Hawks need strong effort from Turco for fourth win

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Hawks need strong effort from Turco for fourth win

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010
Updated 1:14 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

Vancouver Canucks coach Alain Vigneault wasnt happy with what he called the Blackhawks rubbing it in in their last matchup in Vancouver, and he wasnt backing down from that prior to tonights game at the United Center.

The Blackhawks were up 6-0 when they went on a 5-on-3 power play midway through their 7-1 victory on Nov. 20. Their on-ice personnel for that power play were Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Viktor Stalberg, Nick Boynton and Duncan Keith. Vigneault took exception to the Blackhawks putting on what he called their No. 1 power-play unit

I think its every teams right to do what they want, he said outside Vancouvers locker room this morning. We obviously werent very good, 5 on 3 you send Kane and Toews on the ice. They have every right to do that, they did it, and thats it.

The Canucks had a late power play in their 7-2 rout over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Vigneault said the Canucks fourth line was on that advantage, on which they did score.

The Blackhawks fourth line had just come off the ice prior to that sequence. Told that Boynton and Stalberg are not part of the teams top power-play unit, Vigneault said, come on. Be serious. Toews and Kane, its 6-0 going into the third, what do you think? Lets be serious.

The rivalry between these two has built over recent years, especially with the Blackhawks eliminating Vancouver in two consecutive playoffs. As far as that last game, the Blackhawks are downplaying the situation.

I dont think theres anything to it, to be honest, Troy Brouwer said. Some games teams just dont have it and that might have been their game. For us, Q was rolling four lines. Youre not just going to bench Toews line for the rest of the game. You roll four lines and they just happened to be out there.

Turcos turn

Marty Turco is ready to get back in net tonight against the Canucks, whom he took a 3-2 shootout decision over here earlier this season. For Turco, its all about being ready for that next start.

Its about positives. The best one is were winning and on a streak and thats all I want; and to get in there and play and make a difference, he said. Those are things that make my world to round. All I think about is what I can do every day to get better.
Briefly

Fernando Pisani did not skate again this morning and is out for tonights game.

Roberto Luongo will start for the Canucks tonight.

Jordan Hendry is looking like the healthy scratch again tonight.

After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen

After trading Jimmy Butler, Bulls select Arizona PF Lauri Markkanen

The Bulls enterted their rebuilding phase on Thursday night after trading Jimmy Butler. And with the No. 7 pick they received in that deal, they selected Arizona power forward Lauri Markkanen.

Markkanen, a 7-footer from Finland, played one season for the Wildcats, averaging 15.6 points and 7.2 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game. Markkanen was a sharpshooter, connecting on 42.3 percent of his 163 3-pointers.

His defense is a question mark but his pick-and-pop ability should fit in well in Fred Hoiberg's offense.

The Bulls also received shooting guard Zach LaVine and point guard Kris Dunn in the deal for Butler. The Bulls sent the No. 16 pick along with Butler. They still have the No. 38 overall pick in the second round.

How Cubs reached the breaking point with Kyle Schwarber

How Cubs reached the breaking point with Kyle Schwarber

MIAMI – Theo Epstein scoffed at the possibility of sending a World Series hero down to the minors on May 16, writing the headline with this money quote: “If anyone wants to sell their Kyle Schwarber stock, we’re buying.”

If the Cubs aren’t dumping their Schwarber stock, they’re definitely reassessing their investment strategy, trying to figure out how such a dangerous postseason hitter had become one of the least productive players in the majors.

The overall portfolio hasn’t changed that much since the team president’s vote of confidence, Schwarber batting .179 for the defending champs then and .171 when the Cubs finally made the decision to demote him to Triple-A Iowa. That 18-19 team is now 36-35 and still waiting for that hot streak. 

What took so long?

“The honest answer is we believe in him so much,” general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday. “He’s never struggled like this. We kept thinking that he was going to come out of it. We got to a point where we felt like mentally he probably needed a break before he could come out of this. 

“The honest answer is patience. We’ve got a guy who’s never really struggled. He was the best hitter in college baseball. He blew through the minor leagues. Last year in the World Series, he performed. We just felt like he was going to turn himself around.

“It just got to a place where we felt like the right way for this to come together was to allow him to get away from the team, to take a deep breath and be able to work on some things in a lower-pressure environment.”   

The Cubs plan to give Schwarber a few days off before he reports to Iowa, an idea that would have seemed unthinkable after watching his shocking recovery from knee surgery and legendary performance (.971 OPS) against the Cleveland Indians in last year’s World Series.

But preparing for one opponent and running on adrenaline through 20 plate appearances is completely different from handling the great expectations and newfound level of fame and doing it for an entire 162-game season.   

This might actually be the most normal part of Schwarber’s career after his meteoric rise from No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 draft to breakout star in the 2015 playoffs to injured and untouchable during last year’s trade talks with the New York Yankees. 

“There’s been a long and illustrious list of guys that have gone through this,” manager Joe Maddon said. “When a guy’s good, he’s good. Sometimes – especially when they’re this young – you just got to hit that reset button. It’s hard for a young player who’s never really struggled before to struggle on this stage and work his way through it.

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“There’s no scarlet letter attached to this. It’s just the way it happens sometimes. You have to do what you think is best. We think this is best for him right now. We know he’s going to be back.” 

When? The Cubs say they don’t have a certain number of Pacific Coast League at-bats in mind for a guy who’s played only 17 career games at the Triple-A level.

Maddon pointed out how Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee needed minor-league sabbaticals/refresher courses before becoming Cy Young Award winners and two of the best pitchers of their generation.

New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto – another college hitter the Cubs closely scouted before taking Schwarber in the 2014 draft – has gone from the 2015 World Series to Triple-A Las Vegas for parts of last season to potential All-Star this year.

The Cubs fully expect their Schwarber stock to rebound – whether or not the turnaround happens in time to impact the 2017 bottom line.    

“I’m still sticking by him,” Maddon said. “But at some point, you have to be pragmatic. You have to do what’s best for everybody. We thought at this point that we weren’t going to necessarily get him back to where we need him to be just by continuing this same path.

“It’s not a matter of us not sticking with him anymore. We just thought this was the best way to go to really get him well, so that we could utilize the best side of Kyle moving forward.”