Fire bring Segares back

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Fire bring Segares back

Gonzalo Segares stay on the Fires recently-departed list didnt last long. The veteran defender signed a multi-year contract with the club on Thursday.

Segares, who completed his eighth season with the Fire in 2012, was entering the option year of his previous contract. The club declined to pick up the option this week, making Segares available in the re-entry draft, the first phase of which is Friday. His signing resulted in him being removed from the draft-eligible list, so only reserve goalkeeper Jay Nolly and reserve midfielder Corben Bone will be re-entry candidates when Major League Soccers 19 clubs make their choices.

Fridays first phase of the draft, conducted via teleconference, traditionally doesnt last long. A club must pay a selected player his current salary. That wont be the case in the second phase on Dec. 14. Two years ago the Fire acquired veteran defender Cory Gibbs through that procedure.

While no other terms of his contract were announced, Segares is assured of staying with the team that drafted him in the third round in 2005. With the exception of a brief stint in Cyprus in 2010 Segares has remained with the Fire ever since and become a mainstay at left back.

With 178 MLS regular season matches and 207 competitive appearances across all competitions under his belt, Segares became the seventh player in franchise history to pass the 200 mark in games-played this season. He also has 19 caps for Costa Ricas national team.

In statements released by the team, president of soccer operations Javier Leon said he was "pleased that Gonzalo will remain a member of the clubHe has been a tremendous asset to the Fire back line for nearly a decade and has been key to our defensive stability.

Segares said he is "very happy to continue as a Fire playerChicago is my second home and the Fire have been a big part of my life for a long time. I look forward to more success with the club in the future.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Sean Johnson became the third Fire player to join an overseas club for training purposes this week. He returned to England and began workouts with Stoke on Wednesday. Hell be with that team through Sunday, then work with Everton from Monday through Dec. 23. Johnson also trained with Everton in the Fires last offseason.

Defenders Jalil Anibaba and Austin Berry finish their training periods with Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

The Fire has yet to make a trade since the 2012 season ended, but one of its Eastern Conference rivals did. Sporting Kansas City acquired veteran defender-midfielder Josh Gardner from Montreal for a second-round draft choice. Gardner had stints with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew before joining the expansion Impact last season.

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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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