this around and the Cubs become the organization they have hopes of becoming, the fans will all come out in full force. The place will be packed each and every day and each and every night. That's just how it's going to be. But right now, you're going to lose some attendance based on the performance."

Many in the past have tried the quick fix to turn things around, throwing money at free agents like Alfonso Soriano. But that course of action didn't bring about a championship.

"They've tried to piece this thing together forever and it has not worked," Hollandsworth said. "It's been band-aid solutions. And the band-aids have been ripped off and the wound gets bigger. This is something that has needed to go all the way back to the depths of the minor-league system and be rebuilt, turned over, reinvested."

One of the things Theo has tried to do to help is establish "The Cubs Way" from the lowest of minor league levels right up to the majors. Hollandsworth went through a similar tactic with the Dodgers, the organization that made him a third-round pick in the 1991 draft.

"I grew up in a farm system with a culture and ideas that were just sound all the way from short-season A-ball all the way to the major-league club," he said. "Tommy Lasorda was running that camp. That's who we were. 'Bleeding Dodger Blue' was the saying.

"The Cubs aren't looking to 'Bleed Cubbie Blue' but I will say this -- when they players know it, they players want to see each other succeed. They feel the desire to support and pull for each other. And then you build a core team from within. You have guys that lean on each other like brothers.

"It will take some time. There will always be the small victoriees. That's what I continue to challenge fans -- to see the small victories in each game."

Chicago native Brandon McCoy returns home for McDonald's All-American Game

Chicago native Brandon McCoy returns home for McDonald's All-American Game

The 2017 McDonald's All-American Game will be without an Illinois high school basketball player for the second consecutive year.

While the local drought for elite IHSA talent continues, this year's McDonald's game at least has a Chicago native in the mix as 7-foot big man Brandon McCoy is returning home to participate in the game. McCoy is considered the No. 15 prospect in the country according to Rivals.com.

A native of the West Side of the city, McCoy moved to San Diego during his middle school years, but he still has a lot of family and friends in Chicago supporting him.

A five-star prospect who is deciding between Arizona, Michigan State, Oregon and UNLV, McCoy has already been back to Chicago once during his high school career to compete at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament as a junior.

McCoy will take the floor with the West Team at the United Center tonight as he's one of six uncommitted prospects in the game.

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

Ryan Hartman returns for Blackhawks vs. Penguins

PITTSBURGH — Ryan Hartman has played on the right side of that line for most of this season. Now back in the lineup, he knows he has to stay on it.

Hartman will play after missing Monday's game as a healthy scratch when the Blackhawks face the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night. Hartman took a few bad penalties, including an unsportsmanlike conduct, against the Florida Panthers last weekend, so he sat vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning. The rookie knows he has to get back to the more disciplined hockey he's played most of the season. 

"I don't change my game. I think you take the message and deliver the message," Hartman said. "Obviously, no one likes to not play, everyone wants to play games and no one likes to sit out games. It's definitely something that I took to heart. I'm just going to go out there and just try to play like I've been playing and get on the scoresheet. Just stay off it for the wrong reasons."

Coach Joel Quenneville said Hartman has to stay on the right side of the line.

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"Know there are boundaries and sometimes you get watched a little bit more," Quenneville said. "The way they're calling the game, the way it's being officiated, be respectful. You still have to be hard to play against and find that limit, how far you can push it but you get a good feel on that early in games."

The Penguins are on a three-game winless streak (0-2-1) and are dealing with some injuries. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that, while Evgeni Malkin (shoulder) is close to returning, he won't play against the Blackhawks.

Broadcast information

Time: 7 p.m.
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports app
Radio: WGN 720 AM

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz-Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Tanner Kero-Patrick Kane
Ryan Hartman-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
John Hayden-Dennis Rasmussen-Tomas Jurco

Defensive pairs 

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Johnny Oduya-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

Artem Anisimov (left leg)

Penguins lines

Conor-Sheary-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Chris Kunitz-Nick Bonino-Patric Hornqvist
Scott Wilson-Carter Rowney-Phil Kessel
Tom Kuhnhackl-Oskar Sundqvist-Josh Archibald

Defensive pairs

Brian Dumoulin-Justin Schultz
Ian Cole-Chad Ruhwedel
Cameron Gaunce-Mark Streit

Goaltender

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injuries

Evgeni Malkin (shoulder), Trevor Daley (knee), Daniel Sprong (shoulder), Jake Guentzel (concussion), Olli Maatta (hand), Kris Letang (upper body), Carl Hagelin (foot), Ron Hainsey (upper body)