Hockey Hall of Fame to reveal 2012 nominations

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Hockey Hall of Fame to reveal 2012 nominations

Denis Savard, Tony Esposito, Stan Mikita, and Bobby Hull are among the Blackhawks legends to have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. On Tuesday, up to four additional outstanding players can be added to the current list of 251 members whose names will always be tied to the league's prestigious honor.

The Hockey Hall of Fame was established in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1943. Throughout the years, new categories have been put in place in addition to the players and builders--a person who has made contributions to the development of the league.

An additional category for on-ice officials was established in 1961, as well as a subcategory for female players created in 2010.

Now the 18-person selection committee is finalizing their nominations for this year's honor by completing their voting process. A minimum of ten voting members must agree on a nomination in order to finalize the process.

Joe Sakic and Brendan Shanahan are expected to be among the top candidates in this year's running list of possible inductees.

Sakic was drafted by the Avalanche in 1987 and went on to spend his entire 20-season professional career in Colorado, recording 1,641 points in 1,378 games. Sakic led Colorado to a pair of Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001.

Today hockey fans see Brendan Shanahan deal fines and suspension as the NHL's Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian. But before he was sentencing Raffi Torres 25-game suspension, Shanahan was one of the league's most respected players. He spent the majority of his career with the Red Wings and ended his playing career with the New Jersey Devils in 2009.

By the end of his 21-year career, Shanahan recorded 1,354 points in 1,524 games played. The All Star player earned three Stanley Cup titles in Detroit and scored the league's highest number of Gordie Howe hat tricks with 17.

Other names that could be in the running for the Hall of Fame induction are Mats Sundin, Jeremy Roenick, Pavel Bure, Eric Lindros, and Adam Oates. The league will reveal the new inductees beginning at 2:00 CST.

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls show some moxie in road win over Bucks

Whacked on his ailing left hand by Khris Middleton, Jimmy Butler shook off the pain to hit a rare triple in transition while Middleton was complaining for a foul a couple possessions later.

Butler then darted into the passing lane for a pass intended for Jason Terry like a linebacker jumping into the flat for an interception, then trotted down for an uncontested dunk to give the Bulls an unlikely 17-point lead.

For the man who claims he’s the best football player in the NBA, playing through the pain and doing so with his team’s playoff hopes dwindling, Butler may finally have some believers to his boasts.

Not only did the Bulls avoid a season sweep to the Milwaukee Bucks with a resounding 109-94 win at the BMO Bradley Center Sunday afternoon, they restored a slight sense of pride after looking like they had none of it Friday night in their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Butler scored 20 with a career-high 13 assists in a grinding 39 minutes, but he could play the role of a semi-closer, making those big plays in the fourth when the Bulls pulled away.

Instead, it was March Madness as Nikola Mirotic played up to his career numbers in his favorite month on the calendar, drilling five triples on his way to 28 points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes.

Mirotic and Rajon Rondo helped the Bulls to a decisive double-digit lead in the third quarter with Rondo scoring 14 of his 18 points in the period, hitting a triple, getting into the lane for layups and dishing out a few of his eight assists.

It was an offensive masterpiece for the Bulls, a prospect that seemed highly unlikely given the opponent and the way they played coming into Sunday’s contest. And with the Bucks getting Giannis Antetokounmpo going early along with Middleton, it looked like a nightmare of a different kind was in store for the Bulls.

But Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg wasn’t about to let an instant replay occur, having seen his own version of a “Nightmare on Madison Street” Friday night against the woeful 76ers when his backups let time stand still for minutes at a time, squandering a double-digit lead.

Hoiberg decided not to mess around with the second unit as the Bucks began pulling away in the same manner the 76ers did Friday night. He brought the starters right back in when the lead ballooned to 45-33 at the 8:29 mark.

Then the Bulls went to work to finish the half, with a 23-10 run, along with starting off the third as efficient as they had been in awhile against a worthwhile opponent, shooting 14 of 21 in the period to take a 91-79 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mirotic was seven of eight from the field before halftime and his first miss of the third—a 30-foot triple that went wide right, wound up in a 3-point opportunity for Rondo, who scooped the ball and scored on a layup while being fouled.

It was that kind of afternoon for the Bulls, a team that can’t seem to decide who they want to be on a nightly basis—making it that much harder for an opponent to predict, that much more difficult to eliminate from the playoff conversation.

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night, downplaying any health concerns about their All-Star middle infielders. 

One week out from facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, manager Joe Maddon spent part of Sunday's media session saying how he had no concerns with his World Series MVP's stiff neck and his franchise shortstop's stiff back.

"You can tell with 'Zo,'" Maddon said at the Sloan Park complex. "He'll come around and let me know specifically if he feels it's going to be anything longer than that. He's talking either tomorrow night or the next day."

Zobrist, who spent nine seasons with Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays, hasn't appeared in a Cactus League game since March 19. Maddon also signaled Russell is close to returning to action after being a late scratch from Friday's lineup.

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Not like this, but the Cubs already planned to schedule extra rest for Zobrist, given his age (36 in May), the playoff stress on his body from back-to-back World Series titles and emerging options like Javier Baez on a mix-and-match team. 

All along, Maddon hasn't worried about finding enough at-bats for Baez, knowing that injuries are inevitable and the Cubs have insurance policies up and down the roster that should pay off across a 162-game season. But in this case, it doesn't sound like the Cubs are testing that theory with Zobrist and Russell.

"None of this stuff is really threatening," Maddon said. "The trainers have no real strong issues with anything. It's almost like you'll be overly cautious right now. And that's all we're doing."