Random News: What's in a (stadium) name?

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Random News: What's in a (stadium) name?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Posted: 9:22 a.m.

By Joe Collins
CSNChicago.com

The Kansas Jayhawks beat the Illini Sunday night in Tulsa.

Think fast: what was the name of the arena where they played? Turner Turnpike Arena? No. The Garth Brooks Center? Mmm.no. What about the Koyie Hill Auditorium?? HeyKoyie was born in Tulsa, you know.

How about this: BOK Center.

(Ding!)

Im not even sure how you pronounce that: BOK. Is it like the classical composer? Ordo you say it in acronym formlike B-O-K? Turns out it could be a little of both. BOK Center is short for Bank Of Oklahoma Center. Gotta love those bank-sponsored arenas, you know? Not sure why, but I just had a flashback to the bank robbery scene in Raising Arizona. There were also second and third round NCAA games played at Quicken Loans Arena, Time Warner Cable Arena, the McKale Center, Verizon Center and Pepsi Center. If you can name two or more of those arenas by city without cheating on Google or Wikipedia, consider yourself a sports corporate savant.

Does the name of a sports arena really matter anymore? To the upper management of both the corporation and team the venue housesabsolutely. Stadium naming rights can be absolutely vital to the bottom line of a team. Money fuels the sports machine. It has for quite some time now. But do the names matter to the average fan? I doubt it. Sports junkies have been numbed by corporate-named stadiums over the last decade or so that we really dont know where teams play, aside from the city they play in. Did you know that the Sacramento Kings play at Power Balance Pavilion? Or that the Golden State Warriors play at Oracle Arena? Utahs Delta Center might have caused goose bumps for Jazz opponents a while back. Now that place is called EnergySolutions Arena. Doesnt have quite the scare-factor does it? Maybe youd shudder a little upon knowing that EnergySolutions is one of the largest nuclear waste companies in the world.

Heres more: name the following hockey teams that occupy the following arenasThe Prudential Center, Consol Energy Center, HSBC Arena, BankAtlantic Center and the RBC Center. Any idea? Heckany clue on what city those buildings are located? If you guessed the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes, you might as well write your ticket to Jeopardy! Almost makes you feel nostalgic for places like Joe Louis Arena. Then again

Its kind of sad that we lost that goose bump factor with sports arenas. I can remember fearingfearingthe Bulls going into Boston to play the Celtics in the 80s. Of coursehaving your favorite team go up against Bird, McHale and Parish in their prime was frightening enough. But with the game being played at the Boston Garden, it added an intimidation factor like no other. The current TD Garden just kind of blends in. If the Boston Garden was Aerosmith in their prime, the TD Garden is Dave Matthews. In muzak form.

I saved the best for last: Jobing.com arena in Phoenix. Can you imagine saying that to your friends?

Hey, do you want to come with us to Jobing.com Arena tonight to watch the Coyotes play?

Of course not. We know better. It just sounds awkward and weird. We say instead, Hey, do you want to go to the Coyotes game tonight?

But hey, life goes on. The Orange Bowl is out. Sun Life Pro Player Park Land Shark Field Stadium (or whtever its called) is in. Its reality. Not much we can do about it, aside from going to games at places like Jobing.com Arena. The names, and dollars, benefit the teams in the long run.

We can only hope for more games at places like Soldier Field.

Hopefully this fall.

Or something like that.

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

Blackhawks look to keep rolling vs. Coyotes

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Arizona Coyotes was the first game the current top line of Nick Schmaltz, Jonathan Toews and Richard Panik were thrown together.

Yeah, the combination's worked out well. So has the Blackhawks' game in general, as they've won seven of eight including that Feb. 2 game. Now the Blackhawks will try to keep the momentum rolling with their lines and their game when they host the Coyotes Thursday night at the United Center.

The Blackhawks' current run of success started in the desert and part of that has been finding more consistent lines. Everything else has gradually improved off of that, from goal scoring to puck possession.

"I think it's puck possession, puck control, pace to the game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we were very inconsistent in that early and we were defending way more than we were accustomed to. You're vulnerable for penalties, you're vulnerable for quality scoring chances against and not generating enough. I think that's the progression in our game now, it seems like all four lines are having the puck and having some zone time and having some rush chances, zone chances and it seems like every line's contributing there, and that's the big difference."

