Chicago Cubs

Seabrook out, Bolland in vs. Canucks

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Seabrook out, Bolland in vs. Canucks

Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Posted: 11:35 a.m. Updated: 12:54 p.m.

By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

A day after Brent Seabrook said he was sore but otherwise fine after taking a shoulder-to-head hit from RaffiTorres, the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman apparently isnt.

Seabrook is out and center Dave Bolland is in as the Blackhawks try to avoid elimination against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at the United Center. Neither Seabrook nor Bolland skated this morning with their teammates; Bollands absence was apparently just a morning off.

Joel Quenneville said John Scott could be the Blackhawks sixth defenseman tonight.

Addressing the media yesterday, Seabrook said the rest of his body was feeling the effects of that hit more than his head. But apparently the defensemans health took a turn overnight. Asked if Seabrook was sorer today, Quenneville said we dont disclose everything but sore could mean a lot of things.

WATCH: Raffi Torres' hard hit on Seabrook

Torres, who did not talk to the media again today, is in the Canucks lineup tonight.

Hes a physical, emotional player, Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. Hes going to play the same way.

Torres received no supplementary discipline besides the two-minute interference call for the Game 3 hit. Quenneville reiterated today that he felt it shouldve been a major penalty, but he did not question the lack of suspension.

Meanwhile, Bolland has been cleared and is ready to go tonight. Despite the physical nature of this series, Quenneville said Bolland will not be held back.

Watching him skate and practice we think hes been ready to play for a while. It was just a matter of getting him going and getting clearance, he said. He feels good about himself, he feels he can handle the responsibility and hes going to get some as well.

Bolland frustrated the Canucks last postseason, specifically Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Its been the same way all year. We have a lot of guys (jabbing at) us. Its something to live with, Henrik Sedin said. You havent seen (that frustration) from us this year.

Bryan Bickell and Ryan Johnson are also in for the Blackhawks tonight. TomasKopecky is out.

Thoughts of Flyers

The Blackhawks are facing the daunting 0-3 hole in a playoff series but they look at what Philadelphia did last postseason and realize theres always a chance. The Flyers were down 3-0 to Boston in their conference semifinals last year before winning that series.

Its easy to think that it is possible, seeing it happened last year, Jonathan Toews said. Its not thinking about winning four games in a row, were thinking about winning tonight. Well see after that.

WATCH: Jeremy Roenick and Hockey Central crew preview Game 4, what do Blackhawks need to do?

Quenneville said well look at the smaller picture, play good consecutive shifts. We havent been our best this series. Weve progressed in games but there is still a level we havent gotten to yet.

No Calder for Crawford

Despite winning 33 games in 57 appearances this season, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford was not a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHLs best rookie.

Crawford, however, wasnt too upset thats the least of my worries right now, he said. Still, teammates were surprised he wasnt among the top three.

He definitely deserves it, Toews said. I guess it shows there are a lot of great young players this year because he had a heck of a year. Without him, who knows if wed be this far. He stepped up, especially when we needed him.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

Kris Bryant knocks out Brewers and knows what big-game experience means for Cubs

Kris Bryant knocks out Brewers and knows what big-game experience means for Cubs

MILWAUKEE – Teammates swarmed Kris Bryant in Miller Park’s visiting dugout late Thursday night, flinging sunflower seeds and forming a mosh pit around the National League’s reigning MVP.

Are you not entertained? The Cubs haven’t always played with this urgency or made it easy while nursing a World Series hangover. But they can feel it now, how close they are to October and how much they learned last year while making history.

It’s too early to pop champagne bottles, but the Cubs won a huge swing game in the NL Central race, beating the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th inning when Bryant blasted Oliver Drake’s 92-mph fastball off a beam underneath the gigantic video board.

The Cubs watched it ricochet back onto the right-center field grass for a go-ahead two-run homer, bumping up the division lead to 4.5 games while cutting the magic number to clinch the division down to six.

After a head-spinning 5-3 victory that lasted 3 hours and 57 minutes and ended at 11:08 p.m., Bryant didn’t sound surprised or overexcited, the same way he didn’t overreact when the Cubs struggled to gain traction before the All-Star break and the Brewers swept the defending World Series champs two weekends ago at Wrigley Field.       

