Thibodeau on Lovie: Unfortunate part of the business

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Thibodeau on Lovie: Unfortunate part of the business

The overlapping NBA and NFL seasons never allowed Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau to meet Lovie Smith, but he has admired from afar the work the former Bears coach has done.
Smith was fired Monday morning after nine seasons in Chicago.
"I think he's a great coach and I'm saddened to hear it. He had a great run, and I thought they got the most out of the team," Thibodeau said, "but it's anunfortunatepart of the business and you hate to see it. Chicago native Doc Rivers knows Lovie, always spoken veryhighlyof him so I watch their teams play and they always play hard. It's sad."
Two NBA coaches -- Mike Brown (Los Angeles Lakers) and Avery Johnson (Brooklyn) -- have already been shown the door two months into the NBA season, and Thibodeau said that speaks volumes to how organizations operate as businesses and someone must take the fall when things go poorly.

"It's pro sports," he said. "It's unfortunate. As I said, Lovie has proven to be a terrific coach and he seems like a great guy. So you hate to see anyone lose their job, but that's the nature of the beast I guess."
Hinrich (knee) out vs. Bobcats
Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich is out of the lineup this afternoon against the Bobcats. He suffered a knee injury last weekend and could not get ready to go, despite sitting out Sunday's practice to rest.
Thibodeau said his starting point guard felt better yesterday and again today, but will sit out as Nate Robinson gets the start in his place.

Blackhawks blow three-goal lead, fall in OT at Lightning

Blackhawks blow three-goal lead, fall in OT at Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Yanni Gourde had a breakaway goal 4:25 into overtime and the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Monday night.

Victor Hedman set up the winner with his third assist of the game.

Tampa Bay, which trails Boston by a point for the second Eastern Conference wild card, also got two goals from Jonathan Drouin. Ondrej Palat and Anton Stralman also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy, who got pulled 14 minutes into the first after allowing three goals on eight shots, returned to the start the second and finished with 25 saves.

Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane, Tomas Jurco and Richard Panik scored for the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks, who were coming off a 7-0 loss Saturday night at Florida. Scott Darling stopped 25 shots.

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

Cubs will have Ian Happ one phone call away at Triple-A Iowa

MESA, Ariz. – After an impressive camp where he looked like the next homegrown Cubs hitter to roll off the assembly line, Ian Happ will go to Triple-A Iowa and get ready to make his big-league debut, or perhaps build his value for a trade-deadline deal.

Along with Happ, the Cubs assigned outfielder John Andreoli and catcher Taylor Davis to minor-league camp on Monday while optioning pitchers Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny to Iowa, cutting their roster to 31 as the Opening Night picture comes into focus.

Happ – the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati – batted .417 with five homers, four doubles and 17 RBI in 24 Cactus League games.

"Offensively, what was there not to like?" general manager Jed Hoyer said. "I feel like he hit the ball hard every at-bat for six weeks. It's always fun to see a young guy like that come in and open a lot of eyes."

Happ, 22, is a switch-hitter who can play second base and the outfield, skills that could help him escape from Des Moines once the need arises on the major-league level.

[MORE CUBS: How Cubs came to fully believe in the legend of Kyle Schwarber]

Though there are questions about Happ's defense, Theo Epstein's front office and Joe Maddon's coaching staff clearly value versatility and trust young talent, moving Addison Russell to shortstop in 2015 and elevating rookie catcher Willson Contreras last season.

Stay tuned to see when/if the Cubs will have a spot at Wrigley Field, but Happ looks like he will be on a fast track.

"Whenever you're in Triple-A, you're always a call away," Hoyer said. "Sometimes it happens quicker than you think. We never expected Addie would be up in April of that year, and he was. I feel like with Willson last year, if you had asked me in spring training – would he be up in June? – I probably would have thought it would be more like a September call-up or something like that.

"You never know. Things happen. When you have good players in the minor leagues, sometimes it speeds up on you a little bit."