Finalists annouced for Ted Lindsay Award

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Finalists annouced for Ted Lindsay Award

The finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award have been announced for the 2011-2012 season. The annual honor is given to the "most outstanding player" in the league, as voted by members of the National Hockey League Player's Association.

This year's top contenders are Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, Steven Stamkos of the Lightning, and Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins.

Here's a closer look at the top three finalists:

Lundqvist - Not only is the Nashville goalie nominated for the Ted Lindsay Award, but also for the Vezina and Hart Trophies. Lundqvist recorded a save percentage of .903 and earned a total of 39 wins.

Stamkos - He became the 19th players in NHL history to score 60 goals in a single season. The 2008 first overall draft pick also earned the Maurice Richard Award, as well as a nomination for the Hart Trophy.

Malkin - With the Art Ross Award already under his belt, Malkin also remains in the running for the Hart Trophy. The Penguins superstar led the NHL in scoring with 109 points and 339 shots on goal. This is his third Ted Lindsay nomination.

The Penguins lead the league with the most team victories in terms of earning the Ted Lindsay honor, but Wayne Gretzky is first in the NHL in individual wins with five awards when he played with the Edmonton Oilers.

The Ted Lindsay Award has existed since the 1971-1972 season. A Blackhawks player has yet to win.

Here's a look at some past recipients:

YearPlayerTeam2011Daniel Sedin
Vancouver Canucks
2010Alex Ovechkin
Washington Capitals
2009Alex Ovechkin
Washington Capitals
2008Alex Ovechkin
Washington Capitals
2007Sidney Crosby
Pittsburgh Penguins
2006Jaromir Jagr
New York Rangers
2004Martin St. Louis
Tampa Bay Lightning

For Bears, interior OL a good strength to build on for 2017

For Bears, interior OL a good strength to build on for 2017

INDIANAPOLIS — A team coming off a 3-13 season doesn't usually speak of "strengths," if for no other reason than they usually didn't have many, or any at all. The Bears don't entirely see things that way.

A Bears team ostensibly committed to running the football tied for fourth in rushing average (4.6 yards per carry), and rookie tailback Jordan Howard wasn't the only "strength" behind that success, general manager Ryan Pace assessed Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 

"I feel good about what we've done with our offensive line," Pace said. "You look at the interior offensive line [guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, and center Cody Whitehair] that we have, you know, I think it's set to be one of the better interior groups in the league.

"Of course there are more pieces we need to add, that's important. I think you can see the value of building a strong offensive line and what it does for the quarterback. In Dallas you have a great example of that."

On the surface, the Dallas example is enticing — the Cowboys went from 4-12 in 2015 to 13-3 in 2016 with the constant being an offensive line regarded as one of the best in the NFL. Four of the Cowboys' five regular starters in 2015 returned in 2016, with left guard La'el Collins the departure after being sidelined three weeks into the year due to a season-ending toe injury. 

First-round running back Ezekiel Elliott was a revelation and, coupled with that offensive line, allowed a soft landing for fourth round quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott took full advantage of that opportunity, throwing for 23 touchdowns and only four interceptions (in what's been discussed as the best rookie year for a quarterback in NFL history) while pushing the Cowboys to a 13-3 season. 

But as tantalizing as the 2016 Cowboys are, there's a flip side: The 2015 Cowboys still lost 12 games with the same offensive line. So what does that mean for the 2017 Bears?

The running game and offensive line strength is a good start, but it doesn't necessarily mean Pace will over-aggressively pursue free agents to add to the offense with decisions needed at quarterback (Pace described Jay Cutler's status as "fluid") and wide receiver (with Alshon Jeffery set to hit free agency). 

The larger strategy Pace hinted at in Indianapolis, then, is to mix in some veterans through free agency (the Bears do have loads of cap space, after all) but continue to focus on building through young talent. And, to go back to the Dallas example, it's worth noting the two most important pieces the Cowboys added in 2016 were through the draft. 

"There is a delicate balance between being aggressive and being decisive, but being responsible," Pace said. "I think you can always recover from the player you didn't sign; you can't recover from the player that you signed at the wrong price. I think we've got to be conscious of that."

EDGY recruiting news and notes: GBN's Greg Newsome racking up offers

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EDGY recruiting news and notes: GBN's Greg Newsome racking up offers

Here are the latest headlines, notes and recruiting news from around the state:

**One of the hottest names on the recruiting circuit these days is Glenbard North's three star-ranked junior defensive back Greg Newsome (6-foot-1, 170 pounds). Newsome has added over 20 scholarship offers so far this winter including recent offers from Vanderbilt, Purdue, Rutgers and Virginia. How can Newsome even begin to sort out all of his recent offers and college options? Newsome is "just taking it slow" for now and is hoping to make an unofficial visit to Northwestern soon.

**Lake Park head coach Chris Roll has had a nice run of FBS-level defensive linemen talent in Roselle the last few years. Junior defensive end Perrion Winfrey (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) will be the next on the list for the Lancers. Winfrey added his first offer recently from Wyoming.

"Besides Wyoming, I've been in touch with the coaches from South Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ball State, Illinois, Illinois State, Western Illinois, Northwestern, NIU, Central Michigan, Louisville, South Dakota State, Iowa, Iowa State and Bowling Green," according to Winfrey. "A lot of the schools want me to stay in touch with them and also come visit them."

**Don't expect Pat Dunne's office phone and in-school visitors to slow down this spring. The Marist head coach has admitted that even before three star-ranked defensive tackle Elijah Teague gave Minnesota his verbal commitment last week that this semester has been a "crazy busy but a good busy." 

The Redhawks feature multiple recruits in the Class of 2018, including a pair of three star-ranked players: tight end TJ Ivy (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and defensive end Gavin McCabe (6-foot-3, 255 pounds). Dunne feels that Ivy is "still getting bigger, stronger and better every day," while McCabe, according to Dunne, "has a non-stop motor, loves the weight room and is highly athletic." Also keep an eye on Marist junior quarterback/athlete Morgan Taylor (6-foot-2, 175 pounds), junior running back Delonte Harrell (5-foot-10, 175 pounds), defensive back Mike Lawlor (6-foot-1, 190 pounds), junior outside linebacker Danny Meehan (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) and junior offensive linemen Tommy Greene (6-foot-3, 250 pounds).

**Also, stay tuned later this spring for some potential sweeping changes to the football recruiting landscape. The NCAA is expected to vote in mid-April --and is expected to pass-- several new recruiting reforms. The proposed changes include (1) allowing recruits and parents to make earlier official visits in the spring and (2) adding an additional early signing period (in addition to the traditional early February signing date). 

However, the biggest potential change would entail a serious limitation on colleges when it comes to summer camps. If passed, colleges would only be allowed 10 non-consecutive evaluation days as opposed to the current two periods of 15 consecutive days. If passed, college "one-day" camps would be hosted by NCAA member schools only. Those same camps would also be held only on the school's campus or on the school's NCAA approved athletic facility, thus ending the satellite camp circuit.