“We’ve done that so many times,” Bryant said. “We’ve had a nice run with that. I guess it is experience. The heartbeats aren’t going too fast when the game’s on the line there. It kind of plays to our advantage.”

So did the Brewers pushing their bullpen so hard this week trying to catch up that Cubs manager Joe Maddon would have to admit “their A-listers were not available,” meaning Corey Knebel, Anthony Swarzak and Josh Hader. Classic response from Bryant, who has 28 homers and likes to think of pitchers as nameless, faceless opponents: “I didn’t find out their top three guys were down until after the game was over.”

Maybe that changes the ninth-inning rally against Jeremy Jeffress where Ian Happ sprinted for a “Respect 90” single and scored the game-tying run when Javier Baez delivered a two-out, two-strike single up the middle. But the Cubs are in their element now, playing games that matter, not what-if.

“I just think we like loud,” Maddon said. “I think we’re a little bit like adrenaline junkies with the fact we’re used to 40,000 people a night.”

Just look at the stone face Wade Davis made in the ninth inning, escaping a bases-loaded jam by striking out Domingo Santana swinging at an elevated 95-mph fastball and forcing Orlando Arcia to chop a 3-2 pitch back to the mound. The All-Star closer who’s 32-for-32 in save chances went back out for the 10th inning and struck out the side to notch the win. That is a five-out playbook Maddon can use in October.

“You definitely feel it,” Davis said of the playoff atmosphere in a road stadium filled with Cubs fans. “It’s a lot easier to get up for the moment itself instead of having to create it yourself. You feel that.”

As Cubs move closer to division title, Jake Arrieta looks ready for October

As Cubs move closer to division title, Jake Arrieta looks ready for October

MILWAUKEE – This was the type of game Jake Arrieta visualizes, a loud atmosphere with 35,114 fans on their feet and an opponent that really doesn’t like the Cubs at all.

This one would ultimately be out of his hands, lasting 10 innings and almost 4 hours on Thursday night at Miller Park, but Arrieta looked like a Game 1 starter as the Cubs roared back for a 5-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Those playoff plans are coming into focus, the magic number to win the National League Central title down to six and Arrieta managing the Grade 1 right hamstring strain that has been one of the biggest question marks hanging over the defending World Series champs.

“It’s just good to be back out there,” Arrieta said. “These are big games, and I want to be a part of as many as I can, especially to try and clinch the division as quick as possible and then kind of line things up for us in October. But we got to get there first.”

Arrieta threw his first real pitch in 18 days at 7:16 p.m., firing a 92-mph fastball toward Brewers leadoff guy Eric Sogard and giving the Cubs a shot of adrenaline. That always wears off, but the Cubs are a different team when Arrieta sticks his chest out and triggers his perfect posture into a crossfire delivery.

Arrieta looked sharp in his first real action since Labor Day, even as his five-inning, 71-pitch limit exposed how fragile this pitching staff might be right now. If it’s not Jon Lester laboring at the top of the rotation, it’s the softer spots in the middle of the bullpen, or questions about how much wear and tear the Cubs can take after a deep playoff run in 2015 and last year’s World Series madness stretched into early November. 

But Arrieta basically picked up where he left off as the NL pitcher of the month for August, realigning his unique mechanics and generating enough power from his right leg, restarting the momentum in a second half where he’s shown the flashes of dominance you saw during his 2015 Cy Young Award season. 

Arrieta exited this game with a 2-1 lead – before it spun out of control – and passed one test by hustling to cover first base to complete an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play in the fifth. He walked just one of the 20 hitters he faced and could really only regret one pitch in the fourth inning, the 92-mph fastball Domingo Santana drilled off the batter’s eye in center field.

“I felt OK,” Arrieta said. “I can tell that something happened. I think it’s just the residual feeling of something like a hamstring strain. But no pain, really no discomfort. That’s a good sign.

“Tomorrow is the biggest indicator moving forward of how we’ll be able to approach this. I don’t see any reason that I won’t feel good tomorrow.”

Arrieta is scheduled to make two more regular-season starts, but this dramatic comeback means the Cubs might be able to treat those as controlled experiments instead of must-win situations.

“Just an incredible baseball game,” Arrieta said. “This is a really awesome time to be in an organization like this, in a division like the NL Central, where there’s a couple teams that have playoff aspirations in mind. If we take care of business here over the next few days, we get a couple steps closer.”