[RELATED: By the bye - Blackhawks keep rolling following break]

The Blackhawks' top line didn't have immediate chemistry but Quenneville kept them together and let them work on it. But as Toews said, it was about the group keeping the all-around game going, points or no points.

"Sometimes you just gotta work until things start clicking," Toews said. "Everyone seems to start paying attention when you start scoring goals, regardless of [the fact you're] doing things right. It's nice that we're scoring but we have to stick with what's making us a successful line at both ends of the rink right now."

Corey Crawford will start vs. the Coyotes. Niklas Hjalmarsson did not skate this morning but is expected to play. Quenneville said Michal Rozsival could draw into the lineup.

Broadcast information

Time: 7:30 p.m.
TV: CSN
Live stream: CSNChicago.com

Blackhawks lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Vinnie Hinostroza

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Niklas Hjalmarsson
Michal Rozsival-Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goaltender

Corey Crawford

Injuries 

None

Coyotes lines (via Arizona Republic)

Tobias Rieder-Martin Hanzal-Radim Vrbata
Brendan Perlini-Christian Dvorak-Shane Doan
Max Domi -Alex Burmistrov-Ryan White
Jamie McGinn-Jordan Martinook-Josh Jooris

Defensive pairs

Oliver Ekman-Larsson-Luke Schenn
Alex Goligoski-Anthony DeAngelo
Jakob Chychrun-Connor Murphy

Goaltender

Mike Smith

Injuries

Lawson Crouse (lower body), Brad Richardson (tibia)

Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox

Ranking the five best games Mark Buehrle pitched with the White Sox

The White Sox will retire Mark Buehrle's No. 56 prior to June 24's game against the Oakland Athletics, a deserving honor for one of the best pitchers in franchise history. The left-hander compiled a 3.83 ERA and won 161 games during 12 seasons with the White Sox, and perhaps more impressively, he threw over 200 innings every year he was a full-time member of the team's starting rotation. 

So with the White Sox announcing Buehrle's number retirement ceremony for this summer, let's take a look back at the best games the St. Charles, Mo. native pitched with the White Sox. 

1. July 23, 2009: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 6 K vs. Tampa Bay. Time of game: 2:03

Buehrle's perfect game, complete with Dewayne Wise's legendary catch, sits at the top of mountain of Buehrle's historic achievements with the White Sox. This was a vintage Buehrle game, with him working quickly and getting plenty of weak contact. It just turned out that Tampa Bay couldn't get anyone on base in it.

2. April 18, 2007: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K vs. Texas. Time of game: 2:03

By game score, this was actually the best game Buehrle pitched in his career thanks to the two more strikeouts he had than in his perfect game. And in no-hitting the Rangers, Buehrle still faced the minimum — after walking Sammy Sosa, he picked off the former Cubs slugger. 

3. April 16, 2005: 9 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 12 K vs. Seattle. Time of game: 1:39

The 99-minute game might get lost in Buehrle's career thanks to his no-hitter and perfect game, but it's right up there in terms of how impressive it was. Not only did Buehrle set a career high in strikeouts against Seattle, but only one Mariners player got a hit that day (Ichiro, who naturally had all three). And it was the first — and still only — nine-inning game to be completed in under 100 minutes since 1984.

4. Aug. 3, 2001: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K vs. Tampa Bay. Time of game: 2:12

Before Buehrle was an All-Star, World Series winner and no-hitter/perfect game thrower, he took a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Devil Rays before Damian Rolls singled to break it up. This wasn't Buehrle's first great start of his career — that came in a three-hit shutout of the Detroit Tigers on May 26, 2001 — but it stood up for a decade and a half as one of the best games he pitched in the majors. 

5. July 21, 2004: 0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K vs. Cleveland. Time of game: 2:31

This was another brush with perfection for Buehrle, who only allowed a one-out, seventh-inning single to Omar Vizquel (he got Matt Lawton to hit into a double play after, allowing him to face the minimum for the first time in his career). This is the longest game in Buehrle's top five thanks to the White Sox blasting Cliff Lee and the Indians for 14 runs, but even then, barely over two and a half hours was a relatively brisk pace.