Word On The Street: Are the Bears Super Bowl Favorites?

Word On The Street: Are the Bears Super Bowl Favorites?

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011

Are the Bears Super Bowl favorites?

The Bleacher Report thinks so, and they've got ten reasons to support their prediction. Topping the list is the Chicago Bear's resiliency, attributing their toughness and the fact that they don't back down from a challenge and you can't rattle them. Among the other winning traits, the Bleacher Reporter cites Brian Urlacher, Mike Martz, and Devin Hester. (Bleacher Report)

White Sox are close to signing Ohman

The Chicago White Sox may acquire left-hander Will Ohman. The pitcher has not made a decision just yet, but he is reportedly close to making his choice. The Baltimore Sun reports that the White Sox are the front runners in this race. Despite drawing interest from the Orioles this winter, the O's are not one of the three AL finalists on top of Ohman's list. (MLBTradeRumors.com)

Thibs and Boozer on the rocks?

After being benched for the entire fourth quarter of Chicago's loss to the Nets on Wednesday, Carlos Boozer affirms there is no problem between him and coach Tom Thibodeau.

"It wasn't necessarily Carlos," Thibodeau said. "The second unit went in, they were playing well. They made up the 13 very quickly. I just decided to ride that group because they were playing well." (Yahoo Sports)

Rafael Soriano on the South Side?

The top reliever and one of the top free agents on the open market, Rafael Soriano's hefty price tag may keep him from being signed to the Chicago White Sox. MLB Trade Rumors reports that the White Sox aren't likely to sign the free agent unless his price drops. The south side franchise was reportedly looking at the reliever early in the month but they've since moved on. (MLBTradeRumors.com)

Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox


Adam Engel making the most of his opportunity with White Sox

Adam Engel is making the most of his second opportunity with the White Sox.

Engel had his best game of the season in Thursday’s finale against the Minnesota Twins, where he went 4-for-5 with three singles, a double, and two RBIs in the White Sox 9-0 win. He became the first White Sox outfielder with a four-hit game within their first 11 career MLB games since Harold Baines (10th game) on April 20, 1980, according to CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.

"Some days you hit it, some days you don’t," Engel said. "Yesterday was the day that I hit it.”

After nearly a five-hour rain delay, the White Sox came out hot right from the get-go on Thursday. In fact, by the time Engel was ready to bat for the first time, the White Sox were already leading 4-0 and Twins starter Nik Turley had been yanked from the game.

“It was awesome,” Engel. “(The) team is winning, getting some hits. It’s a great feeling. Obviously the goal is to try and help the team win.”

[Vivid Seats: Buy your White Sox tickets here]

Engel made his major league debut on May 27 and then was optioned back to Triple-A Charlotte on June 9. His wife Jaime had a child on June 12, and almost a week later, he was recalled again by the White Sox to replace an injured Leury Garcia.

Engel, who's hitting .344/.382/.406 entering Friday's game, will look to keep his hot streak going with his wife and newborn in attendance.

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

In Saad’s case, re-acquiring Blackhawks alumni is beneficial

* “Don’t look to the past anymore. It’s great to think you can recapture the magic with former players but years go by and times change.”

The sentences you see above were written by yours truly after the Blackhawks were unceremoniously eliminated from the first round in April. And for the most part, I stand by the message. The Blackhawks kept going back to their alumni well for solutions but, for the most part, it wasn’t working. But there’s always an exception to the rule, always one asterisk that can be applied in every situation (as we’ve done here).

In this case, that exception is Brandon Saad.

This isn’t someone who played with the Blackhawks five or more years ago. This isn’t a player who’s in his 30s. This isn’t a player who’s at the end of his career. This is a player in his prime, a 24-year-old who has a whole lot of game remaining and a whole lot of familiarity with this group, especially captain Jonathan Toews.

By the way, anyone else struck by the irony that the same Saad deal that the Blackhawks couldn’t afford two years ago is now one that fits perfectly, and will be really beneficial in two seasons when they don’t have to worry about trying to re-sign Artemi Panarin, who will be an unrestricted free agent?

Anyway, back to revisiting the past. General manager Stan Bowman admitted that he was hoping to bring Saad back into the fold at some point, although talks for this particular deal didn’t heat up until the past few days.

“Certainly it was a tough move a couple of years ago to have to make that trade [of Saad to the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015]," Bowman said. “Today my conversation had a much different tone. Brandon’s coming back and that chemistry is there right away and intensity and the way he plays. His all-around game is second to none.”

Saad said he wondered if he’d end up with the Blackhawks again at some point in his career.

“The day I was traded I talked with Stan and you part ways, but it’s a small league and there are always opportunities. It was definitely a thought in my mind possibly ending up in Chicago,” he said. “I didn’t think it’d happen this soon but that’s just the way it happened. It’s exciting to be back somewhere I’m comfortable, somewhere I know and an organization that’s had success.”

Yes, the Blackhawks went back to their alumni well. But instead of getting an aging veteran they’ve reacquired a kid in his prime. Every situation can come with an asterisk. This is one exception that will turn out well for the Blackhawks.